Michigan Rules That Employers Can’t Touch Facebook Logins

Lansing, MI – Governor Rick Snyder signed a law Friday that prohibits Michigan employers from asking their workers for personal login information for social media networks like Facebook.

The bill also bans schools from collecting such information from students, reports mLIVE.

“Cyber security is important to the reinvention of Michigan, and protecting the private internet accounts of residents is a part of that,” Snyder said in a press release. “Potential employees and students should be judged on their skills and abilities, not private online activity.”

“Let’s get the parameters out there,” said Rep. Aric Nesbitt, who introduced the legislation. “Lets demonstrate there are limits.”

Under the new law, Michigan employers can’t discipline employees or decline to hire job applicants for refusing to surrender social media account information “including user names, passwords, login information, or other security information that protects access to a personal internet account.” Violation of the law qualifies as a misdemeanor, punishable by fines of no more than $1,000.

The American Civil Liberties Union and National Federation of Independent Business supported the bill. Similar legislation is in place in Maryland, an Illinois is considering something comparable.

MSN Now notes the irony that the only large employer who has been criticized for attempting to collect social media information from their workers is the Maryland Department of Corrections. They also quipped that “this law does absolutely nothing” for Michigan’s unemployed population.

The unemployment rate in Michigan is at 9.3 percent.

What do you think? Should employers have a right to access the social media accounts of their workers?