Ohio lawmakers are considering whether to put a stop to potential employers using employees’ passwords to social media accounts to learn about friends, family members and thoughts.
Some business representatives say the practice is necessary. Others call it a gross invasion of privacy.
Under current law, potential and current employers can ask for passwords.
Ohio State University senior Monica Lachey said she thinks the practice is “creepy.”
“I mean, you get all those emails where it says it will never ask you for your password or log in or any information,” Lachey said. “It’s just a right that you should have those passwords to yourself.”
Current law does not make that a right.
Lawmakers now are considering whether to put a stop to potential employers from using your password to learn about your friends, life events or even what is on your mind.
Tony Seegers with the Ohio Chamber of Commerce said he thinks the proposed legislation is “feel-good” legislation.
“It’s supposedly a trend sweeping the country, but it’s really not,” Seegers said. “It’s just something that’s been the flavor of the day.”
That is not the view of the American Civil Liberties Union, which testified at the statehouse in favor of the bill on Wednesday.
Gary Daniels of the ACLU said that the state needs to nip the practice in the bud.
If approved, the legislation could stop employers, employment agencies and labor groups from requiring job applicants to provide access to private electronic accounts.
For Ohio State senior Erin Ranney, it’s a no-brainer.
“If you’re not putting anything that’s going to affect them in the public eye, I don’t understand why they would need your password to protect themselves,” Ranney said.
Even if the law is approved, employers could still monitor employees’ online activities, including public posts on Facebook and Twitter.
Six states have passed similar legislation, and 20 others are debating it.
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