Tag Archives: Privacy

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information was now less accessible, the San Luis Obispo (CA) Superior Court officials cited “privacy concerns over outdated criminal and victim information” that was “exposed to background checking contractors” as a reason why the Court removed the public computer terminal on March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

Facebook Warns Employers Asking Job Applicants for Social Media Passwords May Expose Businesses to Legal Liability

Responding to an increase in reports of employers seeking to gain “inappropriate access” to social network profiles of job applicants, online social media giant Facebook issued a warning to employers in a recent blog posted on the company website – ‘Protecting Your Passwords and Your Privacy’ – that the practice of asking job applicants for their social media passwords “undermines the privacy expectations and the security of both the user and the user’s friends” and could potentially expose businesses to “unanticipated legal liability.” The blog is available at: http://www.facebook.com/notes/facebook-and-privacy/protecting-your-passwords-and-your-privacy/326598317390057. Continue reading

Dangers of Background Check Firms Offshoring Personal Data of Americans Outside of US Revealed in Whitepaper

To alert U.S.-based employers and job seekers about the potential dangers caused by background check firms “offshoring” Personally Identifiable Information (PII) to countries such as India and the Philippines, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) is offering a new whitepaper on the subject. The whitepaper written by ESR founder and CEO Attorney Lester Rosen is titled ‘The Dangers of Offshoring Personally Identifiable Information (PII) Outside of United States’ and details the hazards of sending PII to counties that are well beyond the reach of U.S. privacy and identity theft laws. The complimentary whitepaper is available at: http://www.esrcheck.com/Download/. Continue reading

Illinois Bill Would Bar Employers from Asking Job Applicants for Social Media Passwords during Background Checks

A bill – Illinois H.B. 3782 – originally introduced last spring and recently taken up by the Illinois legislature’s Labor Committee would amend the state’s ‘Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act’ to bar employers from asking prospective employees for their usernames or passwords to their social media profiles on sites like Facebook or Twitter. Introduced by State Representative La Shawn Ford (D-Chicago), H.B. 3782 would make it illegal for employers to gain total access to social media sites of job applicant’s during the hiring process. The full text of Illinois H.B. 3782 is available here. Continue reading

Massachusetts Data Privacy Protection Law Third Party Provision Takes Effect March 1

The Massachusetts Offices of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulations (OCABR) passed strict data privacy and security regulations ‘201 CMR 17.00: STANDARDS FOR THE PROTECTION OF PERSONAL INFORMATION OF RESIDENTS OF THE COMMONWEALTH’ that went into effect March 1, 2010 to protect the personal information of Massachusetts residents by requiring businesses to have a multitude of safeguards including a comprehensive Written Information Security Policy (WISP). Effective March 1, 2012, any company, in any location, that holds the personal information of Massachusetts residents must amend its existing third party vendor contracts to require compliance with Massachusetts data security regulations. The law is available at:  http://www.mass.gov/ocabr/docs/idtheft/201cmr1700reg.pdf. Continue reading

Background Check Expert Lester Rosen to Be Interviewed on Privacy Piracy Radio Show

Attorney Lester Rosen, a background check expert and founder and CEO of nationwide accredited background screening firm Employment Screening Resources (ESR), will be interviewed by Mari Frank, the host of ‘Privacy Piracy’ and an attorney and Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP), on Monday, February 13, 2012 from 8:00 AM to 8:30 AM Pacific Time on KUCI 88.9 FM Radio in Irvine, California with live audio streaming available on http://www.kuci.org/ (Update: To listen to recording of interview, visit http://www.kuci.org/podcasts/?ShowID=615). Continue reading

European Data Protection Regulation Overhaul Proposed by European Commission

To help individuals enjoy effective control over their personal information, an extensive January 2012 proposal by the European Commission for a new General Data Protection Regulation aims to strengthen and bring into harmony data protection law across Europe. A Communication from the Commission, ‘Safeguarding Privacy in a Connected World – A European Data Protection Framework for the 21st Century,’ is at: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=COM:2012:0009:FIN:EN:PDF. Continue reading