It's now illegal in California, Illinois and Michigan for employers and schools to ask for Facebook and other social network passwords to screen applicants
California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill in September that made it illegal for employers and educational institutions to ask for worker or applicant's email or social media passwords. The Social Media Privacy Act
was signed on Sept. 27 but took effect on Jan. 1.
Other states such as Illinois, Michigan and Delaware have similar laws.
"The bill recognizes that our online lives deserve the same kind of privacy that we have in our offline lives," said Chris Conley, a policy attorney with the ACLU of Northern California told KQED
. "Our social media accounts, which is what this bill protects, contain information about our friends, about our relationships, about our activities; where we go and what we do."
Facebook has also stressed
that demanding one's password is a violation of its terms of service and suggested that it could "initiate legal action" against companies who do so.
Either way, employers and colleges asking for those passwords to Twitter or Facebook had overstepped the boundaries of personal privacy. They needed to be stopped and we're thankful that, at least in the state of California, it's now illegal.