Federal Lawmakers Introduce Social Networking Online Protection Act

While some states are taking steps toward protecting workers against current or potential employers from snooping around in Facebook accounts, federal lawmakers are also pushing similar legislation. Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois and and Rep. Eliot Engel, of New York, both Democrats, have introduced a new bill to Congress regarding the matter.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the Social Networking Online Protection Act is authored by Engel and sponsored by Schakowsky, and would “prohibit current or potential employers from requiring a username, password or other access to online content. It does not permit employers to demand such access to discipline, discriminate or deny employment to individuals, nor punish them for refusing to volunteer the information.”

The act would also cover K-12 schools, colleges and universities.

A few weeks ago, Maryland became the first state to officially fight back with a law against the practice of asking for access to Facebook or other social networking while job candidates are on an interview, or already working for an employer.

Schakowsky moves to protect job seekers’ Facebook information [Chicago Tribune]


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  1. AcctbyDay says:

    Good. Now back to fixing things that need fixing even more so. Crippling deficit anyone?

  2. twritersf says:


  3. redskull says:

    Wow, the government CAN do the things they’re elected to do, and quickly. So why the hell can’t it be like this all the time?

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Don’t speak too soon, it hasn’t been ratified yet.

      • the Persistent Sound of Sensationalism says:

        … and who knows what might be tacked on by the time it IS ratified.

      • bluline says:

        From what I can tell, the law does not prohibit an employer from demanding that someone “friend” them. That’s almost as bad as asking for a password.

        • jimbo831 says:

          Easy solution. My Facebook account has a group called “Work Contacts” that have access to virtually nothing on my account. They see the bare minimum. If someone forced me to friend them, well most likely I would tell them to fuck off and find another job. If I were desperate for the job, I would stick them in that group.

        • pythonspam says:

          I would be glad to friend my employer.
          However, they would not be on any ‘List’ that I share anything with.
          Instead, I would make regular posts about how much I enjoy my job even though it requires unpaid overtime and how much I love my boss and everybody else I (dotted-line) report to.

    • eturowski says:

      Two words: election year.

    • RvLeshrac says:

      This isn’t “quick,” this will take at least a year to work through committees, unless it winds up an amendment to a really shitty piece of legislation.

  4. Rod Rescueman says:

    Sadly though since the Democrats introduced it, the Republicans will be against it.

  5. Maz says:

    Government overreach! Employers ought to have the ability to look at your private Facebook details. How else can they get around those laws about asking specifically about age, sexuality and religious status?


    And enjoying the idea of people living in fear of the government when an employer can pretty much decide whether or your not you’re going to work based entirely on how you conduct your private social life.

  6. Dukie9713 says:

    So instead of federal lawmakers making the effort to pass a comprehensive internet privacy law, we get this. BRAVO!

  7. partofme says:

    …at the federal level? Lolz.

    • partofme says:

      HAHAHAHA….. I just found the bill on THOMAS. The Constitutional Authority Statement? “Congress has the power to enact this legislation pursuant to the following: Article 1, Section 1 of the Constitution.”

  8. Press1forDialTone says:

    And the same people who want to snoop around in your private life
    (and your privates) are the same people (the vast majority are RebubliThugs(tm)) who
    want little itty bitty titty goverment, remember?

  9. Jawaka says:

    So the law will prevent an employer from being able to ask for an employee or applicant’s Facebook user name or password. It doesn’t however seem to prevent them from asking the employee or applicant to accept the employer’s Facebook friend request which would also allow them to snoop through their personal info.

    • Corinthos says:

      Thats what privacy settings are for. They won’t know you limit certain post to them unless you tell them.

      • Jawaka says:

        If you lock things down on Facebook to the point that friends can’t see things then it somewhat defeats the point of Facebook. There’s some things in my profile that are there for friends to see that I most certainly wouldn’t want an employer to see. If an employer asks me to friend them then its pretty much the same as them asking for my password.

  10. framitz says:

    Waste of time and effort legislation.

    I don’t need a law to protect me in this situation. I won’t divulge anything so personal to anyone, for any reason, ever. They can ask all they want.

    My employer doesn’t even do drug screening. They do criminal background checks which is all they need.

    No law can fix stupid.

    • ARP says:

      So, when it become industry standard to require this information (like a background check), you’ll happily remain unemployed?

  11. PSUSkier says:

    So… With one hand the government protects the privacy of individuals and with the other they’re trying to push through a bill that would invade it completely. Good job, Congress.

  12. LastError says:

    Like any Washington “act” this one will probably do exactly the opposite of what it says.

  13. LastError says:

    Like any Washington “act” this one will probably do exactly the opposite of what it says.

  14. ganon446 says:

    I’m a right wing nut and I support this bill!!!!!