New law protects against snooping bosses - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

New law protects against snooping bosses

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The Personal Online Account Privacy Protection Act prohibits employers and universities from asking for passwords to your social media accounts.  (Graham Ulkins, WAFB) The Personal Online Account Privacy Protection Act prohibits employers and universities from asking for passwords to your social media accounts. (Graham Ulkins, WAFB)
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -  551 new state laws went into effect Friday, and one helps protect you from snooping bosses. Imagine sitting down for a job interview, and your prospective employer asks for your Facebook password. It's increasingly common.

“I feel it is a huge invasion of my privacy, and as someone who is actively looking for a job, if it meant I had the job if I gave up my password, I wouldn’t give up my password,” said job-seeker Maria Morales.

And now you don't have to. The Personal Online Account Privacy Protection Act prohibits employers and universities from asking for passwords to your social media accounts. They also can't fire you for refusing to provide them. Rep. Ted James (D - Baton Rouge) sponsored the bill after a constituent was disciplined for the same reason.

“I think I probably use social media more than anyone else in the Legislature, so I definitely want to keep up. I don't want Louisiana to be the state that's last to do this,” James said.

Louisiana joins 16 other states that now have similar laws on the books, but it took two years to get it passed here. James said there's an exception if you're using social media on a company or university-owned device.

“We reworked the legislation this year and we cleared it up, so we have allowed universities or employers to request that information and if a person voluntarily gives that information then they won't be penalized,” he said.

Chelsey Laborde is Social Media Director at Fuse Brands and the Administrative Chair of Baton Rouge's Social Media Association.

“I think it's a good law to put into place,” she said. “But I still think that it doesn't change how you should think about your social profiles.”

Laborde advises clients to be themselves on social media, keeping in mind that any post can live forever online.

“That comment you made on a public page, when searching your name (it) might come up on Google search results, so just know that everything on social media is public to some extent, no matter your privacy settings or not,” she said.

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