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Password Protection Act of 2012: A Good Start Against Employer Snooping

Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Representative Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and a number of cosponsors have filed the Password Protection Act of 2012 in the Senate and House to prevent employers from strong-arming employers and job applicants into sharing information from their personal social networking accounts. The good news is that the PPA is sweeping in scope in that it applies to any situation when an employer coerces an employee into providing access to information held on any computer that isn’t owned or controlled by the employer. The bad news is that it doesn’t provide the full level of necessary protection. The most glaring omission is the lack of coverage for students. In addition, the legislation includes unnecessary exemptions for government employees or employees who work with children under age 13 and whole classes of workers who come into contact with classified information, including soldiers. Further, the legislation doesn’t make clear that states have a role to play.

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