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ACLU of Missouri Supports Password Protection Bill


SB316 protects the right to privacy, free speech for students, employees and tenants across Missouri  

The ACLU of Missouri supports Senate Bill 316, which protects the constitutional right to privacy by ensuring that schools, employers and landlords are not forcing Missourians to reveal their social media passwords.

“This bill is vital to Missouri’s ability to keep up with emerging technology,” said bill sponsor Sen. Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia. “Missourians shouldn’t have to give up their right to privacy or free speech because they’re a student or employee.”

SB316 prohibits schools, employers and landlords from punishing a student, potential student, employee, candidate for employment, or tenant for refusing to reveal their password.

Password privacy legislation bolsters Missouri’s commitment to constitutional rights as technology evolves.

“This legislation is a commitment to the constitutional rights of all Missourians,” said Jeffrey Mittman, Executive Director of the ACLU of Missouri.  “We would never think it’s OK for an official to casually look through an employee or student’s diary, mail or photos. This bill ensures they cannot do the 21st century equivalent.”

A social network password may expose a lot of information about a job applicant, including age, religion, and ethnicity. Demanding this password opens up the possibility for discrimination based on this information. It also increases the potential for discrimination-based lawsuits against employers.

While the bill offers protections for personal accounts of employees, students and tenants, it does not does not inhibit an employer’s ability to do a background investigation and access all public information about the employee.

Delaware and California have similar laws that protect students. Illinois, Maryland and California have laws that including protections for employees.

Read the bill:

About the ACLU of Missouri: The ACLU of Missouri preserves and expands the constitutional rights and civil liberties of all Missourians as guaranteed in the Missouri and U.S. Constitutions, with a focus on the Bill of Rights, the first ten Amendments.