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NH Bill Shields Personal Social Media Accounts From Employers

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire's Senate is voting whether to shield Facebook, Twitter and other personal social media accounts from employers.

The Senate votes Thursday on a bill to prohibit bosses from requiring employees or job applicants to disclose a user name or password to personal social media or email accounts. About a dozen states have passed similar laws.

The ban would only apply to the workers' personal accounts unrelated to the employer's business and would not prevent employers from enforcing workplace policies about company equipment.

The bill would not prohibit an employer from obtaining information about an employee or job applicant in the public domain or prevent the employer from investigating whether the employee is complying with securities or financial laws based on the person's personal website used for business purposes.

Last year, six states — California, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan and New Jersey — passed similar laws barring employers from requiring the disclosure of Facebook, Twitter or other account information, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

NCSL reports that legislation is pending in at least 35 states this year including New Hampshire. Arkansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Washington passed laws this year and bills have been sent to the governor in Oregon and Vermont.

Some states have similar laws to protect college students from having to grant access to social networking accounts, according to NCSL.

In their effort to vet job applicants, some companies and government agencies have started asking for passwords to log into a prospective employee's accounts on social media sites. Critics call it an invasion of privacy akin to handing over the keys to the person's house.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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