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Social Media Privacy Bills Move Forward
June 26, 2012
SB 1349 (Yee) and AB 1844 (Campos) will prohibit employers, colleges from seeking social media passwords
SACRAMENTO – Today, the Assembly Judiciary Committee approved part of a package of bills that will prohibit colleges and employers from formally requesting or demanding students, employees, or job applicants provide their social media usernames and passwords.
SB 1349, authored by Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo), was unanimously approved to prohibit the practice at California’s public and private colleges and universities. AB 1844, authored by Assemblywoman Nora Campos (D-San Jose), which includes the provisions dealing with businesses, will be heard tomorrow in the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee. The legislators are also co-authoring each other’s bills.
The bills come after a growing number of businesses, public agencies, and colleges around the country are asking job seekers, workers, and students for their Facebook and Twitter account information.
“I am pleased by today’s overwhelming vote to end this unacceptable invasion of personal privacy,” said Yee. “The practice of employers or colleges demanding social media passwords is entirely unnecessary and completely unrelated to someone’s performance or abilities.”
In addition to the privacy of students and workers, accessing social media accounts may also invade the privacy of family members and friends who thought they only were sharing information with their own social media network.
“These social media outlets are often for the purpose of individuals to share private information – including age, marital status, religion, sexual orientation and personal photos – with their closest friends and family,” said Yee. “This information is illegal for employers and colleges to use in making employment and admission decisions and has absolutely no bearing on a person’s ability to do their job or be successful in the classroom.”
“SB 1349 is a significant step towards securing Californians’ constitutional right to privacy, both online and offline, in the workplace and in school,” said Jon Fox, Consumer Advocate for CALPIRG.
“If employers are permitted to access the private information of job applicants, unscrupulous hiring managers will be given greater leeway to circumvent anti-discrimination laws,” said Joe Ridout of Consumer Action.
The legislation would also prohibit employers and colleges from demanding personal email addresses and login information of employees, applicants, and students.
SB 1349 will be considered by the Assembly Higher Education Committee next week.
Contact: Adam J. Keigwin,