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Senate committee OKs restricting employer access to social media

By Anita Hofschneider

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 1:18 a.m. HST, Mar 21, 2013

The state Senate committee on technology has approved a bill to prohibit employers from requiring employees or job applicants to provide access to personal social media accounts.

The senators voted Wednesday to move forward the measure, which already passed the House.

The American Civil Liberties Union says the bill would ensure legal privacy protections keep pace with changing technology.

Barbara Duarte, a nurse, testified previously that employees at Maui hospital were written up for comments made on Facebook in 2011. She says the bill would protect free speech.

But the Chamber of Commerce says the issue isn't a prevalent problem in Hawaii.

The Maui Police Department also opposed the bill.

California approved a similar law last September to prohibit employers from demanding access to employees' social media accounts.

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