Many employers are now seeking access to employees’ Facebook accounts before making a hiring decision. Both privacy advocates and U.S. legislators have fought this invasive new protocol. However, the movement for strengthening job-seekers’ Facebook privacy rights has taken a small step back in New Jersey as Governor Chris Christie announced that a proposed privacy bill didn’t do enough to protect businesses.
“Unfortunately, this bill paints with too broad a brush,” Christie wrote. “For example, under this bill, an employer interviewing a candidate for a marketing job would be prohibited from asking about the candidate’s use of social networking so as to gauge the candidate’s technological skills and media savvy. Such a relevant and innocuous inquiry would, under this bill, subject an employer to protracted litigation.”
However, even with Christie’s suggestions, the bill would still protect the rights of Facebook users to maintain access to their private accounts without having to fork over passwords to inquisitive employers. The legislation would carry with it a maximum $2,500 fine for companies that repeatedly violated the law.
Several states, including California, Illinois and Michigan have already passed similar legislation. When the issue of employee passwords became national in the CISPA negotiations, the proposed amendment was blocked. For now, it seems that protecting employees’ social media privacy will have to remain under the umbrella of state law.
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