Hey, legislative candidates! Here's an idea for a short and sweet bill to throw into the hopper when you get to Pierre in January:

FOR AN ACT ENTITLED, An Act to protect workers from invasions of privacy by potential and current employers.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA:

Section 1. That chapter 60-1 be amended by adding thereto a NEW SECTION to read as follows:

No employer may require or request that any current employee or job applicant provide the employer or any third party the username, password, or other non-public information associated with the employee's or applicant's accounts on any Internet site, including but not limited to blogs, Facebook, Twitter, photo-sharing sites, and other social media services. Violation of this statute is a Class 6 felony.

Governor Jerry Brown just signed similar privacy protections into law for Californians. Maryland and a couple other states have taken similar steps, including some protections for college students against such intrusions by their institutions.

No boss has asked to snoop on my various online accounts. My blog and Twitter data are almost all public, but I won't hand anyone my passwords. But in a job interview or performance review, I wouldn't mind a little legal backing from Pierre.

Do South Dakotans deserve protection for their online content from employer snooping? Legislative candidates (and voters!), I welcome your thoughts on boosting our online privacy... but don't say anything you wouldn't want your boss to know about!

[My apologies: this post drew a particular interest from spammers; to reduce crud, I had to delete and blog comments... darn it!]