Two Democratic congressmen have introduced the Password Protection Act of 2013 (H.R. 2077), legislation that would make it a federal crime for your employer to demand your Facebook, Twitter, or other social networking passwords as a condition of employment.
According to Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT), one of the bill’s original sponsors, employees “have a legitimate expectation of privacy when using Facebook or Twitter. This legislation will prevent fishing expeditions into employees’ private lives. While an employer may have a valid concern about the business impact of an employee’s online activity, demanding passwords and unfettered access to private accounts is an over-the-top solution.”
The law comes at a time where an increasing number of employers are seeking access to employees’ personal information. As part of the job interview process, the Maryland Department of Corrections requested potential hires show what’s hidden behind their Facebook privacy wall. Many colleges also request passwords from athletes so their activity can be monitored.
Introduced to the House earlier this week and similar to the legislation introduced last year, the Passsword Protection Act of 2013 has 34 Democrats and two Republicans signed on as co-sponsors. The Judiciary Committee will first consider the bill before deciding whether it should advance to the House floor for a vote, where the law’s fate is uncertain.