A group of US lawmakers on Wednesday proposed a bill that would make it illegal for employers or schools to require the disclosure of passwords for social networks such as Facebook.
The bipartisan proposal comes after reports that some firms have required passwords as a condition of employment, or that schools have asked for the information to guarantee enrollment or participation in sports programs.
The lawmakers said the bill, a reintroduction of a measure proposed last year, was aimed at protecting privacy in social networks like Facebook or Twitter.
“The lack of clarity in the law puts individuals in a position where they either have to give up vital, private information, or risk losing their job, potential job, or enrollment in school and involvement in the school’s sports programs,” said Representative Eliot Engel, one of the bill’s sponsors.
“Frankly, when there are no laws prohibiting institutions from requiring this information, it becomes a common practice.”
The proposed Social Networking Online Protection Act would protect people already employed or enrolled, those seeking employment or admittance, and those facing disciplinary action, from being required to disclose their passwords.
The lawmakers said six states — California, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan and New Jersey — have already enacted similar legislation, but argued that a federal bill is needed.
Women in Technology in NIgeria (WITIN) has launched a mobile app competition targeted at Nigerian secondary school girls aged 13 – 18. The organization partnered with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU)’s Girls in ICT Project & Tech Needs Girls project to bring the competition to Nigeria.
Speaking on the launch, WITIN’s President, Mrs. Martha Alade said that girls who participate in the competition will work in teams of 5 to develop mobile applications, conduct market research, write business plans and pitch for funding every Monday.
According to her:” The training culminates in a global competition where teams compete for funding to launch their company and take their app to market. The goal of the program is to promote women in technology by inspiring girls to see themselves not just as users of technology, but as inventors, designers, builders, and entrepreneurs in the technology industry. “The girls are taught life skills such as how to identify a problem, design and test a solution, collaborate with a team, and communicate to different audiences. It reinforces the following academic concepts: digital representation of information, algorithmic thinking and programming, and the societal impact of information and information technology. ”
“The app must solve a problem in the local communities of the girls. This could be a health problem that affects their community, a social problem, or even a lack of a resource. They will learn how to study their competition, identify ways in which they can gather users and earn revenue,” she said.
The winning team will travel to Silicon Valley, California to compete globally on May 1, 2013.
The overall winner is expected to receive about $10,000 in funding and support to complete their apps and release it commercially.