Maryland bans employers from requesting social media passwords

A bill that would prohibit employers from asking current and potential employees for their login information to social networking sites, like Facebook and Twitter, has passed the General Assembly in Maryland and is now awaiting signature from Gov. Martin O'Malley, reports The Baltimore Sun. The bill is the first of its kind in the USA.

According to Melissa Goemann, Legislative Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, lawmakers successfully reconciled the bills before the end of the legislative session Monday. The bill passed unanimously in the Maryland Senate, and with a large majority in the House. However, Governor O'Malley's stance on the bill is unknown.

While the practice of employers asking employees for usernames and passwords to social networking sites is still fairly uncommon nationally, Erin Egan, Facebook's chief privacy officer, said that the company has seen a "distressing increase in reports of employers or others seeking to gain inappropriate access to people's Facebook profiles or private information."

"We're really excited," Goemann said of the bill's passage. "We just think this is a really positive development, because the technology for social media is expanding every year, and we think this sets a really good precedent for limiting how much your privacy can be exposed when you use these mediums."

"Nationally, the ACLU is really interested in the issue, so I think we'll probably see some other states introduce legislation," Goemann said.

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26 Comments

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I would like to see a list of employers low enough to even consider doing something like this. They should be brought to light, and their actions exposed for the world to see. I bet theyd be singing a different tune then

Asmodai said,
Good for Maryland but this should be a Federal Law not a state law.

It shouldnt need to be a law. Thats what the rest of the world is bemused about. why should there be the need for a law to stop people asking this when its in the terms and conditions of the website that you cannot share this with anyone? And if you dont give it then is that an instant right to not hire or dismiss? If so then I'd be talking to an employment lawyer about that...

spader said,

It shouldnt need to be a law. Thats what the rest of the world is bemused about. why should there be the need for a law to stop people asking this when its in the terms and conditions of the website that you cannot share this with anyone? And if you dont give it then is that an instant right to not hire or dismiss? If so then I'd be talking to an employment lawyer about that...
Sad thing is that this is already a federal law. Has been for a couple hundred years.

We just allowed douches to run everything and people like that will always try to use semantics, technicalities, and loopholes.

I cannot fathom why the hell this is remotely necessary. Who the hell would even consider asking someone for their facebook password? That is insane.

Companies do it so that they can do a background check on you and see if you're company material. I agree on the insanity of the thing though, it would be like the company asking for your bank details so they could see if you were a financially responsible person.

At the end of the day what you get up to privately should be allowed to be kept from the company. The only time it should be an issue is if it affects your work performance.

kcbworth said,
I cannot fathom why the hell this is remotely necessary. Who the hell would even consider asking someone for their facebook password? That is insane.

Calling madness doesn't stop them apparently.
So if there's a law (albeit I bet/hope it actually already violates a couple of laws) specifically to address this issue, you can tell your employer to suck it and if he fires you/doesn't employ you for this, he'll have to face a court shi*storm.

GS:mac

Sorry but I just need to ask this, do you people over the States have any privacy what so ever anymore? I'm reading all these stupid bills that they are trying to pass and it makes me laugh.

remixedcat said,
It's none of their damn business what we do off work hours!

Indeed.
Requiring these details should only be necessary if you ticked the box for "I upload nude pictures of me and my hot female friends (non-public sharing options)".

Otherwise, there's not much that's worth going through...
I mean...
"WOW! You like Harry Potter? Incredible, now I know that you should't be my future handyman: You'll end up using all my brooms for flying and all that sh**!" lol

GS:mac

warwagon said,
I'm confused. Why do they need the password? Why don't they just say they have to friend them?

You can still say who you want to view your posts and what not.

warwagon said,
I'm confused. Why do they need the password? Why don't they just say they have to friend them?

The magic is that people can use lists to add or remove people to.

For example: My FB profile is set up to only show most of my posts to friends EXCEPT <a list>.

I can variably chose who's on that list and who's not.
My employer would be on top of said list lol.

GS:mac

Glassed Silver said,

The magic is that people can use lists to add or remove people to.

For example: My FB profile is set up to only show most of my posts to friends EXCEPT <a list>.

I can variably chose who's on that list and who's not.
My employer would be on top of said list lol.

GS:mac

But why do they need the account password unless they actually plan to login to that person's account and modify the list? Sorry I don't mess with it often, still not sure why the account password is needed.

warwagon said,
I'm confused. Why do they need the password? Why
on't they just say they have to friend them?

I gotta admit I'm a bit in the dark on this one too. If anyone asked me for my password I'd politely tell them to go and fornicate with themselves. What right do they have to request access to your personal information? Whats next...if you want to work here you will give us a copy of your house key and alarm codes?

red_rider said,

But why do they need the account password unless they actually plan to login to that person's account and modify the list? Sorry I don't mess with it often, still not sure why the account password is needed.


There is a high chance that if I friend a remotely smart future employee as employer, that I'm instantly on his restricted list and I only get the public posts.

Now the only way to get around that is ask for the password, as he will login (YES! What do you think they would do? Exactly, there's no other reason) and not modify the lists, but view the content directly from there... No need to edit jackshi*, when you're in the honeypot to begin with.

GS:mac

KomaWeiss said,
At least, one state has common sense.

Don't count on it. This is maybe the first law in the state that actually makes sense.