Legislation Reintroduced to Protect Employee Social Media Passwords

May 31, 2013

With new laws continuing to proliferate at the state level, legislation has been reintroduced in Congress to make it a federal crime for employers to require employees to provide passwords or other access to a social networking account.  The Password Protection Act of 2013 (H.R. 2077), introduced by Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), would expand the computer fraud provisions of the U.S. criminal code to include employers engaging in such activity.  Certain exceptions are provided, such as where SEC restrictions applicable to brokers, dealers and investment advisers apply.  In introducing the bill, Perlmutter said, "Both users of social media and those who correspond with the user share an expectation of privacy in their personal communications.  Without this protection, employers essentially can act as impostors and assume the identity of an employee and continually access, monitor and even manipulate an employee’s personal social activities and opinions.  That’s simply a step too far.”  The bill has 36 cosponsors, including two Republicans.