Recently the media has caught wind of a few employers that are asking potential job candidates to provide them with their facebook login and credentials. Supposedly, this gives employers a more personal “look around” at the person they may potentially hire. Positions that have required this breach include Virginia state troopers and North Carolina police officers, and the city of Bozeman, Montana was using it a standard procedure. Is this ethical or necessary? The answer to both is no.
“We don’t think employers should be asking prospective employees to provide their private information and communications just to get a job.…That’s why we’ve made it a violation of Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities to share or solicit a Facebook password.”
The American Civil Liberties Union Legislative Council, Chris Calabrese, stated:
“Congress should pass legislation prohibiting any employer or school from accessing your private social networking information. It’s an egregious privacy violation, comparable to poking around in your house or reading your personal email. In a time when we share so much through new technology, we need clear rules to makes sure that we can keep control of our own information. One of them should be that a password means “stay out” — whether you’re an employer, a school or the government. And end-runs around password protection, like asking an employee to login so someone can take a look, are also unacceptable.”
The ACLU of Minnesota recently filed a lawsuit when a student’s login information was required for an investigation. Connecticut Senator Blumenthal has announced that he is writing a bill that would prohibit this practice.
So if you are looking for a job and your potential employer asks you to give your login, here’s advice from the closing line of the CBS article on the topic: “…if you can afford to, dismiss intrusive job interview questions. You don’t want to work for someone who has such bad judgment.”