Employers banned from asking for Facebook passwords in Maryland

We had reported earlier that employers have been asking prospective employees, in job interviews, to provide their Facebook username and password, so the job interviewer can purview your entire Facebook account, including any private sections (with photos, etc) that it might contain.

When Justin Bassett interviewed for a new job, he expected the usual questions about experience and references. So he was astonished when the interviewer asked for something else: his Facebook username and password.

Bassett, a New York City statistician, had just finished answering a few character questions when the interviewer turned to her computer to search for his Facebook page. But she couldn’t see his private profile. She turned back and asked him to hand over his login information.

We learn today that at least one state cares about privacy. It’s creepy and an invasion of privacy for an employer or potential employer to ask for password details and it may also be illegal.  And if it’s not, it should be.

Maryland on Monday became the first state in the nation to ban employers from requesting access to the social media accounts of employees and job applicants.

The state’s General Assembly passed legislation that would prohibit employers from requiring or seeking user names, passwords or any other means of accessing personal Internet sites such as Facebook as a condition of employment.

NOTE FROM JOHN: The Obama administration, and congress, really ought to intervene here. Putting an end to this is not only a pro-“jobs” message, it also is a no-brainer in terms of something the public would easily support, and thus gain kudos for whichever politicians jump on this first.

An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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