California Bans Social Snooping

| 28 Sep 2012 15:40

The state of California has enacted a law prohibiting employers from demanding social media passwords from job applicants.

The deeply disturbing practice of employers demanding social media passwords from applicants and new hires came to light earlier this year following an MSNBC investigation that discovered, among other things, a requirement of athletic programs at several colleges across the U.S. that members "friend" a "coach or compliance officer" who would monitor their activity. Appallingly invasive but perfectly legal - except, as of yesterday, in California.

"Today I signed two bills to prohibit universities and employers from demanding your social media passwords," California Governor Jerry Brown announced on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and MySpace.

The first bill, Assembly Bill1844, prohibits employers from demanding user names, passwords and other related information from employees and applicants, and from disciplining or firing employees who refuse to divulge them. The second, Senate Bill 1349, provides similar protections for post-secondary students.

You, as a knowledgeable gamer, may be surprised to learn that Bill 1349 was authored by none other than Senator Leland Yee, the long-serving California legislator who helped enshrine First Amendment protections for videogames by doggedly trying to strip them away. "The practice of employers or colleges demanding social media passwords is entirely unnecessary and completely unrelated to someone's performance or abilities," Yee said. "Today, California has declared that this is an unacceptable invasion of personal privacy."

We dump on him when he does wrong, so I suppose it's only fair to give him his propers when he gets it right. So thank you, Senator Yee. You done good.

Sources: California, Leland Yee

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