From the Office of State Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 12, 2012
CONTACT: Jennifer Saenz
(512) 463-0120 office
(512) 497-9411 cell

Senator Hinojosa To File Legislation Protecting Personal Privacy Of Online And Social Media Passwords

AUSTIN — This upcoming legislative session, Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa intends to file legislation that prohibits an employer from asking current, former, and prospective employees for passwords to personal social media accounts.

With the recent rise in social media use, many employers have begun reviewing prospective and current employees by viewing what is on their public Facebook, Twitter or other social media profiles.

"It is important to protect personal privacy. Although it may seem reasonable for employers to want to see what kind of people they are hiring or employing by looking at their public social media profiles, this does not mean they have the right to gain unrestricted access to personal social media accounts," stated Hinojosa.

A growing number of states are considering similar legislation, and Texas needs to keep pace with the protection of an individual's personal privacy. Under the legislation, an employer will still be allowed to view the information a user determines to be "public," however, they will no longer be allowed to request access to information not shared publically and meant to be personal.

"If an individual wishes to keep certain personal information private, that is their right. If an employer or potential employer were to gain access to private information, it is possible that personal beliefs could lead to discrimination," Hinojosa added.

Senator Hinojosa also intends the bill to disallow employers from requesting passwords to online discussion forums, personal email accounts, and mobile applications.

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