The Password Protection Act

You might want to check and see if your House member is on this bill…if not, you may want to prod them. Currently being circulated by the offices in question:

Join Your 58 Colleagues

Protect Your Constituents’ Online Privacy

Cosponsor H.R. 5684

The Password Protection Act of 2012

Current Cosponsors (58): Heinrich, Perlmutter, Rush, Cooper, Capps, Kissell, Cicilline, Holmes Norton, Lewis (GA), Luján, Rothman, Schiff, Rangel, McGovern, McCollum, Hastings (FL), Ryan (OH), Jackson (IL), Loretta Sanchez, Gonzalez, Davis (CA), Himes, Courtney, Levin, Lipinski, Cohen, DeFazio, Schrader, Connolly, Peters, Keating, Ellison, Carson, Garamendi, Braley, Pingree, Murphy (CT), Holt, Speier, Hinchey, Hahn, Richardson, Meeks, Grijalva, McNerney, Welch, Tsongas, Carney, Richmond, Yarmuth, Deutch, Blumenauer, Sutton, Clarke, Bonamici, Kucinich, Filner & Stark

           Endorsed by: US PIRG, Public Citizen, National Consumers League, The Application, Developers Alliance, AccessNow, Progressive Change Campaign Committee,

Consumers Union and Consumer Federation of America

Dear Colleague:

Recent news reports highlight an unsettling increase in the number of employers asking prospective employees to hand over usernames and passwords to their personal, private accounts on social media websites, such as Facebook. 

Requiring access to prospective or current employees’ password-protected accounts as a condition of employment is an unreasonable violation of employee’s privacy.  Further, requiring prospective or current employees to provide login credentials to employers compromises the security of the employees’ personal data.  Employees who provide employers access to their email or social networking sites may face illegal or unfair discrimination based on information found on those sites.

That’s why we introduced H.R. 5684, the Password Protection Act of 2012, bicameral legislation that enhances current law to ensure that compelling or coercing employees into providing access to their own private systems and data–including social networking sites, online email accounts, or personal data storage systems–is prohibited:

·        No Compelled or Coerced Disclosure.The Password Protection Act prohibits an employer from forcing prospective or current employees to provide access to their own private systems as a condition of employment. Examples of prohibited actions include forcing employees to—

o   Hand over their private passwords to personal Facebook or Gmail accounts.

o   Log into a password-protected account so that the employer may browse the account’s contents.

·        No Retaliation.The Password Protection Act prohibits employers from discriminating or retaliating against a prospective or current employee because of a refusal to provide access to a password-protected account.

·        Narrow Remedy.The Password Protection Act only prohibits adverse employment-related actions as a consequence of an employee’s failure to provide access to their own private accounts. It preserves the rights of employers to—

o   Permit social networking within the office on a voluntary basis.

o   Set their own policies for employer-operated computer systems and accounts.

o   Hold employees accountable for stealing data from their employers.

·        Enforcement.Employers that violate the Password Protection Act may face financial penalties only.

No one should have to sacrifice their privacy in order to secure or keep a job. 

If you are interested in cosponsoring the Password Protection Act of 2012 please contact John Blair (Rep. Heinrich) at john.blair@mail.house.gov or Haley Nicholson (Rep. Perlmutter) at haley.nicholson@mail.house.gov.

Sincerely,

MARTIN HEINRICH            ED PERLMUTTER

Member of Congress             Member of Congress

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