Maryland Bans Employers from Obtaining Facebook Passwords

Posted on Apr 11, 2012 in Legislation, National Issues

If you’re worried about an employer or potential employer asking for your Facebook or Twitter password, you might just want to move to Maryland. The state’s General Assembly just passed a bill to keep social media passwords safe from employers.

National media attention was recently focused on the issue of job applicants and employees being forced to give up their social media passwords so that employer’s could keep tabs on their online identities, ostensibly to ensure their appropriateness and professionalism.

But while lawmakers around the country were trying to grapple with the legality of such actions, Maryland was already preparing to vote on legislation addressing the issue.

“In a nutshell, it protects employees and employers. It prohibits employees from having to provide access to their digital content or social media account information,” Bradley Shear, a Maryland social media lawyer who worked to get the bill passed, said.

The bill also protects employers. “It’s a pro-business bill; it provides employers with a shield against lawsuits,” Shear added.

Minnesotta and Illinois are preparing bills based on Maryland’s, and plan to bring them to a vote soon. You can read the full text of Maryland’s Bill 433 bill here: http://mlis.state.md.us/2012rs/billfile/SB0433.htm.

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