WDAY.com

WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published March 29, 2012, 08:10 PM

Lawmakers Move to Block Employers From Facebook Passwords

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Minnesota lawmakers are joining a sudden move to block employers from asking applicants for their passwords to social networking sites.

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Minnesota lawmakers are joining a sudden move to block employers from asking applicants for their passwords to social networking sites.

Some employers, both public and private, are asking for passwords as a way to find out more information about their applicants.

Two Republicans in Minnesota have introduced a bill that includes all sites where users can make a profile and control who sees it. Both college students applying for jobs and law professors agree this push for legislation is an interesting take on privacy.

""Something that most people probably aren't aware of is legally in this country, employers can actually ask anything in an application process," UND Assistant Professor of Law Robin Runge said.

Employers just can't use that information to discriminate against potential employees. But new statutes being introduced in states across the country could make it illegal for employers to ask applicants for their social networking passwords.

"Completely shocked that employers can do that," UND student Cody Bachman said.

"I think we jump and say 'we need a new law' you know, very quickly before we actually step back and say 'well wait a minute, right, how do we look at this situation and see if there's something already,' so privacy," Runge said.

And many college students starting to apply for jobs say their privacy is at stake.

"If they want to know that much about you, what else are they going to want from you?" Bachman said.

"I'm assuming they want to get a better idea on who the person is, but I think you can easily figure out who the person is by just having the interview," UND student William PanKratz said.

Runge says there are things you can do in a job interview to protect yourself from providing your password.

"How can I help you know that I really want this job and that I'm the best applicant for that job, short of giving you my password," Runge said.

Similar bills have been introduced in California, Massachusetts, Maryland and Illinois.

Tags: