Illinois Employers Lose Right to Demand Social Media Password

Illinois Employers Lose Right to Demand Social Media Password

As the Fiscal Cliff came and went, leaving a definitive deal on government spending to be dealt with within 60-days, there are still many new laws that will impact you in 2013. More than 400 measures were enacted at the State and Federal level in 2012 and will become law in 2013 according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSC).

One the most controversial law change in Illinois is that Employers will no longer be able to demand social media passwords from potential and current employees for their password protected accounts such as Facebook and Twitter.

After some high-profile instances of companies demanded access to employee’s social media accounts, Congress was forced to take a hard look at this practice and did block this new law; however it had no bearing on the laws being enacted on a state level. Illinois and California are the first two states to make these demands for privacy, making it a huge victory for employee rights.

Workers still need to be cautious in what they publish on their social media sites for employers may continue to use  public available social networking information for their benefit. Inappropriate photos and tweets can still hinder your ability to get and keep a job.

Other Illinois laws for 2013 of interest include one where certain guns currently regulated by the state law, including paintball guns, will be excluded from the definition of firearms. Military enactment will also be exempt from some weapon laws. This does not prohibit the purchase of guns in Illinois, of which Chicago had the highest murder rate in the U.S. last year with over 500 shootings.

Sexual Offenders in Illinois will be prohibited from distributing candy on Halloween or playing Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. That’s good news if it can be enforced.

Let’s see what the final deal is on cutting our out of control budget over the next couple months and how it will affect our pocketbooks and economy.


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  • I am so happy for this law. As you do, I still strongly caution people not to post things on social media that could hurt their career (or their relationships or their non-incarcerated status), but the idea that an employer could ask for the passwords is abhorrent. Not only is it a violation of privacy, but it also degrades basic security tenets.

    Unfortunately, passwords continue to be are most common form of electronic authentication. Passwords have a number of weaknesses one of which being too many people do not protect theirs adequately. Creating a culture in which it is okay for an employer to ask for social media passwords would further weaken what information security experts like myself are constantly trying to emphasize: Do not share your passwords with *anyone.* Thank you Illinois for doing the right thing.

  • In reply to Kim Z Dale:

    Thanks for your well thought out comment. I agree that we need to protect our passwords as we do our social security number. I blame companies for sharing our private information with their "client-partners."

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