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California employers and schools are now prohibited from social network snooping

Posted: , by Maxwell R.

California employers and schools are now prohibited from social network snooping
In what is being described as pioneering legislation, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law two bills which will prevent employers and universities from demanding social media log-in credentials from prospective employees or students.

The laws are a response to a groundswell of concerns from privacy advocates complaining that companies and schools were demanding that employees, students or prospective employees and students must provide their usernames and passwords to social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and email accounts.

One bill was targeted squarely at employers, some of whom were disciplining employees who would not provide their personal information for social media. For the past couple of years, employers across the US were demanding job applicants and employees provide such log-in credentials as part of a review for hiring or retaining employees. There has been sufficient public backlash at such practices that many companies have abandoned the policies, but now that it has happened, it gave legislators cause to write a law prohibiting such behavior.

The second bill was pointed at colleges and universities, some of which had been demanding user names, passwords and other information from students and student groups. Several schools were snooping into student social media accounts, targeting high-profile students in particular, like athletes.

California is known for taking the lead nationally with regards to new eras of legislation, both good and bad.  As California goes, so does much of the rest of the US, so other states may draft their own companion legislation modeled off these two laws.

The new laws go into effect on January 1, 2013.

source: Reuters

7 Comments
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posted on 28 Sep 2012, 02:52 3

1. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5612; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


About time. Employers can block employee access to personal accounts during work hours. But accessing the accounts by the employer was the no-no.

posted on 28 Sep 2012, 06:04 2

2. messiah (Posts: 433; Member since: 19 Feb 2010)


How did they get away with that on the first place???? Were schools on California really little Hitler regimes?

posted on 28 Sep 2012, 09:19 1

6. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5612; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


By requesting the info. Absent an outright ban, employers can ask for whatever they want. Even with a ban in place, employers can still find out what a respective employee is doing online in many instances.

posted on 28 Sep 2012, 08:53

3. PhenomFaz (Posts: 1064; Member since: 26 Sep 2012)


Finally some sense has been knocked in!

posted on 28 Sep 2012, 08:54 1

4. threed61 (Posts: 126; Member since: 27 May 2011)


If I understand correctly, this only stops them from asking someone to provide their info. Employers and schools can still go looking for the info on their own.

posted on 28 Sep 2012, 09:15 1

5. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5612; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


It is pretty intimidating when you are interviewing for a job to be asked to provide log-in info on your personal accounts. If you refuse, you probably won't get the job....

The only way that practice stops is with a ban imposed by either state or federal authority. The Feds won't act, so it was up to the state.

posted on 28 Sep 2012, 09:31 1

7. superguy (Posts: 271; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)


If they're going to ask for that information as a condition of employment, I'm not going to want to work for them.

I would do it on a one for one trade - meaning they give me their info. If they want to check up on me, then they should have no problem with me checking up on them to make sure they're not douches. I'm sure they'd understand my reasoning would be exactly the same as theirs. Therefore, they should have no problem with it.

If they do, citing privacy concerns, well, then why should I respect theirs if they're going to have no respect for mine? They can pound sand.

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