New Bill Will Outlaw Employers Demanding Access to Facebook Accounts
Ever since news broke earlier this month of job candidates being asked to hand over access to their Facebook accounts before they are offered a job the online world has been abuzz with opprobrium of employers for daring make such a request.
The issue has crossed over to the political world, with Arstechnica reporting that a bill is being introduced to Congress that would ban employers from making such a demand.
The bill, called the Social Networking Online Protection Act has been authored by Congressman Eliot Engel of New York and sponsored by Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky of Illinois and is a direct response to the stories of employers demanding access to candidates social media accounts.
The aim of the bill is to prevent any employer from requiring access to the social network accounts of either future or present employees. What's more, they want to stop online content becoming a condition of employment. The bill would apply in school applications as well as job applications.
Similar legislation being written by Senators Richard Blumenthal (Connecticut) and Chuck Schumer (New York), is expected to be introduced in the Senate later this year.
The moves are clearly in tune with the zeitgeist, with Facebook themselevs threatening legal action against any employers that demand access to members accounts.
What's more, the practice already breaks a law already in place. The Electronic Communications Protection Act of 1986 applies to data stored digitally and would cover cases such as this, although the Department of Justice indicated recently that no employers would be convicted for breaking this law.
So it seems inevitable that this practice will be outlawed sooner rather than later, and not before time.