147 Should employers be able to demand personal data?


Tom Garrett 3 years, 10 months ago

If Republican Arizona Senator Rick Murphy has anything to say about it no employer will be able to demand, or even ask for, any personal information about your social networking connection. Nor will an employer be able to even ask a potential employee such questions. And no sanctions will be allowed when employees refuse to give such information.

SB 1411 will make it illegal if passed, but will have no effect on companies banning the use of their equipment for private use.

But guess who opposes the bill?

A lobbyist for Microsoft and Verizon who says his clients have "concerns'' they want addressed. "We believe in privacy,'' he told lawmakers. "Consumers have a right to privacy and especially those job applicants, when they apply for a job, they have a right to privacy." But he adds, "We also believe that employers have the right to know what's going on in their workforce.''

Not by demanding personal information like passwords and screen names, the bill says.

And you say?


Tom Garrett 3 years, 10 months ago

In case you are wondering what this bill is all about, this is it:

While at a computer at work, some people do do personal things instead of doing what they are paid to do. That is, of course, wrong if it is done during working hours. However, there are some people who will do things like sending a text message to a kid at school while they are on their lunch hour, using the computer at which they are sitting. And there are people who do things like checking the weather report. And other things I'm sure you can think of.

So, while there are some people who no doubt are doing things they shouldn't be doing, the line between that and doing something that is perfectly normal can be a very fine one. For example, when I worked for Mesa Schools in the Instructional Technology Department I used to have several schools that were "mine," 42 of them for a while, in fact. Because I used to drive to those schools (in my own vehicle) as a part of my job, I routinely used to check the weather report during bad weather.

What it comes down to is that companies now look upon the computer the way they used to look upon the phone. There was a time back when phones came out that companies would not allow people to make or receive personal phone calls, but I can't imagine any company objecting to that in 2013. They would, of course, object to people hanging onthe phone all day isnead of working, but to deny a mother the opportunity to check on her kids during the day, for example, would be seen as ridiculous.

To do some things, as you know, requires the use of a password, and almost anything requires a screen name or "handle." What companies want is the right to demand all of your screen names and passwords so that they can check their machines to see if anyone has been on the internet.

This bill will stop that. It will even make it illegal to so much as ask the question.

So. Where do you fall on this issue? What would you tell the legislators? For that matter what would you tell companies?

And why do you think Microsoft and Verizon are getting involved?


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