Legislation introduced in Dover would make it illegal for an employer to ask for an applicant's social networking user name and password as a condition of employment.

State Rep. Darryl Scott brought forward the bill after hearing stories of employers requiring access to prospective employees' social networking sites, including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  "This is not only an invasion of privacy, but during a time when jobs are scarce and people are looking for work, this is tantamount to an ultimatum - give us your password or you won't get this job."

The Dover Democrat says the same expectation of privacy should be applied to current employees too, and the bill protects current employees as well.  "People should have a reasonable expectation that information they have placed behind a password should not be forcibly coerced."

There's also a companion bill that would protect students at both public and private schools.  The bill does contain a provision that would exempt investigators looking into suspected criminal activity or threats.

Both bills were introduced at Legislative Hall today and assigned to the House Telecommunications, Internet and Technology Committee.  Maryland approved similar legislation last month, which is believed to be the first such action in the nation.