Legal Alerts

Password Protection Act Legislation Introduced in Senate

05.01.12

The Password Protection Act (S. 3074) was introduced by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Ron Wyden (D-Ore), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn) in order to prevent employers from requiring employees or job applicants to provide password information for social media and email accounts as a condition of employment.

Employers have reportedly required job applicants to provide usernames and passwords for websites like Facebook or have asked job applicants during interviews to log into their accounts and allow the employer-interviewer to browse the applicant’s profile, acquaintances, and other information.

The Password Protection Act of 2012 would bar employers from compelling or coercing employees into giving access to their private accounts. Employers could not condition employment on gaining access to an employee or applicant’s private account. Employers would also be barred from discriminating or retaliating against employees or applicants who refuse to provide the information. However, employers could still set their policies relating to employer-owned computer systems, hold employees liable for theft of data, and allow social networking within their offices. The legislation imposes financial penalties against employers who violate the measure.

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LaFromboise, Antoine J.
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