Tag Archives: Privacy

Illinois Law Prevents Employers from Demanding Social Network Passwords from Employees and Job Candidates

A new law makes Illinois the second state to prevent employers from demanding social network passwords as Governor Pat Quinn recently signed legislation – House Bill 3782 (HB 3782) – that protects the right to privacy of current employees and job applicants by making it illegal for employers to request social network account information such as usernames or passwords to gain access to their accounts or profiles. The full text of the law, which takes effect January 1, 2013, is available here: Illinois House Bill 3782 (HB 3782). Continue reading

California Bill SB 1384 Would Authorize Consumers to Place Security Freezes on Consumer Reports

While existing law allows California consumers to place security freezes on their credit files maintained by the three major credit reporting agencies Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, new legislation – Senate Bill 1384 (SB 1384) ‘Consumer Reporting Agencies Act’ – would authorize consumers to place similar security freezes on certain other consumer reports containing private financial information. Introduced by State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto), SB 1384 defines a “nationwide specialty consumer reporting agency” and “consumer file” for purposes of California law and authorizes consumers to place security freezes on consumer files compiled and maintained by nationwide specialty consumer reporting agencies. The full text of the bill is here: California SB 1384. Continue reading

Background Screening Firm Criticized for Offshoring Jobs and Personal Data of Americans to Foreign Country

A letter published on the Cleveland.com website criticizes a U.S.-based background screening firm for laying off local workers in the Ohio area in March of 2012 and “offshoring” both jobs and the personal data of American consumers collected for background checks outside of the country. The full text of the letter, written by Katharine Sarlog, a former employee of the company who was recently laid off, is available by clicking here: Katharine Sarlog letter. Continue reading

Larger Background Screening Companies Continue the Move to Offshore Processing of Background Check Reports

According to a report from the Associated Press (AP), a Minneapolis, Minnesota-based Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) that performs employment screening for businesses will close two offices in South Dakota by the end of the year and move those jobs to new sites in Arizona, India, and the Philippines. The AP reports that the company, one of the largest background screening suppliers in the country, says the closings in Aberdeen, South Dakota and Mitchell, South Dakota are due to restructuring and will affect approximately 140 workers. The AP story is the latest case of a large U.S. background screening company “offshoring” the processing of background checks to foreign countries. Continue reading

California Social Media Privacy Act Prohibiting Employers from Asking Employees and Applicants for Passwords Approved in Senate

The California Senate Committee on Education has approved legislation – ‘The Social Media Privacy Act’ Senate Bill 1349 (SB 1349) – that would prohibit employers from formally requesting or demanding employees or job applicants provide their usernames and passwords to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Authored by Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo), SB 1349 would also prohibit public and private colleges and universities from requiring similar information from students. The full text of ‘The Social Media Privacy Act’ (SB 1349) is available at: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/11-12/bill/sen/sb_1301-1350/sb_1349_bill_20120327_amended_sen_v98.html. Continue reading

Inaccurate Criminal Background Checks from Data Brokers that Cost Job Seekers Employment Coming Under Fire

In recent weeks, inaccurate criminal background checks from data brokers containing errors that cost job seekers employment have come under fire on several fronts, including a final privacy protection report from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommending regulations on data brokers, a letter sent to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) asking for a strengthening of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), a report from the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) on inaccurate background check reports, and an article written by safe hiring expert Attorney Lester Rosen, CEO of accredited background check firm Employment Screening Resources (ESR), that is available at http://www.esrcheck.com/articles/NCLC-Report-on-Criminal-Background-Checks-Inaccurate.php. Continue reading

Maryland Passes First Law Prohibiting Employers from Asking Employees and Job Applicants for Social Media Passwords

The state of Maryland has passed the first law in the nation to prohibit employers from asking employees and job applicants for social media passwords. Both Houses of the Maryland General Assembly have approved identical versions of a social media privacy protection bill – Senate Bill 433 (SB 433)/House Bill 964 (HB 964) – that prohibits employers from requesting or requiring employees or job applicants to disclose their user names or passwords to social media websites such as Facebook and other personal Internet sites and Web-based accounts as a condition of employment. (Update: Maryland Governor Officially Signs Facebook Password Law). Continue reading

Federal Trade Commission Privacy Report Recommends Legislation to Regulate Data Brokers

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s chief privacy policy and enforcement agency, recently issued a final report – ‘Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change: Recommendations For Businesses and Policymakers’ – urging businesses to adopt best practices to protect the privacy of American consumers and contains important recommendations regarding data brokers and give them greater control over the collection and use of their personal data. One recommendation in the FTC report, available at http://www.ftc.gov/os/2012/03/120326privacyreport.pdf, is that Congress consider enacting data broker legislation. Continue reading

San Luis Obispo Court Responds to Criticism over Limiting Public Access to Criminal Records by Citing Privacy Concerns

After the recent closure of a public access computer that had allowed searches of criminal and traffic records led to criticism that public information was now less accessible, the San Luis Obispo (CA) Superior Court officials cited “privacy concerns over outdated criminal and victim information” that was “exposed to background checking contractors” as a reason why the Court removed the public computer terminal on March 19, according to a report in the San Luis Obispo (SLO) Tribune, ‘SLO court closes public computer.’ Continue reading

FTC Report on Protecting Consumer Privacy Recommends Businesses Adopt Best Privacy Practices

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued a final report – ‘Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change: Recommendations For Businesses and Policymakers’ – outlining best practices for businesses to protect the privacy of American consumers and give them greater control over the collection and use of their personal data, according to an FTC press release. The FTC also recommends that Congress consider enacting general privacy legislation, data security and breach notification legislation, and data broker legislation. The report, which expands on a preliminary report the FTC issued in December 2010, is available at: http://www.ftc.gov/os/2012/03/120326privacyreport.pdf. Continue reading