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CA AB 1844 prohibits employers from demanding Facebook, Twitter, etc. passwords

The California Assembly Bill AB 1844, which would prohibit employers from requiring an employee or prospective employee to provide their username and password for Facebook, Twitter, or other social media accounts, just passed the state assembly UNANIMOUSLY by a 73-0 vote. The bill now heads to the state senate.

Assemblymember Nora Campos (D-San Jose), who authored the bill, calls AB 1844 a “preemptive measure” that will offer guidelines to the accessibility of private information behind what she calls the “social media wall.”

I KNOW that we like LAWS in California (some folks even believe [foolishly] that they influence BEHAVIOR 😉 ), but bills that pass the state assembly unanimously are relatively rare. (We also like to ARGUE in California! 😉 )

Such a law would not even be needed, if it were not for the corporate folks with the obsessive “need to know” who mistakenly believe that “knowledge is power.” These “control freaks” simply do not know when to mind their own business.

“Our social-media accounts offer views into our personal lives and expose information that would be inappropriate to discuss during a job interview due to the inherent risk of creating biases in the minds of employers,” Campos said in a statement. “In order to continue to minimize the threat of bias and discrimination in the workplace and the hiring process, California must continue to evolve its privacy protections to keep pace with advancing technology.”

Campos’ office said that 129 cases currently before the National Labor Relations Board involve employer workplace policies around social media. Capmos introduced AB 1844 in THIS form on February 22, 2012.

Nationally, a bill known as the Password Protection Act of 2012 (PDF) was introduced in the U.S. Senate yesterday. The bill “…seeks to prohibit employers from forcing prospective or current employees to provide access to their own private account as a condition of employment. It would also prohibit employers from discriminating or retaliating against a prospective or current employee should that employee refuse to provide access to a password-protected account.

Employers that violate the act may face financial penalties, perhaps the ONLY things that they understand.

(Now we need action about employers who ask prospective employees to provide their W2’s as a condition of employment – something that was required of ME way back in 2005.)

-Bill at

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