Want a job? What’s your password?

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What would happen if someone walked into a company for a job interview and the interviewer asked them for their Facebook password? This is occurring more and more in the work place. Give up the information and share all personal information. Deny access and risk losing the job because it may appear there is something to hide. Giving the account information could be considered invasion of personal privacy.

In California and Illinois, the National Conference Of State Legislatures passed a law on January 1 stating that it is illegal for employers to request social networking passwords or non-public online account information from employees or job applicants.

Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, and New Jersey are also considering social media privacy laws. Bradley Shear, a lawyer in Maryland, stated that if an employer needs to have a place for posting information or to get a hold of an employee, then they need to have a separate account that is used for professional reasons only. This would help separate personal from public information but not fully eliminate the problem.

Job applicants need to be very careful about what is posted on social networks. Employers may still review a person’s account information that is freely available on the internet, so anything inappropriate can still be damaging to a potential employee.

A member of the legislative counsel for the A.C.L.U., Chris Calabrese, spoke for the counsel. “We think that everyone has the right to a private life, and just because your private life is accessible in some way... it doesn’t mean it’s right for them to look at it.”

Asking for personal account information has become an issue for potential as well as current employees. Every post or comment on social network such as Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Tumblr,

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