Lawmakers Try To Ban Facebook ‘Shoulder Surfing’ By Employers
March 21, 2012
By Martha C. White
“If a potential employer asks for your Facebook password, tell them to stick it. You know that guy or girl is going to be a horrible boss.” –KTRN
Even in a marketplace where people routinely trade access to their personal data for small freebies like online games and coupons, some employers have provoked outrage by demanding to see job applicants’ private Facebook pages. Now, lawmakers are wading into the fray with legislation that would prohibit the practice of “shoulder surfing” on the part of hiring managers.
In Maryland, a bill introduced last month by Democrat Ronald Young passed the Senate; a corresponding bill has been introduced in the House. If the House bill is approved by first a committee and then the entire chamber, this ban on shoulder surfing could become law in October.
In their current forms, both bills would prohibit employers from requiring job applicants to disclose user names, passwords or other login credentials to a “a personal account or service,” in the Senate bill’s verbiage. The Senate bill also aims to prohibit “an employer from failing or refusing to hire an applicant as a result of the applicant’s refusal to disclose certain password and related information,” although privacy experts have pointed out that would be an uphill battle for a rejected job-seeker to prove they were passed over for a job on these grounds.