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Illinois legislature passes bill to protect privacy for social media websites

Illinois employers might not be able to ask employees or potential employees for their passwords to websites like Facebook and Twitter for much longer.

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Illinois employers might not be able to ask employees or potential employees for their passwords to websites like Facebook and Twitter for much longer.

A bill awaiting the governor’s signature would make it illegal for employers to ask for personal account information for social media sites.

The Illinois Senate passed the bill with a vote of 55-0 on Tuesday. The House approved the bill in March. A spokeswoman for Gov. Pat Quinn said the governor will review the bill once it reaches his desk.

State Rep. La Shawn Ford who introduced the bill said he urges Quinn to sign it into law. Ford said he drafted the bill after constituents sent letters complaining employers demanded passwords to their social media accounts during interviews.

Ford said the bill would protect employers from potential lawsuits as well as protect individuals’ right to privacy.

“An employer wouldn’t dare ask for your personal password to your ATM,” Ford said. “There’s no right for employers to ask for anything related to personal privacy.”

If the bill is passed, Illinois will become the second state behind Maryland to have a law protecting an individual’s right to privacy when it comes to social media websites.

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