There's been an ongoing debate over whether or not employees can be forced to give employers their access to their Facebook accounts. Maryland banned the practice. Facebook came out and said people should never give anyone their password. Now a group of Democrats have today introduced legislation called the Password Protection Act of 2012 to prevent employers from forcing employees and potential employees to give up information from their social networking accounts, reports ZDNet

The act, written with advice from legal experts and tech companies, will do the following:

  • Prohibits an employer from forcing prospective or current employees to provide access to their own private account as a condition of employment.
  • Prohibits employers from discriminating or retaliating against a prospective or current employee because that employee refuses to provide access to a password-protected account.
  • The Password Protection Act only prohibits adverse employment related actions as a consequence of an employee’s failure to provide access to their own private accounts. It preserves the rights of employers to:
    • Permit social networking within the office on a voluntary basis.
    • Set policies for employer-operated computer systems.
    • Hold employees accountable for stealing data from their employers.
  • Employers that violate the Password Protection Act may face financial penalties.

The legislation would also prohibit employeers from seeking access to employee's personal computers, smartphones, and email accounts. Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal introduced the bill to the Senate today, while Colorado Democrat Representative Ed Perlmutter and Congressmen Martin Heinrich will introduce an identical bill in the House. 

We hope this goes through. 

[via ZDNet]