Password Protection Legislation Introduced In House And Senate

May 9, 2012 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – Legislation was introduced today in both the House and Senate to prevent employers from forcing employers and job applicants into sharing information from their personal social networking accounts. It would also prevent employers from accessing information on any computer that isn’t owned or controlled by an employee, including private email accounts, photo sharing sites and smart phones. However, the legislation’s protections do not extend to students who are also frequent targets of social networking monitoring. It also allows states and the federal government to exempt some classes of employees.

The bill, the Password Protection Act, was introduced by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), as well as several co-sponsors, and Reps. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Ed Perlmutter (D-Co.).

“This bill creates a necessary framework for guarding privacy in the 21st century,” said Christopher Calabrese, ACLU legislative counsel. “While the legislation contains some problematic exceptions, it does establish clear, bright boundaries when it comes to what online information our bosses can access. Employers have no business snooping on their employees’ Facebook pages, private email accounts and smart phones. Passing the Password Protection Act would be a major step toward ensuring they can’t. We’ll work with the sponsors to extend these protections to students and eliminate some problematic exceptions.”

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