U.S. House of Representatives Takes on Law Governing Employers Asking for Facebook Login Info

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News Posted: Sat, Apr 28 2012 1:20 PM
Following Maryland’s lead in protecting job applicants, Reps. Eliot Engel (D - New York) and Jan Schakowsky (D - Illinois) introduced legislation to the U.S. House of Representatives called the Social Networking Online Protection Act (SNOPA).

SNOPA actually covers a lot more ground than just protecting job seekers from having to divulge their Faceook login credentials to potential employers, also covering applicants to school and universities as well as those already employed or enrolled.

“Social media sites have become a widespread communications tool – both personally and professionally – all across the world,” said Rep. Engel in a blog post announcing the legislation. “However, a person’s so-called ‘digital footprint’ is largely unprotected. There have been a number of reports about employers requiring new applicants to give their username and password as part of the hiring process. The same has occurred at some schools and universities. Part of the attraction to social networking is that you can feel free to interact with those you wish to, and post content as if it were part of a group dynamic. Passwords are the gateway to many avenues containing personal and sensitive content – including email accounts, bank accounts and other information.”

Rep. Eliot Engel

SNOPA has two thrusts, according to the post:

  1) Prohibit current or potential employers from requiring a username, password or other access to online content. It does not permit employers to demand such access to discipline, discriminate or deny employment to individuals, nor punish them for refusing to volunteer the information.

  2) Apply the same restrictions to colleges and universities, and K-12 schools as well.

As plenty of people have pointed out, demanding login credentials from anyone is already a violation of the user’s agreement with the service provider, not to mention possibly illegal in and of itself. Nevertheless, seeing this issue get such strong and swift attention at the federal level should help countless job and school applicants sleep a little better.
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Inspector replied on Sat, Apr 28 2012 2:30 PM

This will certainly be a great addition :D. I didn't know school asked for these information though.

Does this prevent them from not giving you the job because of information you posted on facebook say public or through the friend of friend thing? (Not from getting your password)

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ZTimpson replied on Sat, Apr 28 2012 4:17 PM

People should not be aloud to demand that information of people! It's most definately a violation!

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AKnudson replied on Sat, Apr 28 2012 8:04 PM

I agree with Z nobody has the right to your information, i know that everyone of my passwords vary by a punctuation most times so i know how insecure i would feel if some one had my information.

One interesting thing i would point out though is that i am hesitant to support a bill like this with a name so much like SOPA, SNOPA kinda seems like a ridiculous acronym as well.

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ZTimpson replied on Sat, Apr 28 2012 8:24 PM

ya, that name also had my suspicions up........ in all i don't like how big our government has gotten to be frank.

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So how many pages is this bill that states these small protections.

@inspector it does not look like it protects individuals from having public information on the internet used against them.

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MCook replied on Sun, Apr 29 2012 5:26 AM

It doesn't bother you that corporations rule the nation zTimpson? Small government is for small countries.  Ron Paul's nonsense is getting scary.

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sackyhack replied on Sun, Apr 29 2012 10:27 AM

This is probably going to get stalled because a bunch of old people who don't know how the series of tubes known as the interwebs work and they think this is going to hurt "job creators".

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