Bill To Prohibit Employers Asking For Social Media Passwords Fails In Senate

The North Dakota Senate today voted down HB1455 which would have made it illegal for employers to require that employees provide them with access to social media and email accounts.

The bill was amended in the House to also address digital inheritance rights. These days, a lot of us live our lives online. When someone days, their Facebook or some other online profile may have a significant amount of valuable and sentimental content, such as pictures and videos. Giving people the right to will access to that content to their survivors makes sense. But what was problematic with that provision was an exception for “copyrighted content” which entertainment industry lobbyists got inserted.

As I’ve written previously, that would mean that someone who backed up their legally-owned music and movies – which in the aggregate can be worth quite a bit of money – to something like a Dropbox account wouldn’t be able to will that content to their heirs. Unlike, say, a record or book collection in the “real world.”

But the Senate removed that section from the law through amendment. Still, the full bill prohibiting an employer from requiring or even requesting access to social media accounts failed on a 20-27 vote.

Here’s video of the floor debate:

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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