ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota lawmakers are joining a sudden move to block employers from asking applicants for their passwords to social networking sites.

The Associated Press reported earlier this month that some public and private employers were seeking the passwords as a way to find out more information about their applicants.

Two Republicans, Sen. Sean Nienow and Rep. Mary Franson, have a bill that would prohibit it.

The bill includes all sites where users can make a profile and control who sees it.

Similar bills have been introduced in California, Massachusetts, Maryland and Illinois.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (35)
  1. Marine 0311 says:

    Human resources departments are a cancer in any buisness.

    1. Carol says:

      HR Departments keep employers on the straight and narrow if they are any good. Privacy is a huge part of the job; social media should not be used for hiring decisions although some of the stuff that is posted should never see the light of day.

      1. Uncle Rico says:

        This title is misleading. You can still scour FB looking for dirt or info on people without their passwords, this would do little to stop that if the user does not have a private profile. Offer some reasoning as to why social media should not be considered Carol? Employers are allowed to discriminate against candidates on a number of criteria, and I’m to even considering race/ethnicity here. If anything, FB should be fair game, it’s basically an unbiased reference. You can trash companies, employers, politicians, (you name it) on there and cry till you get your “respect;” but as soon as those things can be used against you it should be off limits???? No way, it cuts both ways.

  2. Dan says:

    There is a reason that Privacy settings exist…that way you can keep your professional and personal life separate. If they are so worried about what type of person they are do a criminal background check and do a drug test, that is all the information they need. Anything else on your facebook is not something that should be the grounds of choosing to hire or not to hire.

  3. Password? NO! says:

    Here’s how to get around it until this bill is passed. Deactivate your accounts except for Linkd-In. Once you are employed, wait a bit, and then go back. You can also change your name so that you won’t be found if you can’t wait.

    I will never offer any of my passwords. I can be like a politician and skirt the question with a vague answer like the only social account that I have is Linkd-In. Would you like to look at that?

    1. ez says:

      Why should we have to?

      1. Password? NO! says:

        Just offering a workaround for the time being.

  4. republican says:

    It should be a Federal law. Also, why are they still allowed to ask for Social Security Numbers before hire?

    1. ez says:

      You are not required to provide your social security number. The employer is not prohibited from asking you and you are not required to provide it. How every, most likely they won’t hire you.

  5. EdW says:

    It’s more than just offering your password. Some employers ask you to sign on and then turn the workstation over to them. They don’t get your password but still have access to confidential information.

  6. morgan says:

    Add a protected group like the NAACP to your profile. Give password to Facebook. Blow the interview. Sue their pants of for discrimination. Retire.

    1. Annoying Alice says:

      really NAACP?

      1. Older and wiser says:

        AARP might work, too, but NAACP is better.

  7. G Dog says:

    Republicans do not respect the Constitution. They kneel at the altar of business interests and don’t care if citizen’s have their privacy invaded……unless it happens to them. then they are outraged and somehow twist the argument to vilify liberals.

    GOP=Two faced, political prostitutes

    1. Yup says:

      Why is this a political party issue? I consider myself very liberal, however, this is a bill I will support, no matter which party proposes it. You shouldn’t oppose something just because the “other side” proposed it. If its a good piece of legislation, its a good piece of legislation.

    2. gordy says:

      This bill has bipartisan support. It’s a total commonsense bill.

    3. Bill says:

      G Dog is a political moron. He is filled with partisan hatred and foaming-at-the-mouth bile.

      Too bad the forum doesn’t have an A Hole filter.

  8. Roger says:

    How else can I determine if my potential workforce employees partake in liberal evil deeds such as: devil- worship, domestic terrorism, anti- human, anti- hetero, anti- business, and anti- establishment.

  9. Tim says:

    So if I don’t have a facebook account at all and tell them so does this mean the potential employer would assume that I’m lying to them and not hire me?

    1. HMMMM says:

      The answer your seeking would be yes

  10. Suzi N. says:

    It’s illegal for a potential employer to ask your age, sexual orientation, marital status or whether you have children. But they think they can ask for Facebook passwords with which they would gain access to this information? Seriously? What I do when I’m not at work is none of their business. They are not paying me for my personal time. What I do when I’m not at work is none of their business.

    Employers want so much these days, while offering very little in return. Lower pay, poor benefits, and no long term guarantees. The days of spending a lifetime with the same company, and a comfortable retirement pension are over.

    Corporations have become ruthless, and employees have become mindless sheep. Not me. I’ve got news for anyone interviewing me: don’t ask me for my password, or any other discriminatory, confidential information. I get quite animated when I’m pis sed off.

  11. Tenbears says:

    Tenbears has an uncle named Bill.

  12. Tenbears says:

    Tenbears must insist that all the peoples commenting here reveal their passwords.

  13. Brett says:

    Employers can do all kinds of research on a new hire, criminal background checks, credit reports, resume background, education, previous employers, drug tests, they don’t need to ask for passwords to social media sites.

    The next thing you know, they will ask you to bring in your home PC, to see what’s on your hard drive. In HELL.

  14. Observer says:

    This bill will pass. Why? Because as soon as the super computer being built in Utah by the federal government, and the research in Oak Ridge, TN, into ever faster computer speeds produces another fastest-in-the-world computer, the feds will have the ability to break any encryption from the financial industry and banking records, to personal e-mail. All this is being done under the authority of the Patriot Act. Attorney General Eric Holder recently announced that all data collected under the Patriot Act would now be retained for 5 years. Why? So that the data can be sifted through by the new supercomputer and the encryption broken. So, it matters not whether it is illegal for an employer to have your password; ultimately, the government will have it and all American’s lives will be laid bare. There is a reason the Patriot Act isn’t spoken of any more.

  15. Dale Gribble says:

    Job creators need to be sure that they aren’t employing terrorists, criminals or other liberals. Only someone who deeply hates America would refuse to comply with a legitimate request for a Facebook password. What are these people hiding???

  16. Rick says:

    When in an interview and you get asked for password, ask them for theirs. Better yet suggest they get re-trained in interviewing.

  17. christine says:

    So this requires a bill?? Our elected officials are actually going to spend time drafting legislation, debating and voting on this? What a WASTE of time and money when there are other more important issues.

    Brought to you by two Republican representatives. The party of “smaller government”….lol.

    Do they think people can’t say say NO on their own without government intervention??

  18. desert eagle .50 says:

    Social media sites are a colossal waste of time. They are essentially “anti-social” since people who rely on them shun contact in person and prefer to live their lives alone.

    I am proud to say I don’t have a Faceshmuck or Twithead account.

    1. christine says:

      I agree desert eagle! I prefer to *gasp* TALK to my friends and family; or even SEE them in person. No passwords required. 🙂

      1. desert eagle .50 says:

        And when you see them, have them (and you) turn off the smell phones. It’s a rule at my house with the kids. Proudly, I say I have no smell phone. Specifically.

        1. Death says:

          Suprised you even own a computer. FB & Cell phones R a tool. But, not everyone can operate all tools, or have a use for them.

        2. smith wesson says:

          Where’d you get an olfactory capable phone?

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