Bill proposes password privacy for employees

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COLUMBIA - A proposed bill would prohibit an employer from asking an employee for his or her online personal information. An applicant or employee would not have to disclose any user names, passwords or other online services information to the employer. 

David Hutchinson, owner of Columbia Computer Center, said it is a lot of responsibility for the employer to request that type of information.

"You have to guarantee the safety of those passports, not only your employee's passports but all of their accounts," Hutchinson said. "You would be responsible if all of that got out and, no matter how slim the chance would be that someone would hack your system, you would be liable for it."

Local store owner Elly Bethune said as a small business owner she does not necessarily need that kind of information from her employees. 

"I think at the end of the day you will probably have to hire someone else to take care and look at all of this information," Bethune said. "You have to wage if that is important to you and cost effective as well as having to monitor people's emails and personal passwords. 

Bethune said if it is worth it to that company than they will have to explain that to its employees.

Hutchinson said he could not imagine a scenario where a corporation would need that kind of information.

"If my employer did require that information, I would be very leery of their motives," Hutchinson said. "Why would you want that kind of information on anyone?"

The bill would prohibit an employee from transferring an employer's proprietary, confidential and financial information to an employee's personal online account without the employer's authorization. 

The measure is not currently on the House schedule.

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