California Employers Can’t Ask For Your Twitter Password Now – And They Shouldn’t Have Been Asking Anyway

The good news: Employers can’t ask for your Twitter or Facebook password now!

The bad news: This update only applies to California.

The confusing news: Wait, that wasn’t illegal to begin with?

The Mercury News reports that “California, home to many of the world’s social media companies, now has the nation’s strictest privacy laws preventing your boss or college from surfing through the personal information you post on sites like Facebook [and Twitter].

It will be illegal for companies or universities to ask for access to your personal social media or email accounts under two bills signed Thursday by Gov. Jerry Brown. . . . The two laws — SB 1349 from Yee and AB 1844 from Assemblywoman Nora Campos, D-San Jose — overwhelmingly passed the Legislature in late August and had broad support from employee unions, technology companies and consumer groups.

“The Golden State is pioneering the social media revolution, and these laws will protect all Californians from unwarranted invasions of their personal social media accounts,” Brown said in a statement.

Seriously? California is blazing a path and taking a stance that is radically different from any other state in the U.S.?

Well, not exactly.

California is the first state to enact laws protecting both students and workers after Maryland and Illinois earlier this year approved laws affecting just workers and Delaware did the same for just students. About a dozen other states and Congress are considering similar legislation.

Okay, so it is the first in a sense . . . but probably more of a very specific non-news sense than anything else. Why? Well, assuming the ACLU is correct (and all over this – as they appear to be), asking employees for social networking passwords is a complete invasion of privacy – and a lawyer’s dream.

So all these bills really seem to do is provide guidance for employers daft enough to make such a request, and helps them dodge getting smacked squarely in the jaw with a lawsuit, which they so fantastically deserve. Legal system, 1; Darwinism, 0.

Would you ever give an employer your passwords? Have you ever been asked?

(Surprised woman in towel image from Shutterstock)