Facebook Passwords, Information Need to Be Kept Private
NEWS ANALYSIS: U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Richard Blumenthal say asking for social media passwords may be a violation of federal law. For job applicants and employers, this could open a potential legal minefield.The recent practice of employers and would-be employers requesting Facebook and other social network log-in information is probably a violation of equal employment laws, say two Senators. U.S. Senators Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) have asked the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the practice of requiring job applicants and employees to provide their social network log-in information as a condition of employment. The senators sent a letter to the EEOC regarding the practice. Schumer and Blumenthal noted that some jobs require comprehensive background checks, but that access to private information on social media sites could give those employers information that they are not permitted to request under federal law, such as race, religion, marital status or pregnancy status along with other protected information.
The senators also wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder asking the Justice Department to investigate whether the practice of requesting Facebook credentials violates the Stored Communications Act (SCA) (18 U.S.C. Â§ 2701) of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (18 U.S.C. Â§ 1030(a)(2)(C)). In their letter, Schumer and Blumenthal asked Holder to issue a legal opinion as to whether requesting and using prospective employees social network passwords violates federal law.