Delaware General Assembly Passing Social Media Privacy for Employees

Apparently some employers have tried to bully applicants into giving social media passwords. I guess some applicants were too weak kneed to stand up for themselves in something clearly unreasonable so they demand government does it for them. House Bill 109 remedies this situation by enshrining into law your right to control your social media login information. Your social media account is your private property not your employers. If your employer wants to see your public profiles to see the image of the people they are hiring to the public, that is fine. Trying to pry into private lives and those of a prospects friends and family is not. Would you give your online banking passwords? Of course you would not. I cannot imagine this being a big problem. I have never once heard of an employer or employee complaining, but someone has or it would not be on its way to becoming law. In these times of economic fear, we have to set standards of behavior to prevent the unscrupulous from taking advantage of the weak minded.

The law actually concerns me to a degree because I am concerned that one may have fewer rights than exist. Currently, you can tell someone go fly a kite if they ask for it. The law gives this exception “Nothing in this section shall affect an employer’s rights and obligations under the employer’s personnel policies, federal or state law, case law, or other rules or regulations to require or request an employee to disclose a username, password, or social media reasonably believed to be relevant to an investigation of allegations of employee misconduct or employee violation of applicable laws and regulations, provided that the social media is used solely for purposes of that investigation or a related proceeding.” Sorry, but if you want that, you need to go to court and get it as part of discovery. Does this give the right to an employer to put in their handbook that they have a right to review your private accounts and non public posts by demanding your private login information?

Sometimes when we rush to pass a law, we forget details. In truth, a better law would be to apply this to everyone. A much bigger problem are “friends” or “lovers” stealing or coaxing this information then misusing it. You then get stalkers and identity theft. A broader law would take care of the 5 employers doing this and protect tens of thousands who have the broader problem. Establish the right to privacy of your passwords in general and you protect everyone. Sure add a section that deals specifically with employment, but deal with the bigger problems of cyber theft, cyber stalking, and cyber identity theft. It appears our General Assembly is slightly out of touch with the real issues facing Delawareans.