California One Step Closer to Banning Employers from Snooping Facebook Passwords

Kudos to California's state Assembly for passing a bill that would make it illegal for employers to pry Facebook usernames and passwords from employees and potential job candidates. Assembly Bill 1844, sponsored by Assemblywoman Nora Campos (D-San Jose), would put all private content on social networks out of reach of employers, though the suits in charge would still have free range to check a employee's public activity on Facebook and other social networking sites, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Specifically, the bill as written would "prohibit an employer from requiring an employee or prospective employee to disclose a username or account password to access a personal social media account that is exclusively used by the employee or prospective employee." As defined by the bill, 'social media' refers to "any electronic medium where users may create, share, and view user-generated content, including uploading or downloading videos or still photographs, blogs, video blogs, podcasts, instant messages, or online social networking content."

There have been numerous reports recently of employers asking job candidates for their Facebook credentials right there on the spot during the interview. When that happens, it puts cash strapped job seekers in a precarious position where they must decide what's more important, a job that could pay the bills and feed the family, or their personal privacy. California's state Assembly agreed unanimously in a 73-0 vote to pass the bill that would make such choices obsolete. If it goes the distance, California will become to first state to ban the practice of employers asking for social networking login information.