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Imagine this for a second: You walk into your next job interview, sit down and the employer asks you for all your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare and Tumblr passwords. This is a requirement for the job, the interviewer says.

What would you do?

The Seattle Times today wrote about Washington Senate Bill 5211 that would prohibit employers from requesting social media passwords as a condition of employment or continued employment.

The bill defines a social networking site as “an internet-based service that allows individuals to construct a public or semipublic profile within a system created by the service; create a list of other users with whom they share a connection within the system; and view and navigate their list of connections and those made by others within the system.”

Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey and California have already passed a similar bills. California, Illinois, Maryland, and Michigan laws apply to employers, while California, Delaware, Michigan and New Jersey have laws that apply to academic institutions.

Currently, there are 21 states that have introduced or have pending legislation about this issue. Last April, H.R. 5050 was introduced to the House of Representatives but was never enacted.

It’s key to note that in section 4.8 of Facebook’s Terms and Conditions, the social networking site explicitly states that:

“You will not share your password (or in the case of developers, your secret key), let anyone else access your account, or do anything else that might jeopardize the security of your account.”

Under section 5.7, it states that:

“If you collect information from users, you will: obtain their consent, make it clear you (and not Facebook) are the one collecting their information, and post a privacy policy explaining what information you collect and how you will use it.”

So there’s that. What’s your take? Vote in the poll below:


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