COLUMBUS — Employers and schools would be blocked from forcing applicants and students to disclose passwords for personal social media accounts under legislation being considered in the Ohio House.
HB 424 is aimed at protecting intrusions into Facebook, Twitter and other online accounts of individuals applying for jobs or to attend educational institutions.
“If someone is looking for a job or an education, they should, under Ohio law, be comfortable that their personal life will stay private,” Rep. Heather Bischoff (D-Blacklick), a primary co-sponsor of the bipartisan legislation, said in testimony submitted to the House’s Commerce, Labor and Technology Committee.
The bill, which had its first hearing last Wednesday, would not stop potential employers or schools from conducting searches of public websites for information about candidates. It would also allow them to require passwords for devices or online accounts provided to their workers at company expense.
Violators of the proposed law changes could face criminal charges or lawsuits from affected individuals.
Bischoff said in testimony that the bill is not designed to hurt businesses or stop them “from properly vetting employees. What it does is establish what is within their right to research ... and what is considered private with regard to social media.”
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