Maryland to Ban Employers from Requesting Social Media Passwords

    April 17, 2012

    Maryland lawmakers are in the process of passing legislation prohibiting employers from asking current and prospective employees for their user names and passwords to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, according to The Baltimore Sun.

    Employers across the country are frequently requesting access to potential hires’ social media pages to weed out unwanted candidates. Applicants and Facebook alike have criticized the practice of employers viewing employees’ personal accounts as running afoul with their privacy rights. The Bill would prohibit an employer from requiring that an employee or applicant disclose any user name, password, or other means for accessing a personal account or service through a “specified electronic communications devices,” and further prohibit an employer threatening to take specified disciplinary actions for an employee’s refusal to disclose specified password and related information.

    Maryland lawmakers began drafting the bill after the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) raised concerns about the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services demanding the personal social media password of corrections officer Robert Collins. Collins was asked for his Facebook password in a re-certification interview with the state agency.

    Maryland would be the first state in the nation to set such a restriction into law. A copy of the legislation can be found here

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