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Democratic Congressman Ed Perlmutter  (Source:
In a final vote of 236 to 184, the amendment was put to rest

A new Facebook user protection amendment that would stop employers from asking for applicants' social networking usernames and passwords was rejected in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The amendment was proposed earlier this week by Democratic Congressman Ed Perlmutter. The amendment would have added to section H.R. 3309, the Federal Communications Commission Process Reform Act of 2012. This would allow the FCC to step in if employers were to ask for online social networking information.

The following paragraph would have been added to section H.R. 3309:


Nothing in this Act or any amendment made by this Act shall be construed to limit or restrict the ability of the Federal Communications Commission to adopt a rule or to amend an existing rule to protect online privacy, including requirements in such rule that prohibit licensees or regulated entities from mandating that job applicants or employees disclose confidential passwords to social networking web sites. 

However, the proposed amendment failed quickly. In a final vote of 236 to 184, the amendment was put to rest. Only one House Republican voted in favor of the amendment.

The proposed amendment came after a series of complaints from job and school applicants, who were either asked to surrender their usernames and passwords to their social networking sites or asked to log on to these sites in front of their potential employers.

Earlier this month, it was discovered that current employees and applicants to the Maryland Department of Corrections were asked to give their emails and passwords for their Facebook pages to their employer/interviewer. One of the corrections officers, Robert Collins, went to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to complain, and the ACLU ended this practice. However, the Maryland Department of Corrections now just asks employees to log on right in front of them.

The University of North Carolina is another example of an institution that searched social networks for information on those they were accepting. It even revised its handbook to make it so student-athletes must add a coach or administrator to their friends list on their social networks.

"People have an expectation of privacy when using social media like Facebook and Twitter," said Perlmutter. "They have an expectation that their right to free speech and religion will be respected when they use social media outlets. No American should have to provide their confidential personal passwords as a condition of employment. Both users of social media and those who correspond share the expectation of privacy in their personal communications. Employers essentially can act as imposters and assume the identity of an employee and continually access, monitor and even manipulate an employee’s personal social activities and opinions. That’s simply a step too far.”

Social networking-related privacy issues don't end there, though. Earlier this week, an Indiana high school student was expelled for tweeting profanity during non-school hours. Reports say the tweet was posted at 2:30 a.m., which is clearly outside of school hours, but the school insists that the student tweeted the foul language while on school property.

While this particular amendment was shot down, the Republicans agreed to work with the Democrats on new legislation at some point.

Source: Tech Crunch

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RE: Hmm...
By AEvangel on 3/29/2012 1:56:39 PM , Rating: 2
people should just refuse to work for the companies that demand such levels of intrusiveness

That is the key....personal integrity and choice....if you don't like a practice don't solicit the business.

RE: Hmm...
By mindless1 on 3/29/2012 4:16:16 PM , Rating: 5
but the thing is you won't know... you'll go through all the effort to find a potential employer or school, research them to know what they're about and create a good informed impression, apply, wait, go in for an interview... go through all this before you find out they're going to make excessive demands instead of treating your employment like a peer:peer relationship.

Many businesses do not understand this peer:peer arrangment, they feel you essentially sign on to be their slave and obey orders instead of it being quite the opposite, that you agree to nothing more than the normal duties of the position applied for.

Same applies to some companies that don't disclose ahead of time that they require a drug screening, background check, credit check, etc. ANY job requirement should be stated clearly at the start, not after time is invested by either party.

RE: Hmm...
By Samus on 3/29/2012 5:49:34 PM , Rating: 5
Republicans are the biggest group of hypocrites on the planet. They push the idea of small government, but want to control a womans' right to abortion. They want to cut government spending, but still cut billions in taxes to big oil and other oppressive industries that hold back alternative fuel innovations, while gas is still $5.00/gallon here in Chicago.

Now they want to allow employers to invade your privacy. They might as well cavity search you at the door. It's ridiculous we even need an amendment like this in the first place, but its even MORE ridiculous it didn't pass.

Control. Control. Control.

"People shouldn't be scared of their governments. Governments should be scared of their people."

RE: Hmm...
By foolsgambit11 on 3/29/2012 6:42:05 PM , Rating: 3
I think the counterargument there would be that this was a government mandate. The "right to privacy" protects you from government intervention, not this sort of violation of privacy. Libertarians would argue the government shouldn't interfere here - the market will sort it out on its own.

Not saying I agree, just pointing out it isn't hypocritical for them to not support this regulation.

RE: Hmm...
By Manch on 3/30/2012 5:02:47 AM , Rating: 1
I believe in small government. I dont believe in abortion, but I dont believe it's my right to tell a woman what to do. As far as I'm concerned that's between the man, the woman, their creator or their conscience. I do however believe that my tax money shouldnt pay for their personal choice.

As far as oil goes, no I do not think the oil companies should be given tax breaks. I do think our corporate tax structure is to high and it has driven businesses to other countries where its cheaper. I also think that the Dem's stance that drilling is not an immediate solution is bullcrap. They said that 10 years ago, they say it now. If we had been able to drill 10 years ago, we would have enough supply coming out of those taps to help suppress gas prices. I also think blocking the creation of the keystone xl is stupid. Build the fricken pipe already. Compromise! Route it around the aquafier! and build it.

While all of those are subjects we have all argued about on multiple Dailytech articles, NONE of that has to do with employers asking for my facebook password! Stop flinging crap to cloud the arguement!

The government should NOT get involved in this. We do NOT need the government to regulate every little thing that goes on. If they start regulating this, then that will open the door for more regulation on like items.

Here's a simple solution. Either give the employer what they want, delete your FB acct(oh no!), or find another job elsewhere.

Just like people say vote with your wallet, I say do the same thing with your job skills.

Everytime somebody(employers) does something thats distasteful or unfair, Congress doesnt need to get involved.

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer

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