Personal emails, texts win privacy in House vote

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Associated Press

Posted on May 3, 2013 at 1:02 PM

Updated Friday, May 3 at 1:06 PM

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas employers could not compel workers to reveal personal text messages or hand over email passwords under a bill advancing through the House.

Democratic state Rep. Helen Giddings said Thursday her measure gives Texas workers the same social media protections provided in other states. The bill prohibits employers from asking job applicants or employees for passwords to access their Facebook, Twitter or other personal accounts.

Arguments for personal privacy weren't enough to win over every lawmaker. Republican state Rep. Jason Villalba said the bill provides a "safe harbor" for employees to steal proprietary information at the workplace through their personal accounts.

Villalba said the bill would "crush technology companies" throughout Texas.

The bill passed 79-61.

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