California moves to stop employers demanding Facebook passwords

The move is part of a wave of legislative activity to block the practice

The California assembly passed a bill on Thursday that prevents employers from demanding job applicants' passwords for accounts on Facebook or other social networking sites.

The bill passedunanimously and will now head to the state senate. Similar legislation was introduced Thursday in the U.S. Congress.

The legislative moves follow reports that employers have demanded passwords for social sites from job applicants, demanded a walk-through of the content on those sites or insisted applicants accept a friend request from a member of staff.

It's unclear how common the practice really is, but according to Nora Campos [cq], the Democrat who introduced the California bill, there are 129 cases before the National Labor Relations Board involving improper use of social networking accounts by employers.

The practice began to draw public attention in March when a New York statistician disclosed that a prospective employer had demanded his Facebook login as part of its screening process. Facebook responded by making it a violation of its terms of service to solicit or share account passwords.

"As a user, you shouldn't be forced to share your private information and communications just to get a job. And as the friend of a user, you shouldn’t have to worry that your private information or communications will be revealed to someone you don’t know and didn’t intend to share with just because that user is looking for a job," Erin Egan, Facebook's chief privacy offer for policy, wrote in a blog post.

The American Civil Liberties Union has supported legislation to ban the practice. Chris Conley [cq], a technology and civil liberties policy attorney at the ACLU of Northern California, said social networks have "vast amounts of information" about individuals that they should not have to share each time they apply for a job.

Bills blocking employer use of job applicants' logins are being considered in six other U.S. states and have passed in two.

Cameron Scott covers search, web services and privacy for The IDG News Service. Follow Cameron on Twitter at CScott_IDG.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Cameron Scott

IDG News Service
Show Comments



Victorinox Werks Professional Executive 17 Laptop Case

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?