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Laws protect workers and students

California Governor Edmund Brown Jr. recently signed a new law into effect designed to protect the privacy of social media users. Governor Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 1844 and Senate Bill 1349. These new laws will prevent universities and employers from requiring that applicants give up e-mail or social media account passwords. 
Over the last year, there has been a significant increase in the number of job applicants and college students being forced to surrender passwords to social network sites such as Facebook and others to be considered for acceptance to the college or to be offered a job. Privacy advocates argue that this is a clear violation of privacy.
Governor Brown said, "The Golden State is pioneering the social media revolution, and these laws will protect all Californians from unwarranted invasions of their personal social media accounts."
Assembly Bill 1844 prohibits employers from demanding usernames, passwords, or any other information related to social media accounts from employees and any other job applicants. The bill also bans employers from firing or disciplining employees who refused to divulge this information. The law does not provide protections for passwords or other information used to access employer-issued electronic devices.
Senate Bill 1349 adds a similar privacy policy for post-secondary education students for social media. The bill stipulates the public and private institutions can't require students, prospective students, and student groups to disclose usernames, passwords, or other private information for social media. Senate Bill 1349 passed without opposition in the legislature.
Supporters of Assembly Bill 1844 said that it is a common sense measure needed to clarify questionable business practices.


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By ebakke on 10/3/2012 10:25:11 AM , Rating: 2
you have to move to another state where either it isn't popular, or isn't legal for them to ask. Is that OK? Should you be forced to move ...
In this scenario, no one has forced me into anything. I still have free will and I still get to make a decision. I will have to make a value judgement. Life is full of situations where our list of options doesn't include our most ideal choice. But the choices aren't simply "give passwords" or "move". I can make a case to the employer why I'm not comfortable with that, but understand their desire to ensure I'm a low-risk employee. I can ask if something else would accomplish their goal - something that's more acceptable to me. I can fight their request through the legal system if I feel I was unfairly targeted, or if I felt I was punished in their attempt to force me to breach my agreement with another party (in this case, Facebook). (Admittedly, I'm no legal scholar - no idea if I'd have a case there). I can start my own business. I can choose a different job that doesn't have that requirement. I can do cash-only jobs for people. Or, yeah, I can move. In short, I have many options and just like every other decision in my life, I will have to choose which works best for me. I will have to decide which values are most important to me, and which I might compromise. I may have to choose an outcome that isn't my favorite, or most desirable, but no one forced that upon me.
Is it OK that they either have to give up that information to provide for themselves/their family, or work at a job where they can't make ends meet?
I suspect the frequency of not being able to find any job other than one that requires your online credentials is stupidly low. But yes, if you have no savings, no job prospects, no income, and mouths to feed - you damn well better do whatever it takes to support yourself. This seems equivalent to, say, taking a high risk job like coal mining. If you need the money, and you feel you have no other choices, do it temporarily. Take the risk/sacrifice in the short term until you can do something different/better.
So if it becomes the norm to require that information, and most people are willing to give up that information... and you can't get a job that provides you with the living you need to support yourself and your family... is it OK to have a law like this then?
I still feel the law is unnecessary. First, I shouldn't have children unless I can already support them. But second, the exact same argument from above, applies now. I still have choices.
Or are you willing to move to another country just so you can keep your ideals?
Well, that's an option, I suppose. But as you state, that's not exactly a clear cut solution. That, just like accepting a job requiring your online credentials, has some good things and some bad things that come along with it. So, as with everything else, I'd have to evaluate the good and the bad to figure out if it would be a decision that makes sense for me.

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