14 May 2012

California Bans Employers From Collecting Employees’ Passwords

California joins Maryland in prohibiting employers from demanding their current or potential employees to reveal their social media account authentication data. Introduced February 22, the bill has just received 73 votes in the House of Representatives which allow it to pass onto the Senate.

Bill AB 1844, meant to protect employees’ online privacy, prohibits “an employer from requiring an employee or prospective employee to disclose a user name or account password to access a personal social media account that is exclusively used by the employee or prospective employee.”

Legislators are looking into banning this practice at the national level with a more complex Password Protection Act to enable other US states to fight the online privacy war in the name of their people.

The battle against online privacy invasion started with a petition drafted by Progressive Change Campaign Committee. This was to support two US senators, New York Senator Charles Schumer and Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal, who requested the US justice Department to start investigating the employers’ practice of demanding social networking accounts passwords from their job applicants.

More and more employees started to complain that some organizations demanded employees reveal their social networking usernames and passwords. This proved to be a crucial condition for that employee to remain hired or receive the job they had applied for.