Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Bills proposed to protect social media passwords, right to gripe online

Posted By on Tue, Feb 12, 2013 at 2:30 PM

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New legislation proposed on the state and federal levels could prevent your nosy boss from asking for your Twitter password - and protect you from getting fired for expressing your views on Facebook.

House Bill 117, introduced by Rep. Sandra Scott, D-Rex, would "prohibit employers from requesting username, password, or other means of accessing" an employee's or prospective employee's social media account.

"My emails, my Facebook and Twitter, that's my personal space," Rep. Scott told 11 Alive.

Additionally, the Social Networking Online Protection Act, federal legislation aimed at protecting the passwords of applicants, employees, and students, is being reintroduced. According to ABC News, the bill was proposed last May, but was tabled when Congress adjourned at the end of 2012.

Other controversies that surround social media privacy include the right to post what you want. Many companies have social media policies to limit what workers can say online. A Duluth woman was recently fired because comments she made on Facebook violated the employer's social media policy.

According to the New York Times, "in a series of recent rulings and advisories, labor regulators have declared many such blanket restrictions illegal." The National Labor Regulations Board said that social net speech is protected and employees have a right to talk about work, whether it's on or offline.

"Many view social media as the new water cooler," NLRB Chairman Mark G. Pearce told the paper. "All we're doing is applying traditional rules to a new technology."

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