photo: michael tercha/chicago tribune
The Illinois House passed a bill today that would allow employers to request access to employees' personal web accounts used for business purposes, like Facebook and other social networking sites. As if people aren't paranoid enough already.
To be clear, the bill does not mandate that employees must supply the information, and no one could be fired or penalized for noncompliance. The idea is to allow employers the opportunity to investigate employee misconduct, protect trade secrets, and prevent workplace violence by monitoring online activities. Even without it being mandatory to share your login and password, you could imagine a boss putting a subordinate under some uncomfortable pressure.
"It states that an employer who is provided with specific information—perhaps which could cause a disturbance or even some type of active workplace violence—it gives them the ability to perform their due diligence to try to identify the source of some potential outbreak of harm," Republican Rep. Jim Durkin said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Durkin sponsored the measure.
The bill, which passed by a 68-36 margin, now heads to the Senate. So, if it's enacted, you can still protect your personal information—and your Farmville profile—by simply declining an employer's request. If that day comes, we recommend you do it politely.