A politician running to lead the B.C. New Democrats says he is refusing to comply with a requirement of leadership hopefuls to hand over the passwords to their social media accounts.

Nicholas Simons, an NDP MLA who's hoping to run in the leadership race, says he's left that information off his nomination package.

The party's intent is to try to ensure there are no skeletons hidden in candidates' private profiles.

But Simons said he's concerned the request violates not only his privacy, but also the privacy of everyone on his Facebook friends list or anyone who has ever sent him a private message on the service.

He said he's hoping he can work out a compromise with the party, although he acknowledges it could jeopardize his chances of being on the ballot for the April 17 leadership vote.

The party couldn't be reached for comment, but the Liberal party confirms its own leadership candidates weren't required to hand over the same information.

Online privacy expert Michael Geist says he's surprised that a party would make such an invasive request.

If the party is concerned about potential embarrassments, the NDP should instead focus on teaching its members about appropriate online behaviour, said Geist.