Santiago wants employers barred from accessing workers’ social media accounts
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago has filed a bill prohibiting employers from compelling employees and applicants to provide access to their social media accounts.
Santiago, in filing Senate Bill 2681, pointed out that under the Constitution, the privacy of communication and correspondence “shall be inviolable except upon lawful order of the court, or when public safety or order requires otherwise, as prescribed by law.”
“Any evidence obtained in violation of this or the preceding section shall be inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding,” she said, citing Section 3, Article 3 of the Constitution said.
Santiago said the prohibition in her proposed measure aims to defend the fundamental right to privacy of each person.
“With many laws providing for the protection of physical property, communication and correspondence, there is a gap in the law with regard to privacy online,” she said in explaining her bill.
As electronic media technology allows for widespread and accessible internet connectivity, the senator said, personal information and property are no longer confined to physical forms.
“Most people have social media accounts for sharing personal thoughts and insights and storing personal information that they may not want to divulge to the public at large. People deserve the same statutory protection with regard to the invasion and abuse of their privacy on the internet and social media,” she said.
“One way that these may be invaded is when employers compel employees or applicants for employment to divulge passwords to their accounts for whatever purpose. This is an invasion of privacy and must be prohibited,” Santiago added.
Under the bill, it would be “unlawful employment practice” for an employer, among others, to:
Require or request an employee or applicant for employment to disclose or to provide access through the employee’s or applicant’s user name and password, password or other means of authentication that provide access to personal social media account;
Compel an employee or applicant for employment to access a personal media account in the presence of employer and in a manner that enables the employer to view the contents of the personal social media account that are visible only when the personal social media account is accessed by the account’s holder’s user name and password, password or other means of authentication;
Take, or threaten to take any action to discharge, discipline or otherwise penalize an employee for the employee’s refusal to disclose or to provide access through, the employee’s user name and password, password or other means of authentication that are associated with a personal social media account, to add to the employer to the employee’s list of contacts associated with a social media website or to access a personal social media account; and
Fail or refuse to hire an applicant for employment because the applicant refused to disclose or to provide access through, the applicant’s user name and password, password or other means of authentication that is associated with a personal social media account, to add to the employer to the applicant’s list of contacts associated with a social media website or to access a personal social media account.