Washington State Passes Bill Protecting Facebook Passwords Of Employees, Job Applicants

By David Cohen 

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill Tuesday that bans employers from demanding that employees or job candidates surrender their passwords to Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks, as well as from requiring employees to add managers as friends or contacts, AP reported.

Employers can still request to see content from employees’ social media sites during internal investigations, if they have received word that those employees are sharing confidential information, according to AP. Shankar Narayan of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington chapter told AP:

In that circumstance, the employer may request the leaked content, but there is no requirement that the employee turn it over. The employer is given no more power to force disclosure of that information than exists under current law.

State Sen. Steve Hobbs (D-Lake Stevens) sponsored the bill, and he told AP:

We don’t have to sacrifice our privacy for advances in technology. As social media technology advances, people are afraid about their privacy. It’s good to be ahead on this one.

And Inslee told AP:

We’re trying to assure people’s privacy in this space, that we (have) vigilance and the ability to move on a moment’s notice when people’s privacy has been violated. I think it is a solid step to give people privacy, but I would not be shocked if there’s some new app or application or a laser beam hologram technology we haven’t dreamed of yet that makes further work necessary.

Oregon began considering similar legislation in March, as did Colorado in February, and states that passed bills in 2012 included Michigan, California, Illinois, and Maryland.

Readers: Has your state adopted similar measures? If not, should it?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.