Maryland Passes Bill To Keep Social Media Private from Employers

There has been quite a tiff as of late regarding the desire for employers to require job prospects to hand over social media passwords.

Honestly, it’s somewhat hard for me to believe that anyone actually had the stones to think this kind of practice was a good idea in the first place. I mean, I get the intent, but that doesn’t make the idea any more palatable.

Fortunately the powers that be in the state of Maryland have seen the light so to speak, and have passed a bill prohibiting the practice in the future. Mashable reports

If you’re a resident of Maryland, you no longer have to fear a potential employer asking you to hand over the keys to your Facebook or Twitter profiles before giving you a job.

Both Houses of the Maryland General Assembly voted on a bipartisan basis to pass a bill blocking the practice on Monday afternoon.

Employers will still be able to view public posts online, but can’t demand access to private material as a condition of employment.

This result stems from the incident that occurred within the corrections systems of the state.

Division of Corrections Officer Robert Collins took a leave of absence from his job after his mother died. Upon returning to work, he found his job filled, and thus had to interview for a comparable position. During that process, Collins was asked for his social media passwords.

Despite his unease, he agreed. Soon afterward, he turned to the ACLU for help, which brought national attention to Collins’ case. Now, he’s glad to see the privacy-protecting bill has passed.

It’s often the jaw dropping kind of “what the heck?” incidents that bring these issues to light. Looking a little past the social media aspect, I am still a bit concerned that this guy took a leave of absence and came back from that leave with no job! Geesh, what kind of a leave is that?

But I digress. I hope that more states step up and create this barrier of protection for social media users. I get that the information could be valuable in cases where people are showing their dark side in the social media world but is uncovering those few (and their views are judged subjectively, by the way) worth the privacy and freedom of the many? Not to me.

What about you? What do you think?