MA Senate approves online privacy bill for job applicants

BOSTON (WWLP) – The social media options are endless; you have Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, the list goes on, but more employers are asking new and existing employees to hand over usernames and passwords.

“Corporate employers argue that they have a legitimate interest in knowing what they’re employees are saying about them, what types of conducts their employees are engaged in,” said State Senator Gale Candaras (D-Wilbraham).

The Massachusetts Senate passed a bill Tuesday afternoon that would prohibit businesses and schools from requiring an applicant to disclose their log-in information.

“I don’t think it’s my job to be monitoring them in a personal way by accessing their personal codes or personal passwords. I think that goes a little bit too far,” said State Senator James Welch (D-West Springfield).

The bill also bans decision makers from rejecting applicants who do not provide their usernames and passwords. Disclosed or not, a tweet, Facebook post, or YouTube video can become viral in a matter of hours, and lawmakers urge people to be cautious of what they put on social media.

“You’ve got to understand that there’s going to be repercussions from the content that you put out there and so you really have to try to be cognizant of what you’re doing at all times,” said West Springfield Representative Michael Finn.

In order for the bill to become law, legislators have until the end of the month to get the bill to the Governor’s desk.

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