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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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  • And now.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Severus Snape (2376318) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @06:53PM (#39948357)
    They'll demand you add them as a friend!
  • 10 Amendment (Score:5, Insightful)

    by misfit815 (875442) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @06:54PM (#39948373)

    How is this the domain of the United States Congress?

  • by flaming error (1041742) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @06:59PM (#39948417) Journal

    If corporations are people, these laws probably exist already.

    Regardless of laws, the audacity of demanding personal passwords as a condition of employment just boggles my mind.

    We're employees hired to do a job and go home. We're not paid to room and board our employer in our underpants.

  • Re:10 Amendment (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @07:02PM (#39948437)

    It's an election year.

  • by SeaFox (739806) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @07:05PM (#39948483)

    That's what happens when you have...

    1. (Relatively) high unemployment.

    2. A government that is pro-business and anti-employee rights for years and years.

    3. Companies more and more feeling what an employee does on their personal time is their business because "it might reflect badly on the company".

  • Doesn't matter. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @07:24PM (#39948627)

    You can ALWAYS find an excuse not to hire someone.

    Um, I'm sorry Jamal Yosephef green, it's not that you're Black it's ust that you don't have the skills we're looking for.

    I'm sorry Mr. Jones, it's not that you're old, it's just you're over-qualified.

    I'm sorry Ms. Stacy Jones, you don't have the 10 years of experience in: Java, DB2/2, C#, Objective-C, COBOL, MS-SQL & Oracle, Linux & Windows & OS/2 & OSX & AIX & CICS skills we're looking for.

    Unfortunately, there are no Americans who can fill those qualifications but low and behold, there are 10,000 Indian IIT graduates who can. We'll have to move to India.

    Yours -

    Big American Based IT Services Firm.

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

    by bky1701 (979071) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @07:26PM (#39948643) Homepage
    That's why it is illegal to ask a large number of questions that are not directly relevant to the job; it is an unjustifiable source of potential bias. This law really isn't needed, what we need is a more general one outlining ALL cases to this effect, rather than several laws trying to specific specific things you cannot ask.
  • Re:Here's an idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bky1701 (979071) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @07:33PM (#39948721) Homepage
    "Just don't use social media and you won't have to hide from your employer"

    And when you tell them this, they believe you are lying and don't hire you. Or hell, consider that a personality flaw and don't hire you for being anti-social.

    "Or.. Gasp... Be careful and keep it safe for work at all times. "

    Because living in fear is exactly what we should all aspire to, right?

    "One really should not put anything online that you would not want EVERYBODY to be able to read."

    Bit of a difference between, say, posting on a blog, and being pressed into giving someone else a password to your private accounts. Would you be against letting them scan your hard drive for anything they might find objectionable? After all, what's the difference? Your computer is connected to the internet.

    "Everything you put online, pictures, comments, blogs, chats etc. is going to be public information forever, or at least it CAN end up out living you. Remember that every time you are tempted to post."

    Does that apply to spineless pro-corporate shilling on slashdot?


    I kind of see this all as a non-issue. In some ways the loss of privacy is a bad thing... in other ways it is good. We didn't see much motion in the gay rights movement until people started to come out. I think the same is going to start to happen in other parts of society - the petty prejudices aren't going to hold up so well in an age where everyone is more open. Not to say I am for invasions of privacy, but it is going to happen, and it isn't all bad. I also can see being closed off as becoming something itself considered undesirable and I think rightly so.
  • by shentino (1139071) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @07:42PM (#39948783)

    And then someone rats them out and they get fired for lying about it.

    Expecting employees to lie is not a viable workaround, and neither is any other ethically questionable action.

  • Re:Really? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PRMan (959735) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @07:51PM (#39948855)
    Most people's Facebook status includes their Marital Status, Religion, etc., several things that are not allowed to be asked in of a prospective employee. So I would think somebody could have gotten them on that.
  • Re:Nice Sentiment (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @07:54PM (#39948877)

    This is the argument of the coward. Just stay quiet while your rights are violated because its too dangerous to stand up for yourself.

    Tell that to the countless workers that fought for their rights, some of whom paid for it with their lives. Are you saying they should not have bothered?

  • by Concerned Onlooker (473481) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @08:59PM (#39949355) Homepage Journal

    What about when they ask for Slashdot account info? You may not think you're participating in social media, but you are.

  • Wait a sec (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SilverJets (131916) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @09:30PM (#39949557) Homepage

    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."

    Shouldn't that be isn't owned or controlled by the employer or company instead? An employee's personal computer (and I'm using personal here to mean one that belongs to the employee) shouldn't be accessed by the employer either.

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

    by cayenne8 (626475) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @10:11PM (#39949757) Homepage Journal
    While I am all for this type of legislature, I have to ask myself, on what authority do the FEDS have to make this law?

    I'm not sure how I see this falling into the interstate commerce clause? I mean, a person works in his state....money paid to him in a state in which he is responsible for state taxes, etc.

    I would think this would have to be done on a state basis, and not a federal one?

    Sorry, but these days...I'm questioning every law the feds are trying to pass, and trying to understand where the constitutional authority is for these mandates/laws.....

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

    by mysidia (191772) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @10:33PM (#39949919)

    I'm not sure how I see this falling into the interstate commerce clause? I mean, a person works in his state....money paid to him in a state in which he is responsible for state taxes, etc.

    Internet social networking sites have a multi-state presence; the federal government has long claimed to have the jurisdiction over regulation of telecommunications services, see FCC. In Facebook's case, it's a terms of use violation to share your password.

    They are essentially passing legislation that forbids employers from interfering with citizens' private relationship with certain other companies.

    The legislation is broken though, because it's specific to social networking. This should apply to all sites.

    Including online banking sites, and sites where you pay your utility bills. This is a form of consumer protection and privacy protection for interstate commerce.

    Your private dealings are not your employer's business.

    Your employer has no business seeing who your friends are, who your banks are, what your account balances are, which cable package you subscribe, to, what book you ordered from Barnes and Noble or Amazon, what your viewing history is on Youtube and Netflix, etc.

    And if some of employers are trying to pry anyways and demand passwords to personal accounts their company has no right to, then it certainly is the feds' job to reign in the abuse.

  • by Jiro (131519) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @03:50AM (#39951427)

    Manage your Facebook password with a password management application, so you can legitimately tell them you "don't know" any Facebook passwords

    "Well, I guess you're not hired then".

    Geeks have this idea that if you just answer a question in a way that is literally accurate but not what the other guy wants, that's the way to win. The real world doesn't work that way except in a very small number of cases, of which this is not one. If the employer asks for your Facebook password, as far as he's concerned, either you provide it or you don't. "Honestly, I rigged up some system where I can log into my Facebook account but truthfully say I don't know the password" counts as not providing it. The fact that the statement "I don't know the password" is truthful makes no difference whatsoever.

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