New Senate bill aims to protect workers' online privacy
MANILA, Philippines – A new bill filed in the Senate wants to keep employers from forcing employees to give up their social media account passwords.
Senate Bill No. 2681, filed by Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago on Wednesday, March 11, "seeks to bar employers from compelling employees or even applicants to divulge their passwords for online accounts such as Facebook and Twitter."
The senator noted that online accounts should also be protected by the constitution. She cited Article 3, Section 3 of the Constitution, which said, "The privacy of communication and correspondence shall be inviolable except upon lawful order of the court, or when public safety or order requires otherwise, as prescribed by law."
The bill, if enacted into law, "applies to all online accounts which allow users to create, share, and view user-generated content, including photos, blogs, videos, audio recordings, instant messages, electronic mail, or other information."
Based on Santiago’s proposal, employers cannot do the following:
- Require or request employees or applicants to disclose passwords or other credentials that may be used to access their online accounts
- Compel employees or applicants to add the employer or an employment agency to their list of contacts associated with a social media website
- Compel employees or applicants to access a personal social media account in the presence of the employer, so that the employer may view the contents of the personal social media account.
Employees and job applicants will be protected, as those who do not grant access to their personal accounts would not be punished for protecting their privacy and hiring requirements should not require applicants to open up their online accounts to scrutiny.
Of the bill, Santiago explained, "Most people have social media accounts for sharing personal insights and storing personal information. They deserve the same statutory protection against invasion and abuse of their privacy on the internet and social media." – Rappler.com
Password protection via Shutterstock