4-13-12: Banning the Request for Passwords
The Maryland General Assembly has voted to ban employers from asking workers for passwords to their social media accounts. It’s the first legislative body in the country to pass such a measure–though several other states are considering bills.
The bill (HB 964 / SB 433) came about after Robert Collins, an officer with the Division of Corrections, was asked to provide his personal Facebook password during a re-certification interview. The fiscal note for the bill notes that the DOC had the policy in place in order to look for signs of gang affiliations among potential employees.
Collins told us: “The feeling I had in the interview was one of – I felt embarrassed, I felt humiliated, I felt like I was almost selling myself and my family out in the name of getting a job, you know.”
After the interview, Robert Collins went to the ACLU of Maryland, who began lobbying against the practice on his behalf.
Similar bills are being examined around the country while two U. S. Senators–Chuck Schumer of New York and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut–have asked the Department of Justice to investigate the issue. Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley has not taken a public position on the bill – his office is now reviewing it. Several pro-business groups, including the Maryland Chamber of Commerce opposed the bill.
Melissa Goemann, Legislative Director for the ACLU of Maryland, talks with Sheilah about the bill.