Maryland Bill Would Outlaw Facebook Probes - NBC4 Washington

Maryland Bill Would Outlaw Facebook Probes

Bill protects employees



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    LONDON - JULY 10: In this photo illustration a girl browses the social networking site Facebook on July 10, 2007 in London, England. Facebook has been rapidly catching up on MySpace as the premier social networking website and as of July 2007 was the secondmost visited such site on the World Wide Web. Started by 22 year old Harvard dropout Mark Zuckerberg, the website is responsible for 1% of all internet traffic and is the sixth most visited site in the USA. (Photo Illustration by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

    Should your boss -- or future boss -- be allowed to demand access to your Facebook and other social media accounts?

    Sen. Ron Young, a Frederick Democrat, says no. And the American Civil Liberties Union agrees.

    In fact, the ACLU says the Federal Stored Communications Act and its Maryland counterpart protect Americans from being forced to provide such information.

    Still, it happens.

    MD Man: Employer Demanded Facebook Password

    [DC] MD Man: Employer Demanded Facebook Password
    A Maryland man said he was forced to give his employer full access to his Facebook page while re-certifying for his job.
    (Published Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011)

    That’s why Young introduced a bill on Tuesday that would prohibit employers from requiring employees or job applicants to disclose user names or passwords for social media websites.

    It would also prevent them from threatening to take or taking disciplinary action against employees who refused to disclose the information, according to a report in the Frederick News-Post.

    The FNP further reports:

    Young was made aware of the issue when the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland called on a state department to stop demanding passwords from personnel.

    In a case brought to the attention of the ACLU, Robert Collins, a supply officer at the Patuxent Institution in Jessup, was going through a re-certification process after taking a personal leave for less than a year. The three-year state employee was asked for his Facebook login information as part of the process, and understood it to be necessary to continue his employment.

    "I think that's really probing into personal business way too much, and I think that it ought to be against the law," Young said.

    After the ACLU brought the matter to light last month, the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services agreed to suspend and review the practice. The department handles hiring for three correctional agencies -- the Division of Correction, Division of Pretrial Detention Services and the Patuxent Institution.

    To read more about Collins's story,

    click here