Privacy wins a battle in Illinois: Your Facebook and Twitter passwords are safe

SHARE Privacy wins a battle in Illinois: Your Facebook and Twitter passwords are safe

Privacy has been on the losing end of many battles lately, but did score a victory today.

As a Sun-Times editorial pointed out back in April, employers around the country have begun asking applicants to turn over personal logins to social media sites so the employer can take a peek at those party photos you thought you’d be sharing only with friends. Or they ask an applicant to “friend” the employer on Facebook, which opens a door in the privacy wall as well.

Applicants can refuse, of course, but it’s a safe bet that doing so would pretty much knock them out of consideration for any job opening.

But job applicants around the state can breathe a little more easily today now that Gov. Pat Quinn has signed legislation that makes it illegal for an employer to ask for social network account information. The law, which started out as House Bill 3782, was sponsored by state Rep. La Shawn Ford (D-Chicago) and Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont). The law is effective Jan. 1.

Quinn signed the law at an event at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

This isn’t just about, say, photos that maybe seemed amusing but would be potentially embarrassing in a job interview. Once employers sneak past the privacy wall, they can learn stuff they could not legally ask for in a job interview, such as an applicant’s religion, medical data, disabilities or age.

The Associated Press reported today that several other states, including Washington, Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey, are considering similar bans. Quinn’s office says Illinois is the second state to have one.

Read today’s Sun-Times story here.

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