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Legislation Would Protect Applicants' Personal Information

State Senate bill would prohibit prospective employers from requiring an applicant to provide online passwords to social networking accounts.

A state Senate bill designed to protect job seekers’ personal information online moved one step closer to becoming law.

The Senate Labor Committee moved legislation Thursday that would prohibit a prospective employer from requiring an applicant to provide online password or grant an employer to private social networking or other accounts.

Employers would also be prohibited from requiring an individual to waive or limit any protection granted under the bill as a condition of applying for or receiving an offer of employment.

Violators would face $1,000 for the first violation and $2,500 for each subsequent violation.

Applicants could sue violators for damages.

State Senator Kevin O’Toole is co-sponsoring the legislation. He represents Wayne and the rest of the 40th Legislative District.

“Social networking users have the right and freedom to use their accounts to share private messages with family and friends, express their religions and sexual preferences, and post images and videos with family and friends,” O’Toole said in a statement. “By no means should an employer be able to forcibly access such a broad scope of personal information against an applicant’s will.”

The legislation will now be referred to the full state Senate.

A copy of the legislation has been attached to this article.

— Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Daniel Hubbard at Daniel.Hubbard@patch.com or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

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