Tuesday, March 20, 2012

May I Have Your Password, Please?

From the audio.  He [Orwell] imagined a world in the grip of fear,

a world of absolute conformity,

of continuous surveillance,

of organized hatred, 

and ceaseless wars.

More job applicants asked for Facebook passwords. (Chicago Tribune, 3/20/2012)

Excerpt:   When Justin Bassett interviewed for a new job, he expected the usual questions about experience and references. So he was astonished when the interviewer asked for something else: his Facebook username and password.

Bassett, a New York City statistician, had just finished answering a few character questions when the interviewer turned to her computer to search for his Facebook page. But she couldn't see his private profile. She turned back and asked him to hand over his login information.

 Bassett refused and withdrew his application, saying he didn't want to work for a company that would seek such personal information. But as the job market steadily improves, other job candidates are confronting the same question from prospective employers, and some of them cannot afford to say no.

In their efforts to vet applicants, some companies and government agencies are going beyond merely glancing at a person's social networking profiles and instead asking to log in as the user to have a look around.

"It's akin to requiring someone's house keys," said Orin Kerr, a George Washington University law professor and former federal prosecutor who calls it "an egregious privacy violation." 

Should employers be allowed to ask for your Facebook login?  (The Atlantic, 2/19/2011)
Expert says policy requiring employee to give employer Facebook password is bad idea. (Wolters Kluwer)

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