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Senate OKs bill protecting workers' social network information

May 25, 2012 | 10:27 am

California employers would be prohibited from asking job applicants and workers for passwords to their Facebook, Myspace and other social network accounts under a privacy bill approved by the state Senate on Friday.

Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) said he introduced SB 1349 out of concern that employers are able to access personal information of their employees, including their religion, political views and sexual preferences, on social media sites.

"We don’t want employers to go on a fishing expedition," Yee said. "Within a social media account there is a lot of personal information."

The measure passed on a 28-5 vote, with some Republicans worrying that it could prevent employers from conducting legitimate investigations of allegations, such as harassment through social media sites.

"Sometimes you can prevent an escalation of harassment by intervening early," said Sen. Ted Gaines (R-Roseville). The bill next goes to the Assembly for consideration.


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-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento