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What is SNOPA?

Social Networking Online Protection Act is the new bill introduced by Eliot Engel (NY-D) and Jan Schakowsky (IL-D). It is the first legislation in Congress that takes up the concern of pre-employment screenings by Facebook. The bill intends to deem this practice as an illegal act.

 

What will happen if SNOPA is Signed Into Law?

The employers would be banned from requiring their employees to provide confidential information including passwords and other login details to their social networking accounts.

 

If SNOPA takes the form of law it would mean a civil penalty of $10,000 to any employer who violates it.

 

This is what Congressman Engel said in a statement regarding SNOPA:

We must draw the line somewhere and define what is private.  No one would feel comfortable going to a public place and giving out their username and passwords to total strangers.  They should not be required to do so at work, at school, or while trying to obtain work or an education.  This is a matter of personal privacy and makes sense in our digital world.

 

What Engel has said is valid and has found support of many. Privacy is not a matter of privilege but it is a right. Facebook’s privacy policy instructs users to never divulge their login information to any individual or organization. However, there is currently no law prevalent in the United States or internationally that ensures enforcement of this policy.

 

Coming few months may witness introduction of some new laws pertaining to cyber security and privacy. SNOPA is currently leading the way and it may also become one of the first American law that would define privacy on social networking websites.

 

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