Employers have been asking job seekers for their Facebook passwords recently, making it a requirement for the vetting process. Facebook itself advised users not to give in to such demands, pointing out that the request violated its privacy guidelines, though those don’t have any real legal standing.
Now state governments are stepping in. Yesterday, California’s assembly passed a bill that forbids employers from demanding applicants’ passwords for Facebook and other social networks. The vote was unanimous. One California legislator said 129 cases involving improper use of social networking accounts by employers are before the National Labor Relations Board.
Similar bills are pending in Minnesota, Michigan and Massachusetts. New Jersey may follow, and a measure in Illinois has already passed its house.
Legislation has also been introduced at the federal level. Of all the online privacy issues that have surfaced in recent years, this one has really touched a nerve.