Social Media Passwords to be Protected by HB 117

February 6, 2013 8:32 am

by Obi's Sister · 19 comments

Signs of the times. The fact that our personal privacy has been eroded to such a state that a bill like this is even needed is sad, indeed.

Via 11Alive:

Rep. Sandra Scott (D-Rex) has introduced a bill that would prohibit Georgia employers from requesting their employees’ social media passwords. The law would protect those seeking a job as well as current employees.

“My emails, my Facebook and Twitter, that’s my personal space,” said Rep. Scott. “Even if they are checking for a job. I just want to make people feel a little bit more comfortable when they’re out on social media and they’re looking for jobs.”

The bill would make an exception for work accounts or employees under investigation. Rep. Scott said she expects HB 117 to pass this session.

Toxic Avenger February 6, 2013 at 8:47 am

I’m a Democrat, and I don’t care for Sandra Scott.

That being said, my opinion of her has improved thanks to this bill. I hope it can be passed with bipartisan consensus. I feel like employers should be privy to whatever you choose to put out there by yourself, not what you protect from everybody equally. In other words, if I decide to restrict my Facebook to a finite group of friends, excluding all others including potential employers and clients, my boss should not be able to invade that space. To me, it is akin to my boss asking to come out to hang out with my friends- unless I extend the invitation, it’s not part of his or her purview to do so.

John Vestal February 6, 2013 at 8:54 am

Do you let those friends see results of your blood/urine tests? :>)

Toxic Avenger February 6, 2013 at 11:22 am

I think that’s an arguably different issue, though I agree with you.

Three Jack February 6, 2013 at 9:59 am

When did this become an issue? A potential employer has no legal right to ask for social media passwords any more than they could ask for a ATM PIN # to see how one spends his money.

Jackster February 6, 2013 at 10:02 am

I’m sorry if I’m under informed here, but when did this become an issue? Are employers now asking for social media and email passwords?

And if so, why are people providing them? It’s one thing to have your credit score be a factor in your hiring, along with a drug test, but your taste in memes?

Toxic Avenger February 6, 2013 at 11:20 am

The answer, sadly, is yes. They are.

Toxic Avenger February 6, 2013 at 11:21 am

And the reason people provide them is because it generally occurs at the interview stages. If you don’t give it up, you don’t get the job.

Harry February 6, 2013 at 10:03 am

Drones and HSA and no privacy on the internet could present some constitutional issues. Well, at least you’re free to buy booze on Sunday.

Jackster February 6, 2013 at 10:11 am

Sorry – what does that have to do with employers and social media?

Next thing you know ,they’ll want me to punch in.

Dem in the Burbs February 6, 2013 at 10:16 am

Here is a link to a good overview of laws that other states have passed:

http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2013/01/30/employer-social-media-passwords/

This article discusses some court rulings about who owns a person’s social media information, such as their LinkedIn and Twitter accounts:

http://redtape.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/10/12/14373762-when-you-and-employer-split-who-gets-your-friends-and-followers?lite

Thought these articles might provide some context to the situation.

Obi's Sister February 6, 2013 at 10:34 am

@ThreeJack and @Jackster – the issue first starting making the rounds last summer. Just Google ‘employers asking for facebook passwords’ or something similar and you’ll get all sorts of information.

Jackster February 6, 2013 at 12:44 pm

Okay, I did some digging. It looks like there are a few bad actors, and the ACLU’s complaint is against the government.

I took the time to reach out to three HR managers at three different (large) companies – they told me they would check out social media (as a user) if they were suspicious, but there was no policy for this sort of thing. The articles even say the practice is not wide spread.

To me, this is more about headlines for legislators who do not have many ideas of their own, than it is about some sort of social justice.

Dave Bearse February 8, 2013 at 8:46 am

Yes it may be about headlines, but Georgia is an employment at will state. It’s anecdotal, but I personally knew someone fired a few years ago because of a post they placed on their facebook page.

Nick Chester February 6, 2013 at 12:45 pm

This seems like a reach to me. I wonder what kind of free speech issues will come up. Would an employer be able to enforce a social media policy and still have access to information?

Scarlett February 6, 2013 at 1:45 pm

Very forward leaning legislation, but a little surprising coming from a woman who doesn’t have any of these accounts.

Doug Deal February 6, 2013 at 10:09 pm

I think it is good for employers to ask for such things, because it immediately lets you know that you don’t want to work there.

Spacey G February 7, 2013 at 11:18 am

My boss would faint if he saw my Facebook. Unlike most of you people here who probably already see it.

novicegirl February 7, 2013 at 1:34 pm

Can this bill be amended to make it illegal for a drone to watch me enter my Facebook and ATM passwords?

novicegirl February 7, 2013 at 1:38 pm

I have my doubts about this being a widespread problem, but at some point, the employee has responsibility in the matter to go work for someone who isn’t a Neanderthal.

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