Committee backs social media privacy bill
BATON ROUGE - A bill that would ban employers and school officials from requesting personal online login and passwords of employees or students is working its way through Louisiana legislature.
State House Representative Ted James introduced the bill that passed the House Commerce Committee Monday. It will next be considered by on the House floor.
The bill would prohibit retribution against those who refuse a request for access to their email, Facebook pages and other personal online sites.
"I'm in no way advocating for irresponsible social media users," said James. "If you put something out there that is free for the world to see and your employer has a problem with it, my bill does not seek to address those. Only that sensitive information that can be accessible through having your user name and password."
However, the bill would require employees to cooperate with a company investigation if evidence suggests they have posted proprietary information that could harm the employer.
"Employers are more concerned than ever with the people that they hire," said Social Media expert Whitney Breaux. She calls the bill a clarification for companies who push the envelope.
"When you've got grey area, some people will challenge the line," she said. "They'll step up to it and say hmmm well maybe a can ask or maybe I can't."
The potential law stops employers from getting into your account, but it doesn't stop employers from looking at a page if you visit a site on a work computer or phone provided by your employer.
"This is only your personal account used on your personal devices nothing supplied by your employer," said James.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.