You can always count on our representatives in Washington, D.C., can't you? They've always got our backs! Of course, by now you must know this is leading nowhere good, because who would say that with a straight face? Congress reportedly voted down a bill that would have made it illegal for employers to demand your Facebook and other social media account passwords as a condition of employment. Hmm. Since we, the taxpayers, employ these representatives, does that mean we can also demand their passwords?
This isn't the first time that Congress has ignored the increasing attempts of employers to take a peek into employees' social media accounts. The Password Protection Act 2012 was also not passed.
Doesn't seem like protecting private accounts is high on our reps' list of things to get done. Which means that if your employer asks for your password and you refuse to give it up, you could legally be fired or not hired.
If you think that this couldn't happen, think again. The ACLU tells the story of Robert Collins, a corrections supply officer with the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. His boss asked for his passwords, claiming he was looking for gang affiliations. Ah, that old excuse!
In the past, I wrote that I pretty much wouldn't care if anyone checked my social media accounts, as I barely consider them private. However, I can see how there are plenty of reasons to keep these things to yourself -- for one, what if the boss is a perv who just wants to see who I'm dating? What if the boss wants to use personal information against me, like sexual orientation? What if the boss sees that I bought a new car and then decides if I bought a new car, I don't need a raise? I mean, the possibilities for nefarious use are endless.
Six states have already made this move by nosy bosses illegal. So if you've got something on your Facebook page that you really want to hide from your employers, you might want to consider moving to one of them.
Employers who demand this could be violating various privacy laws, but if you've ever tried to fight being fired -- especially in an at-will state -- you know how hopeless the whole situation is.
Would you give your passwords to an employer who demanded it or quit?
Image via West.m/Flickr