On politics in the Golden State

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Lawmaker wants to bar bosses from demanding Facebook, Twitter data

March 27, 2012 |  2:16 pm


A California lawmaker wants to make it harder for employers to snoop around job applicants’ Facebook pages, saying it is an unwarranted invasion of privacy.

State Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) introduced legislation Tuesday to prohibit employers from formally requesting or demanding  that workers or job applicants provide their social media user names and passwords.

Yee said  some businesses and colleges are asking job-seekers, workers, and students for their Facebook and Twitter account information, which can be used in background checks on job applicants.

“It is completely unacceptable for an employer or university to invade someone’s personal social media accounts,” Yee said. “Not only is it entirely unnecessary, it is an invasion of privacy and unrelated to one’s performance or abilities.” His bill would also extend the restrictions to universities.

The proposal is  drawing concern from the business community, which has complained in the past about over-regulation.

"There are just so many restrictions on small business owners that they are at the point where they don't want to add employees,'' said Betty Jo Toccoli, president of the California Small Business Assn. "Anything like this causes them to say they are going to downsize.''


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-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

Photo: Facebook users are among those who would be covered by a proposed ban on employers seeking information on workers' social media accounts. Photographer: Paul Sakuma / Associated Press