Maryland Looks to Protect Facebook Passwords

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Maryland could soon become the first state to ban employers from requesting Facebook passwords from job applicants.

The bill easily passed through the state's legislature earlier this month. Now, Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley must decide whether to sign it into law.

When the legislation was introduced, it was the first of its kind. Now, at least seven other states have introduced similar bills.

Bradley Shear, a Maryland-based social media attorney, said giving employers access to password-protected information violates people's privacy and hampers technology that only thrives when users feel their information is secure.

"There's a whole generation of future leaders where they're going to be our elected leaders, our judges, our lawyers, our business people," Shear said.

"Do we really want all those people to think it's okay for the government to see our private content without any warrant or subpoena or anything like that?" he asked.

The issue came about as a result of voluntary social media screenings for Maryland correctional officers. Leaders said the screenings were to weed out possible illegal activity and gang affiliations among those working in jails.

A review last year found that seven candidates were rejected in part because of information found on their social media profiles.

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