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house Bill H.R. 5107

Do Employers and Schools Need to be Barred From Asking Workers and Students For Their Social Media Passwords?

Argument in favor

It’s wrong for employers or schools to ask workers or students for the passwords to their social media or email accounts, and if they take adverse actions against individuals that don’t give them up they should face punishment in court.

David's Opinion
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10/26/2016
No employer or educational institution should be able to do this. This type of invasion of privacy is horrific. The fact is that the email correspondence and Facebook messaging of today is the equivalent of paper mail in the past. It's a federal crime to read another persons mail without permission and it is illegal to coerce someone to do so. If an employer or school isn't allowed to read your mail or threaten you with repercussions if you don't allow them access... how is social media accounts and email any different?
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Loraki's Opinion
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10/26/2016
You want someone's password? GET A WARRANT! Otherwise, keep your nose out of their business!
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Jared's Opinion
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10/26/2016
Your employer doesn't need your personal details. They get the labor they pay you for, but everything else is none of their concern
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Argument opposed

Employers and schools should be able to verify that their workers or students aren’t representing their organizations poorly on social media. They shouldn’t be banned from asking for passwords, if a person is willing to provide it, why not?

GraysonMask's Opinion
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10/27/2016
I find it concerning if any company would want to search through the private information of employees or students. But unless the schools are being funded by state or federal governments, we shouldn't interfere with the negotiation between employee and employer. Let the companies face the social costs, such as loosing quality employees and harming public relations.
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Frankie's Opinion
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10/27/2016
If you don't want to provide your password, no one can force you to work for such an employer or attend such a school. Let the market take care of the problem: employers and schools asking for passwords deter quality employees and students, which doesn't do employers or schools any good, so there's little incentive to continue the practice even without government involvement.
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SherryTX's Opinion
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10/26/2016
This is none of the Govt's business. I don't agree with the practice and I would never give them my passwords. I wouldn't ever work for a company so intrusive. Furthermore, I believe this is beyond the scope of the govt's authority.
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What is House Bill H.R. 5107?

This bill would prohibit employers and schools from requiring or requesting that current or prospective employees or students provide their passwords to private email or online accounts, including social networking sites. They would be prohibited from firing, disciplining, discriminating against, denying employment or promotion to employees or students who refuse to provide that information, file a complaint, or initiate legal proceedings.

Employers that violate these prohibitions would be subject to civil penalties, the Dept. of Labor could bring injunctive actions, and U.S. district courts could provide legal or equitable relief including employment, reinstatement, promotion, and payment of lost wages and benefits.

This legislation would apply to colleges, universities, and local educational agencies. They wouldn’t be able to deny admission, suspend, expel, or take other disciplinary actions against students who decline to provide their passwords.

Impact

Current or prospective employees or students who would otherwise be asked for the online passwords; employers and schools; and district courts.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 5107

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) introduced this bill to protect users of social networking sites from having to give their personal information to employers, schools and universities:

“Email and social media have become central to our everyday lives. As such, these accounts and their contents are deeply personal. No one should be forced to surrender their privacy or risk losing their job, a potential job or their place in school. This legislation would constitute a major step forward in providing needed clarity on what must remain personal and private.”

This legislation has the support of three Democratic cosponsors in the House.


Of Note: With the proliferation of social media platforms, some employers and schools have begun asking current or prospective employees or students for access to their social media or email accounts, as doing so isn’t illegal under federal law. However, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures 25 states have enacted social media privacy laws that apply to employers, 15 have applied them to schools, and Wisconsin’s also applies to landlords. Every state that has a law applying to schools also has a law that applies to employers.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: Flickr user AndreasPisza)

AKA

Social Networking Online Protection Act

Official Title

To prohibit employers and certain other entities from requiring or requesting that employees and certain other individuals provide a user name, password, or other means for accessing a personal account on any social networking website.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Education and Labor
    IntroducedApril 28th, 2016
    No employer or educational institution should be able to do this. This type of invasion of privacy is horrific. The fact is that the email correspondence and Facebook messaging of today is the equivalent of paper mail in the past. It's a federal crime to read another persons mail without permission and it is illegal to coerce someone to do so. If an employer or school isn't allowed to read your mail or threaten you with repercussions if you don't allow them access... how is social media accounts and email any different?
    Like (113)
    Follow
    Share
    I find it concerning if any company would want to search through the private information of employees or students. But unless the schools are being funded by state or federal governments, we shouldn't interfere with the negotiation between employee and employer. Let the companies face the social costs, such as loosing quality employees and harming public relations.
    Like (7)
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    You want someone's password? GET A WARRANT! Otherwise, keep your nose out of their business!
    Like (59)
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    Your employer doesn't need your personal details. They get the labor they pay you for, but everything else is none of their concern
    Like (52)
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    The fact that a person has a password is a clear statement: Private, Keep Out!
    Like (35)
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    This is a clear infringement of privacy. If students and employees are speaking poorly of their organizations you have the options to either take it to heart and make the necessary changes or to remove them when the situation calls for it. Otherwise, we all have a freedom of speech to express ourselves - and the organizations we serve - as freely as we please. Of course, we may face consequences, but I will be damned if someone tries to silence me.
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    It's none of their business what you do in your private life.
    Like (13)
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    If it's not stuff they already made public it's not their business.
    Like (12)
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    Everybody has a right to privacy.
    Like (11)
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    Finally something liberals and conservatives can agree on! There's hope for the future
    Like (11)
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    This is the equivalent of requiring prospective employees to give a copy of their house key to the employer.
    Like (11)
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    Is this America or North Korea?
    Like (7)
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    Seriously, why is this even a question? ALL passwords should be kept private. Then again if an employee/student is ignorant enough to give this information they should get what is coming to them.
    Like (6)
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    That's tantamount to also giving them the keys to your house. They can view the public stuff like anyone else. Beyond that, it is no ones business except the person or people you are interacting with. So as others have said about this, if it is that important then get warrant.
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    This just opens doors for many other privacy intrusions and sets a dangerous precedent.
    Like (5)
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    Freedom still exists in this country, right? Hillary's not president yet...
    Like (5)
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    No one should be allowed to ask me for my social media passwords so they can check up on me! I still have some freedoms even though it's few and far between!
    Like (5)
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    Privacy matters! Social media is used for individual correspondence, not just public postings, and this is invasive.
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    What do educators and businesses have to be afraid of from students and their employees. Nice way to have the hammer over employees and students instead of good recognition. Snowden already proved Uncle keeps a good eye on us. So why should employers and educators want our private info. No, no, no!
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    Wow, this is actually a thing? Get what information you can from my interview, references, and credentials. No one has the right to ask for people's private log-in information. I can't even believe this is actually a problem.
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