A new bill has been introduced in the Illinois legislature that would make it illegal for employers to ask prospective employees for access to their social network profiles.  The bill, H.B. 3782, would amend the Illinois Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act to provide that employers may not ask job applicants for any username, password, or other related account information to gain access to their social networking account or profile. 

Illinois is only the second state to consider such a law.  Earlier this year, a Maryland state senator introduced a bill that would have banned employers from demanding access to website login credentials from not only job applicants but also, unlike the Illinois bill, current employees as well.  However, the legislature adjourned before taking action on the bill.  The Maryland bill was prompted by the ACLU’s objection to the alleged practice of the Maryland Division of Corrections, prior to the introduction of the bill, of requiring access to social networking logins from certain employees and job applicants.  The ACLU claimed that the Department’s practice was unlawful under the federal Stored Communications Act as well as state law. 

State laws are not the only possible impediments to employers’ access to social networking login credentials.  Social networks’ terms of use also may be implicated.  For instance, Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities prohibits users from sharing their passwords or letting anyone else access their accounts.  Similarly, LinkedIn’s User Agreement requires users to keep their password secure and confidential and not permit others to use their account.