Although it’s disturbing that there needed to be laws preventing employers
and institutions of higher learning from demanding Facebook
usernames and passwords from job applicants and employees
, apparently the practice (or at least the threat of the practice) became widespread enough that six state legislatures passed laws to that effect.
NBC News noted that California, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan and New Jersey all enacted legislation to keep bosses out of employees’ social media
accounts. Michigan’s law was just signed into law and enacted days ago, and Illinois’ and California’s respective measures went into effect on the first day of the new year.
In California, the law extends to both public and private employers; California, Delaware, and Michigan apply the same protection to students applying to colleges and universities.
Of course, anything users of social media sites have made available for public viewing is fair game.
Maryland was the first state
to pass a law preventing Facebook snooping by employers, and after another five states did the same this year, there’s no doubt that more will soon follow.