Senators introduce Social Networking Privacy Protection Act

Senator Bruce Starr Senator Betsy Close Senator Tim Knopp

Oregon State Capitol 900 Court Street NE Salem, Oregon 97301 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Michael Gay February 7, 2013 503.986.1950

Senators introduce Social Networking Privacy Protection Act

Salem, OR — Senator Bruce Starr (R-Hillsboro), Senator Betsy Close (R-Albany/Corvallis) and Senator Tim Knopp (R-Bend) have introduced legislation to safeguard the privacy of individuals on social networking sites.

“Social networking has blurred the lines of personal privacy,” said Starr. “This bill will hopefully set some 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 social networking accounts like Facebook. Even if access is not required, often times it is strongly suggested, 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 or email 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,” said Close. “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 conduct a traditional background check,” said Knopp. “But to make access to someone’s personal online information a condition of employment just isn’t fair.”