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Password Protection Act: Bans Bosses Asking For Facebook Passwords 247

Posted by samzenpus
from the get-your-hands-off-my-friends-list dept.
An anonymous reader writes "On the heels of a similar bill introduced last month. A group of Democrats today introduced legislation in both the House and Senate to prevent employers from forcing employers and job applicants into sharing information from their personal social networking accounts. In other words, Maryland may soon not be the only state that has banned employers demanding access to Facebook accounts. The Password Protection Act of 2012 (PPA) would also prevent employers from accessing information on any computer that isn't owned or controlled by an employee, including private e-mail accounts, photo sharing sites, and smartphones."
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Password Protection Act: Bans Bosses Asking For Facebook Passwords

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  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Informative)

    by mark-t (151149) <[markt] [at] [lynx.bc.ca]> on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @07:03PM (#39948449) Journal

    Yes, it actually happened [zdnet.com]

    No, it's not. See above

    Unfortunately not yet. But there could be soon.

  • Summary Confusion (Score:4, Informative)

    by Githaron (2462596) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @07:06PM (#39948489)

    The Password Protection Act of 2012 (PPA) would also prevent employers from accessing information on any computer that isn't owned or controlled by an employee, including private e-mail accounts, photo sharing sites, and smartphones.

    I assume the summary meant to say that the act prevents employers from accessing information on any computer that is owned or controlled by an employee.

  • Re:10 Amendment (Score:5, Informative)

    by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @07:15PM (#39948559) Homepage
    Interstate commerce, covered in Article I of the Constitution http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interstate_Commerce_Clause [wikipedia.org]. The websites in question are large sprawling entities like Facebook which have people in all states and have offices in multiple states. Once that's a common setup, regulation is almost certainly Constitutional. And even when websites are all in one state, packets and the like go very far afield. There might be an argument that they can't regulate an in-state employer wanting a password from a completely in-state website, but that case is both unlikely to come up, and even if it did, courts would likely consider that to be a a weak argument.
  • Re:why another bill? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Dahamma (304068) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @07:26PM (#39948649)

    That happens a lot - similar bills are introduced, debated in committee, etc. Some are better than others, and if the process isn't completely broken (not even going there...) the various ideas get consolidated into something that meets everyone's needs and is then introduced to the floor.

    In this case, it seems like a law protecting any of your password-protected/private information (email, photo sharing, online backups, whatever) would be much more powerful than the previous one that focused mostly on your "social networking" accounts...

  • by KiahZero (610862) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @07:29PM (#39948683)

    No, the Fourth Amendment only covers state action; it doesn't address searches by third parties (unless they are being used as agents of the state).

  • by DragonWriter (970822) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @07:33PM (#39948711)

    I would have thought the 4th amendment would have covered this

    You would have thought wrong, since the 4th Amendment imposes no restrictions on private conduct.

  • Re:And now.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by gstrickler (920733) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @07:42PM (#39948791)

    That would be covered under

    Prohibits an employer from forcing prospective or current employees to provide access to their own private account as a condition of employment.

  • Re:10 Amendment (Score:4, Informative)

    by Gimbal (2474818) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @09:05PM (#39949401)

    There's a commentary on the Constitutional support of right to privacy [umkc.edu] at U Missouri KC (and that, I had not expected, but hey, score one for democratic discourse)

  • Re:Doesn't matter. (Score:5, Informative)

    by mysidia (191772) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @10:40PM (#39949969)

    That's why it is illegal to ask a large number of questions that are not directly relevant to the job

    It's not illegal. It's just inadvisable. If one of your questions exposes membership in a protected class, there is a risk that there may be liability / possibility of a discrimination suit.

    However ill advised, if you want to refuse employment to a janitor who never played Chess or Checkers, can't remember the rules to the game Go, or can't beat the interviewer in a poker game, the employer can do that, as long as they are consistent and require the same of every candidate.

    It just happens that employers are in the business to select employees, and any irrelevent question is a waste of time.

  • by mysidia (191772) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @11:04PM (#39950093)

    (1) Manage your Facebook password with a password management application, so you can legitimately tell them you "don't know" any Facebook passwords, they were randomly generated and are stored securely in a password manager at home and tied to that web browser.

    (2) Enable Facebook 2-factor authentication [facebook.com] with a second cell phone. Don't bring that phone to any job interview.

    Even if you have the correct FB password, you cannot login to FB on a new unknown device without receiving the SMS message, and entering the security code that Facebook sends you via SMS.

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