New WI bill could impact social network privacy

By: Kevin Hurd Email
By: Kevin Hurd Email

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- "I kinda feel violated in a way, I wouldn't want anyone to have my password," said Rett Monroe, a student at UW-Eau Claire and daily user of social networking sites like Facebook.

He keeps a careful eye on his Facebook password. He is on the site everyday and on Sunday was surprised to learn there is no law that stops his employer, school, or even his landlord from asking for it.

He says there is a divide between our personal and professional lives -- and both do not need to be public.

"There's different settings and standards and people know how to act when they go to work and school, you know people have their own personal lives and shouldn't be available to the public like that," he said.

"Right now there's no definition of boundaries and I think that's what this law does," said Dana Wachs, Democrat Representative for the 91st Assembly District.

Wachs says as the internet grows and changes, we need to adapt.

"I think there will be some interest in bi-partisan support, I think without it people recognize we will lose privacy rights," he said.

Representative Warren Petryk also echoed those thoughts by phone with us on Sunday. He says he is still reviewing the bill but so far is in support.

"There are things that are things that are no one else's business and should be shared only if an individual says it so," he said. "It shouldn't be legal for an employer to request private information if an individual doesn't want to divulge it."

"I'd be behind that law," said Joel Sweeney, a student at UW-Eau Claire and social media site user.

He says he would stand behind the law, too. He says it comes down to basic privacy rights.

"My Facebook is about me and I don't want anyone to be in my information and seeing what I'm doing on a daily basis, doesn't seem right," he said.

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