Senator Bruce Starr (R-Hillsboro), Senator Betsy Close (R-Albany/Corvallis) andSenator Tim Knopp (R-Bend) have introduced legislation to safeguard the privacy of individuals onsocial networking sites from the prying eyes of employers. "Social networking has blurred the lines of personal privacy," said Starr. "This bill will hopefully setsome boundaries, and continue to protect an individual's right to a personal life."Some employers have required job applicants to provide user names and passwords for their socialnetworking accounts like Facebook. Even if access is not required, often times it is stronglysuggested, leaving applicants feeling coerced into surrendering access.Senate Bill 499, the Social Networking Privacy Protection Act, prohibits employers and universities,both public and private, from requiring applicants to turn over passwords to their social networking oremail accounts. Maryland, Delaware, Illinois, and California have passed similar legislation."An employer or university wouldn't ask for access to someone's home or personal diary," saidClose. "Demanding login information for social networking sites is just as invasive, if not more so.An individual's right to privacy should extend to their life on the internet.""Employers would still be allowed to review the public portion of a potential hire's profile or conducta traditional background check," said Knopp. "But to make access to someone's personal onlineinformation a condition of employment just isn't fair."
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