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Password Privacy Bill Passes IL House

May 6, 2013

A bill that passed the Illinois House was meant to increase privacy protections for workers’ personal passwords, but it might still let employers access the information.

The bill stops employers from requiring workers or prospective hires to give up personal passwords, though it still allows employers to access personal accounts that have been used for “business purposes.”

The bill doesn't specify what exactly "business purposes" are.

Passwords for accounts used for personal and business uses may need to be disclosed.
Credit Scott Stuntz

The exception was added in an amendment to the bill.

The section reads: "An employer may request or require an employee to disclose any user name and password, password, or other means of authentication for accessing any accounts or services provided by the employer or by virtue of the employee's employment relationship with the employer or that the employee uses for business purposes."

Republican State Representative Norine Hammond of Macomb voted for the bill.

"It strengthens the employer's ability to investigate allegations of theft and other misconduct within the employer's business, but it  also allows the employee their own personal freedom for their passwords," Hammond said.

The bill will next be considered by the Senate.