New Illinois law bars employers from requesting social media passwords

Aug 2, 2012

Illinois is making it illegal for employers to ask job-seekers to hand over passwords to their social networking accounts. Governor Pat Quinn signed the measure into law Wednesday. 

In their efforts to vet job applicants, some companies and government agencies have been asking to log into accounts on sites like Facebook and Twitter.  Critics, like Governor Quinn, say that amounts to an invasion of privacy.

"Even though we live in an information world -- a very fast-paced world, where we can get information in split seconds -- there's some information, if they belong to the person, that belongs just to the person, it's their choice. If they want to share it, that's their choice. But privacy is a fundamental right" Quinn said.

The Illinois law does allow employers to view public information not restricted by privacy settings on a site.  Several other states are considering similar bans.  And two U.S. senators have asked the Justice Department to review whether such requests are legal.