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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Oregon Lawmakers Consider Social Media Privacy Measures


SALEM, Ore. – Oregon lawmakers think employers should just log off when it comes to asking workers for their Facebook passwords. A House panel debated a measure Friday that would prohibit companies from demanding access to their employees' social media accounts.

The idea surfaced after national news reports of people being forced to turn over their Facebook passwords as a condition of getting or keeping a job. It’s not clear whether that’s been happening in the Northwest.

But Mike Sullivan, who represents timber industry workers, says it's just a matter of time.

"We think that when we're home and we're off the clock, that we are not working for the company."

But some lawmakers were quick to point out that depending on your privacy settings, there's nothing to stop an employer from viewing what's out there for everyone to see.

Republican representative Jim Weidner has this advice, "Kids, if you're listening, because I know you tune into us all the time: Watch what you're posting on Facebook and be smart."

The measure banning employers from asking for passwords would apply to more than just Facebook. A similar measure is also moving through the Washington legislature.

On the Web:

Oregon Bill: HB 2654 - Oregon Legislature 
Washington Bill: SB 5211 - Washington Legislature