New laws tackle social media password issue

By Arthur Elk

Last year, we started hearing about a new privacy concern for employees and even job seekers. News stories were popping up everywhere about bosses and interviewers asking for social media passwords so they could see what people were posting online.

At that time, it was obvious that existing laws in most states didn’t cover this issue. Unfortunately, it always takes time for the law to catch up with technology, and this was another case of that happening.

In 2013, five states have new laws going into effect that will make it illegal for employers to demand social networking passwords or non-public online account information from their employees or job applicants.

California and Illinois had laws go into effect on Jan. 1 and Maryland, New Jersey and Delaware have new laws taking effect later this year. Michigan enacted a similar ban last year, making a total of six states with a ban.

Other states are also considering similar Facebook password laws that will protect an employee’s or potential employee’s personal information.

I am glad to see state legislatures taking action to protect workers’ privacy. No employer should be able to force them to give up their personal, private information.

Tip: Make sure that your social media privacy settings are at the level you want them. If you don’t have them set properly, anyone may be able to see things that you only intended for your family and friends to see. And then no law will help you.

What do you think about these laws? Should employers be able to ask an employee or job applicant for their social media passwords? Please let us know by commenting on this post.

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