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UPDATE: Walker signs bipartisan web privacy bill


UPDATED Tuesday, April 8, 2014 --- 6:00 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Gov. Scott Walker has signed into law a bipartisan measure that prohibits bosses from asking workers or job applicants for access to their social media accounts.

Walker signed the bill privately on Tuesday.

The push to pass such laws is gaining momentum nationally as employers ask for workers' user names and passwords for their personal accounts. Some employers say they need such access to protect proprietary information or trade secrets. Others contend it's an invasion of privacy.

The measure found broad bipartisan support in the Wisconsin Legislature.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Tuesday, November 12, 2013 --- 2:36 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- As concerns mount over the privacy of personal information online, the Wisconsin state Senate has passed a bill making it illegal for employers to ask workers or job applicants to turn over their passwords to social media accounts.

The proposal unanimously passed by the Senate Tuesday would place the prohibition on any employer, educational institution or landlord.

Employers could still monitor what is done on a company computer, restrict which websites can be viewed and conduct an investigation into any unauthorized sharing of confidential information through social media sites.

The movement to pass such laws is gaining steam across the country as employers have asked for employees' user names and passwords to personal accounts.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED Tuesday, November 12, 2013 --- 5:31 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- As concerns mount over the privacy of personal information online, the Wisconsin state Senate is scheduled to vote on a bill making it illegal for employers to ask workers or job applicants to turn over their passwords to social media accounts.

The bill with broad bipartisan support is up for a vote Tuesday in the Senate.

The proposal would place the prohibition on any employer, educational institution or landlord.

Employers could still monitor what is done on a company computer, restrict which websites can be viewed and conduct an investigation into any unauthorized sharing of confidential information through social media sites.

The movement to pass such laws is gaining steam across the country as employers have asked for employees' user names and passwords to personal accounts.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED Tuesday, November 5, 2013 --- 5:45 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A proposal that would make it illegal for Wisconsin employers to ask workers or job applicants to turn over their passwords to social media accounts such as Facebook is scheduled for a committee vote.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a vote on the bill for Tuesday. The measure had public hearings in both Senate and Assembly committees earlier this year.

The bill has broad bipartisan support.

The movement to pass such laws is gaining steam across the country as employers have asked for employees' user names and passwords to personal accounts. Some employers argue they need that access to protect proprietary information or trade secrets in order to comply with federal financial regulations.

But others see it as a blatant invasion of employee privacy.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED Tuesday, August 20, 2013 --- 4:52 p.m.

From our news partner, WITI in Milwaukee:

MADISON (WITI) — State lawmakers are considering a bill that would keep nosy bosses out of your personal business. Currently, in the state of Wisconsin, your bosses can force you to give them passwords to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. A proposal at the state Capitol would prevent them from prying into your personal accounts.

“It’s kind of like the Wild West right now. There’s no laws of prohibitions, and ultimately what this bill will do is protect people’s expectations of privacy, but it also provides parameters for businesses and educational institutions to know what they can and can’t ask from people,” Rep. Melissa Sargent (D – Madison) said.

Senate bill 223 would make it illegal for your employer to require you to hand over personal passwords to social media sites.

The bill was introduced at the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor.

“Haven’t been a lot of problems, reported problems, but it does surprise me that apparently in this state, you could ask an employee to turn over that sort of information. It shouldn’t be required. I suppose the one employer who would be the biggest problem would be the government itself,” Sen. Glenn Grothman (R – West Bend) said.

There is bipartisan support for the bill, and both the ACLU and the Wisconsin business community are supporting it, but the bill would also apply to schools. The Association of School Boards has raised concerns.

“In the context of investigating student misconduct or even staff misconduct, that the bill might have the unintended consequence of hampering investigations or causing schools to be relying on less than the best evidence, in those cases which would be more circumstantial evidence, witness testimony, rather than the actual internet content,” Dan Rossmiller with the Wisconsin Association of School Boards said.

The bill would still allow employers to set limits on what sites can be viewed on company time and equipment.

“You can still have your rules, your employee handbook what they can and can’t be doing when they’re working for you,” Rep. Sargent said.

The bill could come up for a vote within the next month.

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Posted Monday, August 19, 2013 --- 10:31 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A proposal that would make it illegal for Wisconsin employers to ask workers or those applying for a job to turn over their passwords to social media accounts like Facebook is moving forward in the Legislature.

A Senate committee has scheduled a hearing on the bill Tuesday. That comes after an Assembly committee heard the measure in May.

The bill has broad bipartisan support and it could be taken up by the full Legislature as early as next month.

Fourteen states now have laws that prohibit requesting or requiring an employee, student or applicant to disclose a user name or password for a personal social media account. Eight of those laws passed earlier this year.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


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