In a move which adds to the national debate over whether it should be lawful for employers to ask applicants for Facebook passwords — and ends it in Maryland — the state last week became the 1st to ban the practice. Facebook also recently took a stand against employers requiring passwords during the hiring process. Facebook Chief Privacy Officer Erin Egan released a statement, “While we do not have any immediate plans to take legal action against any specific employers, we look forward to engaging with policy makers and other stakeholders, to help better safeguard the privacy of our users.” Melissa Goemann, the legislative director of the ACLU of Maryland weighed in:
“As the story’s gotten more national attention, these situations of other employers throughout the country that are doing this has really come to the surface … So I think we’re really just seeing the tip of the iceberg.”
Other states are considering enacting similar legislation, including: California, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan and Massachusetts. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Chuck Shumer (D-NY) have also joined the debate, calling on the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and US Department of Justice to investigate the practice on the grounds that it is an invasion of privacy.
Is it time for a federal law to ban the practice once and for all?