New legislation introduced to Congress today seeks to prohibit employers from requiring employees to provide access to personal email accounts, social networking profiles, and other private data as a condition of employment. Introduced by a team of democrats led by Senator Richard Blumenthal, the Password Protection Act would institute financial penalties for employers that discriminate against current or prospective employees who refuse to offer up personal login information. The legislation would not, however, prohibit employers from setting usage policies for company-issued computers.
The bill follows a report published by the Associated Press in March, which detailed its investigation of employer policies requiring applicants to provide access to their Facebook account during the interview process. Shortly thereafter, Senator Blumenthal announced that he was drafting legislation outlawing the practice.