Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Employers Asking For Facebook Password

When posting things on your Facebook page, it is important to use discretion and keep certain things private. I think that most people know this. However, how would you feel if your employer were to have complete access to everything on your page?

According to a report released by the Guardian, it seems as though some employers are asking their employees for the email address and password to their Facebook account so that they can have full access to it. It also seems as though this practice is being utilized by some government agencies, colleges and job candidates.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) first caught the Maryland Department of Corrections (DOC) partaking in these invasive practices. They were asking applicants to log-in to their profiles and show them private messages, pictures, wall posts and other things. Such a practice is called “shoulder surfing,” and although applicants were voluntarily showing the Maryland DOC their information, the ACLU said that it is a major violation of user privacy.

According to the Guardian, the DOC was not only asking applicants for their information. Robert Collins said that they asked for his email and Facebook passwords, even though he had been working for the DOC for years.

"Here I am, a U.S. citizen who hasn't broken any laws, who hasn't committed any crimes, and here I am having a prospective – well, not prospective in my case – an employer, looking at my personal communications, my personal posts, my personal identifiable information," Collins said. "It is an absolute and total invasion and total overreach on their part."

The Guardian also made sure to note that for a user to share their password with someone is actually a violation of the terms that Facebook lays out. Upon registering for a Facebook account, you agree that "you will not share your password… let anyone else access your account, or do anything that might jeopardize the security of your account."

Facebook spokesman Frederic Wolens said, "Under our terms, only the holder of the email address and password is considered the Facebook account owner. We also prohibit anyone from soliciting the login information or accessing an account belonging to someone else."

I know that I would be shocked if an employer asked me to provide them with my password to my email or Facebook account. It’s not that I have anything to hide, but it just seems like such a privacy invasion. Hopefully, the ACLU will get everything all figured out.

Sources: Mail Online - Revealed: How colleges and employers ask for candidates' Facebook and email passwords during job interviews and PCMag - Employers Asking Applicants for Facebook Passwords

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