Calif. Moves to Bar Employer Access to Social Media Accounts

Thursday, 03 May 2012 10:01 AM

By Robert Engler

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A California legislative panel has unanimously approved a bill that would bar private companies from using employee or job applicant social media accounts to gather personal information.
 
The measure, passed by the Assembly Labor Committee on Wednesday, is expected to sail through the full legislature with little opposition, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

“The effects of gaining access to personal media accounts is no different than an employer reading a personal diary, personal emails, or viewing personal home videos," said Democratic Assemblywoman Nora Campos, the bill’s author.

Campos introduced the measure in the wake of national reports of companies demanding that employees give them their user names and passwords for Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts.

According to the Mercury News, national surveys have shown that some 63 percent of companies admit to reviewing employee or job applicant social media accounts for personal information and habits that might cause the company embarrassment or affect work attitudes.

At least eight other states are considering legislation similar to Campos’ bill, and two members of Congress have asked the Justice Department to determine if the practice violates privacy laws.

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