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Facebook Privacy Social Networks Your Rights Online

Why Making Facebook Private Won't Protect You 550

Posted by timothy
from the remember-to-lock-your-cell-against-intruders dept.
itwbennett writes "Facebook's privacy settings, such as they are, don't hold up in the face of prospective employers who demand to see applicants' profiles. In an MSNBC report, Bob Sullivan found that 'in Maryland, job seekers applying to the state's Department of Corrections have been asked during interviews to log into their accounts and let an interviewer watch while the potential employee clicks through wall posts, friends, photos and anything else that might be found behind the privacy wall. ... Meanwhile, on the other side of the barbed wire fence, coaches and administrators are forcing student athletes to 'friend' them in order to monitor their activity of social sites."
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Why Making Facebook Private Won't Protect You

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  • An easy solution (Score:4, Insightful)

    by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @08:06AM (#39286439)
    Never register there, period.
    • Re:An easy solution (Score:5, Interesting)

      by PARENA (413947) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @08:09AM (#39286465) Homepage

      Better solution if you do use Facebook: laugh at the people demanding to see what you're up to and walk away.

      • by AGMW (594303) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @08:21AM (#39286567) Homepage
        How about maintain two FB profiles, one for friends and one 'work safe' one with work colleagues on it. I know several of my friends kids maintain two profiles, one for friends and one for Mum & Dad and it works a treat!

        Of course, you could just ask them to login too, and you can skim through their page(s) whilst they do the same to yours! As others have said, simply tell them you're not on FB (or any of the others) but you are willing to start one up if it is a requirement.

        ... and my personal favourite, ask them to send you a friend request and you'll consider their application!

        • by MoonBuggy (611105) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @08:25AM (#39286615) Journal

          Practically that'll probably work (although it's by no means guaranteed), but it shows tacit approval of this invasive idiocy when the real response should make clear that what they are doing is wrong. Of course, that does assume the ability to walk away from a job opportunity without excessive repercussions...

          • Re:An easy solution (Score:5, Interesting)

            by DrgnDancer (137700) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @08:37AM (#39286737) Homepage

            Of course, that does assume the ability to walk away from a job opportunity without excessive repercussions...

            Therein lies the problem, of course. My first reaction on seeing this was "Right, I'm not taking that job... I'm not even finishing the interview." Then I thought back to a few periods in my life where my ability to live without outside support had been put into serious question by lack of employment; and realized that while I may say that now, there have been times and may be times again where I needed the job. It's easy to be choosey from the relative comfort of a pretty good paying job. I have enough savings now that I'd be fine for several months at least in the event of job loss, so I don't see me being that desperate any time soon. But let's face it. Life's sometimes a bitch. Anything could happen.

            That said, I've held a security clearance, and known people with even higher security ratings; and even the Feds don't go demanding to see your Facebook profile. This shit is ridiculous.

            • Re:An easy solution (Score:5, Interesting)

              by Apothem (1921856) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @08:52AM (#39286901)
              This. A million times this. The fact that employers get away with this and the Feds can't really shows that there is something seriously wrong. Coporations can invade us day and night blatantly, but if you're a federal agency you might need to jump through some hoops first. Since when are corporations allowed to go above the law?
              • Re:An easy solution (Score:5, Interesting)

                by realityimpaired (1668397) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @09:33AM (#39287385)

                Considering that the interview was for work in a prison, perhaps there's another reason?

                If I were hiring people to be peace officers, and asked them to show me their Facebook profile during an interview, I would not hire anybody who accepted and let me look at the profile. If they don't understand that it's wrong to search without probable cause to suspect wrongdoing, then I don't want them in that job.

                Then again, the fact that I think like that would probably disqualify me from being in a position where I'm making that kind of hiring decision....

                • by cayenne8 (626475) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @10:12AM (#39287935) Homepage Journal
                  So...what happens when you tell them you do not have a Facebook or other social website account?

                  I mean, I don't have one, I have no need for one...and I value my privacy.

                  Kind of hard to prove a negative, eh?

                  • So...what happens when you tell them you do not have a Facebook or other social website account?

                    What if they already searched for you on Facebook, found your account, saw your photos (and as soon as you walked into the room: yes, it's you on these photos).

                    So now you not only need to remove any compromising photos before going to an interview, but any photo showing your face.

                    But you can still try to convince them you did have one until yesterday, but then removed it because it was forcing you to use timeline or whatever silly excuse...

                    • Re:An easy solution (Score:5, Informative)

                      by networkBoy (774728) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @11:03AM (#39288773) Homepage Journal

                      I've had one interview where they asked me for access to my private profile.
                      I politely asked why, since I have my profile set to private for a reason (it's for family communication only really).
                      Their response was that they wanted to see if I had posted anything negative about my former employer. I said, no that would be silly, it was prohibited by the NDA. They let it drop at that.
                      -nB

                    • by cayenne8 (626475)
                      Err...but I do NOT have any accounts on Facebook or other social websites....that's the point.

                      I really don't have one.

                      They can search high and low and they won't find me on one...that's the point I was making.

                      What if they don't believe it either?

                      Or...am "I" the only one left in the world now, that isn't on FB ?

                    • Maybe that is why so many people use cat and chicken heads for profile photos.

              • Re:An easy solution (Score:5, Interesting)

                by Dishevel (1105119) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @10:50AM (#39288549)

                Above the law?
                You may like it or not but there is no such law.
                People should move back a bit and remember you do not have a right to work for me.
                The government is currently in the US trying to change that and the California government has so far done a good job of trying to make it a right but really it is not.

                Now I know you want to scream at me and let me know that it is a right.
                Really though it is not. If I had spent 5 years doing 100 hour weeks to build a business I would rather burn it down than put some fucking "club rat" or "thug" where a customer can ever see them. It just is not worth the risk to me. You can go get a job at a club or working with real thugs. Your rights end where they threaten mine.
                Mostly I would never check Facebook profile. Mostly I can tell what type of person someone interviewing is. If I have a question though where I feel that a Facebook check would make me feel better about hiring you .... I just wont fucking hire you.

                • Agreed. (Score:5, Insightful)

                  by Brain-Fu (1274756) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @11:55AM (#39289543) Homepage Journal

                  The right to work is mis-envisioned. Most people who think they have a right to work don't realize that it translates to a requirement to employ liabilities and lose one's business. The bigger issue, though, is that most people see the having of a job as the only means by which they can subsist, and so they consider it an extension of the right to life.

                  We are entering an era of such technological ascendency that very few people must actually work in order to provide for the subsistence of the entire population. Capitalistic values do not work well in such an economic landscape. The fact that civilized governments pay landowners to NOT grow food, in an effort to protect a market, while children go to bed hungry within their own borders, demonstrates the absurdities of this disparity.

                  Of course...people who can't find jobs are not content to just die. They absolutely will turn to crime instead, where they will either:

                  a) take your wealth from you by stealing it, to your detriment, or
                  b) receive free food and clothing, paid by your tax dollars, in jail.

                  We will be providing for their subsistence one way or the other. It would be better, however, if humans could maintain a more enlightened means of solving the distribution problem.

                • Re:An easy solution (Score:4, Interesting)

                  by happyhamster (134378) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @01:04PM (#39290521)

                  You should take yet another step back and recall that you do not have a right to run a business either. You might have delusions that it's a right, but it's not. The very existence of your "business" depends on the society, through the government, setting up the legal framework to run businesses, maintaining law and order, maintaining monetary system, educating workforce etc. With all that infrastructure in place, the society, through government, lets you run a business as long as it's beneficial to society. For example, most businesses employ people, which is beneficial to society, so they are allowed to function. Business owner is allowed to keep some of the profits from the business as incentive.

                  The bottom line is that your "business" is not really yours, but a product of society. If you want to run a business, you better play nice with society and make sure you treat your employees as equals and not some underclass slaves, or you may not be allowed to use the society's infrastructure to run your shenanigans.

            • Re:An easy solution (Score:5, Interesting)

              by Oligonicella (659917) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @08:54AM (#39286925)
              I had one prospective employer ask if I had a FB account. "No. That's just too first grade for me."

              Interesting reaction. He really wanted to ask something, but he kind of shut down in three of four steps and went on to something else.

              No, I didn't take that job anyway. Other reasons. You can always out-wit the PHBs.
              • by nitehawk214 (222219) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @09:29AM (#39287331)

                I had one prospective employer ask if I had a FB account. "No. That's just too first grade for me."

                Interesting reaction. He really wanted to ask something, but he kind of shut down in three of four steps and went on to something else.

                No, I didn't take that job anyway. Other reasons. You can always out-wit the PHBs.

                But did/do you have one?

                I suppose I would answer with a question "Why do you want to know?" (Yeah I know this pisses a lot of interviewers off. I am not one of them, however, I want people to answer my interview questions with another question, it shows they are thinking.)

                If they just wanted to use Facebook as an example for some scenario, I would answer differently than if someone someone wanted to mention their batshit insane policy.

                Regardless if I have x or y social media account, I will respectfully and efficiently terminate any interview where social media contact is an issue. Regardless of the legality or ethics of snooping personal info, I just don't see myself working at a place where that level of pervasiveness is required. As an interviewee I actually ask about personnel policies. Most people do not even know about them until they read the employee handbook (well after they have accepted their offer and started work).

                This is related to companies with the "we own anything you think about while you work here" policy. I worked at a place that got acquired and decided to change the agreement to including a "no side work" policy, and you cannot work in the "same industry within 100 miles any city we have an office (by the way we have an office within 100 miles of every city in your country)" policy. I just flatly refused to sign the new agreement, and informed my coworkers to do the same. The company allowed us to add a grandfather clause on this. And even then they tried suing a group of my friends that left for a competitor.

                I lost track of where I was going with this, except that... "Fuck any company that tries to implement an overreaching employee policy. Especially if it is legal."

            • Re:An easy solution (Score:5, Interesting)

              by kamelkev (114875) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @10:12AM (#39287911)

              > and even the Feds don't go demanding to see your Facebook profile.

              That's probably because they don't need your permission in order to look at your profile. My understanding is that background checks by the FBI include a review of your online profiles - they just do it through a back channel that isn't public.

              I recently interviewed a sysadmin who had no privacy settings on his facebook page. I found this a little troubling because I find innate privacy concerns to be a key attribute of a good sysadmin. When I asked him about this he commented on how routine follow up background checks as part of his current position (which was for a branch of the government) had made those privacy settings a farce to him. They can see the data anyway, so the only person he was fooling was himself.

            • by zzsmirkzz (974536) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @10:34AM (#39288299)

              That said, I've held a security clearance, and known people with even higher security ratings; and even the Feds don't go demanding to see your Facebook profile. This shit is ridiculous.

              Not to mention all of the information the hiring manager can get that they are legally not allowed to ask - like your martial status, whether you have kids, your religion or political views. This is why I would refuse, and I would tell them so, basically, it's illegal and I would report it immediately.

              • Actually, I would not refuse, however, as I was logging in I would tell them that if they did not hire me, I would now be in a position to sue them for discrimination based on them essentially asking for information they are not allowed to request (that of course would be if I had a FB account).
                Your post is why companies doing this is setting themselves up for discrimination lawsuits.
        • by SpzToid (869795)

          If you were to ask for a citation, then I'm too lazy to comply (because we're talking about Facebook after all) but I do believe the Facebook Corporation Terms of Service (TOS) forbid this sort of activity. Your suggestion makes a lot of sense from your own personal perspective, but the Facebook Corporation doesn't care. The Facebook Corporation cares much more about the quality of the DATA for which the Facebook Corporation can (very profitably) charge advertisers.

        • by l3v1 (787564) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @08:34AM (#39286711)
          FB would probably be glad, 1.5-2x "increase" in users :)
        • Re:An easy solution (Score:5, Interesting)

          by pla (258480) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @08:38AM (#39286755) Journal
          How about maintain two FB profiles, one for friends and one 'work safe' one with work colleagues on it.

          Better solution - Maintain a fake 2nd page covered in information about how much you support various federally protected classes to which you may (or may not) actually belong.

          Then watch them squirm when they try to come up with any plausible reason to give the job to the boss' young white Christian nephew rather than to a reasonably qualified older gay Muslim African-American (whether in the "Samuel Jackson" or the "Dave Matthews" sense of the term).

          Asking for access to personal material opens a whole can of legal issues that most employers don't want, and it surprises me any would actively seek to subject themselves to such accusations. Hell, my own current employer actually has a policy banning managers from searching the intarwebs for job applicants, just to avoid these issues.
        • by Pf0tzenpfritz (1402005) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @11:06AM (#39288805) Journal
          Yes. And two bodies. One for work and one with a spine.
      • Re:An easy solution (Score:4, Interesting)

        by MoonBuggy (611105) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @08:22AM (#39286575) Journal

        While I couldn't agree with you more, and wouldn't in a million years be willing to work for an organisation who would do something like that, it's still worth remembering that "choice" for many people boils down to "Give us your password or enjoy another six months of unemployment.". The issue is certainly exacerbated by the fact that plenty of people will roll over in any case, but the coercive element is what really keeps things like this going. That and the moronic managers who actually feel they have something to gain by this kind of thing, anyway.

        The question, of course, is what to do about it? That's where I'm stuck - it is a problem in itself, and an outright ban would solve it (assuming one feels that doing so is within the government's rights), but it would do nothing about the mentality that led here in the first place.

        • There is no need for an outright ban. As others have pointed out, the answers to questions that an interviewer is legally not allowed to ask (how old are you, are you married, what is your religion, among others) are pretty much front and center on most people's FB profile. So, the answer is to start to log on and as you are entering your information, mention that the applicants they do not hire will have the basis for a discrimination lawsuit.
      • by Weezul (52464) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @08:40AM (#39286769)

        You should remind them that accessing another user's account is a violation of facebook's terms of service, even if that user gives them permission, which potentially makes it a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (18 U.S.C. 1030) [metafilter.com], i.e. a felony.

        In addition, there are various other questions that employers cannot ask during interviews because doing so violates federal equal employment opportunity legislation [wikipedia.org], meaning that accessing a user's facebook account opens them up to lawsuits.

        There is however one valid legal use for asking users for their facebook accounts, namely screening out employees who'll create a security risk by being especially vulnerable to social engineering. If an employee will have access to sensitive user or employee account information, then you might reasonable ask them for their facebook account password. If they provide it, you politely tell them they have failed the interview, thank them for their time, and send them home early. If they refuse, then you tell them they answered that question correctly and continue with the interview.

        • by Shavano (2541114) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @08:49AM (#39286873)

          Tell the that's the same as asking to know your age, religion and national origin and you intend to file a claim with the EEOC.

        • by GlobalEcho (26240)

          You should remind them that accessing another user's account is a violation of facebook's terms of service, ... i.e. a felony....

          In addition, there are various other questions that employers cannot ask during interviews because doing so violates federal equal employment opportunity legislation [wikipedia.org]

          It is probably not a violation of the TOS for a job candidate to allow someone to look over his or her shoulder while logging in and surfing. However your point about Equal Opportunity Employment is very interesting.

        • by TheRedSeven (1234758) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @10:45AM (#39288483) Homepage
          This is a common misconception about EEOC regulation. There is no such thing as a "question that employers cannot ask during interviews." (Erm, I guess you are not allowed to ask about disabilities...so one exception.) An interviewer can ask whatever they want. Seriously.

          The only catch is that if they ask something about your race, sex, religion, or national origin, they can't use your answer as a reason to hire/not hire you. So there's really no point in asking the question. But it's not illegal--of itself--to ask the question. It's just pointless and stupid (and risks alienating an otherwise good job candidate, and possibly opening yourself to litigation if the candidate thinks his/her answer was the basis for not getting the job).

          Since I'm going to get a "Citation Needed" tag, here you go: http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/2011/01/10/is-that-interview-question-legal [usnews.com]
    • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @08:11AM (#39286481)
      Simple until a prospective employer asks you to log in.

      "I don't have an account." = Liar. Don't hire him.
      "I don't have an account." = Something to hide. Don't hire him.
      "I don't have an account." = Antisocial, won't work well with others. Don't hire him.

      "I don't have an account." = Has a brain, probably won't follow my instructions unquestioningly and take the blame for fuck ups silently. Don't hire him.

      The only winning move is not to play, and by that I mean walking out of interviews. Yes, easier said than done if you don't have a job, but hey... "They tree of liberty..." etc.
      • by billcopc (196330)

        Yes. Walk out of interviews. People have this fucked up notion that getting a job is some fantastic gift from heaven. No. Employers need you more than you need them. Even fucking Wal-Mart. No people = no profits.

        If your employer can't respect your privacy, they won't respect you at all. Being treated like shit is not worth the $40k salary.

        • by gorzek (647352) <gorzekNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday March 08, 2012 @08:31AM (#39286687) Homepage Journal

          Except an employer doesn't need you. They just need someone. If it's a highly competitive position, they aren't going to give a shit if you walk out--they've got 100 other candidates to pick from, and only a handful might pull the same "I'm not sharing my Facebook info" routine.

          • by glop (181086) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @08:42AM (#39286801)

            Indeed, that's why we need to sue them for discrimination and any other statute that applies.
            We just need one high profile case that just settles and their lawyers will be advising all employers to stay clear from Facebook.
            And Facebook could help: they could update their terms of service to make it a violation of their terms of service to allow people to look at your Facebook page since it invades the privacy of the other users that trusted you.

            Facebook (or Google) has a role here. They can organize the defense of their users. If they don't, I expect people will have a bland Facebook page and do all their fun interaction on some other website that allows nicknames and doesn't let you search by public names...

            • by gorzek (647352)

              I don't think what you are talking about falls under any kind of anti-discrimination law. Privacy law, perhaps. But the US is notoriously lax about protecting people's privacy in just about any context, with the big bold exception of health information.

              I do think employers should be forbidden from examining what you do off the clock, unless they have what you would legally call a "demonstrable need" for such information. Say, for instance, you are a TV news anchor--therefore a recognizable, public individua

        • by DrgnDancer (137700) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @08:48AM (#39286861) Homepage

          No, employers need an employee more than you need them. If you're the only applicant, that certainly gives you an advantage. The chances that you're the only applicant are slim though, and much slimmer for a menial job that anyone can do like Walmart checker. For a highly skilled programmer or senior network/system/database admin position it might be said that the employer needs "you"; for a security guard or cashier's job the employers needs a body. If your body walks out, the next one will probably do just as well. What the article talks is some bullshit, and something should be done, but telling a guy with a mortgage and two kids to just "walk out" on a position when he's unemployed is bullshit too.

          These days I'm lucky enough to be in the pool of people with skills and experience sufficient that employers want "me", not just someone; but I've been in the position of guy who needs a job and needs it now. It's not a fun place to be.

      • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @08:23AM (#39286583) Journal
        On the other hand, someone who assumes that everyone has a Facebook account is probably not someone I'd want to work for. Someone who delegates something as important as communication to a third party with no incentive (financial or otherwise) to act in their interests is probably not someone who is going to make good business decisions. They're likely to pick supplies based on what the salesman says or what everyone else is using rather than actually analysing what is the best tool for the job, for example.
        • Whooooooooooooa, you think social networks have no incentive to act in the interests of their users? What the hell do you think they're for? Have you ever BEEN on a social network?

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Sique (173459)

            The users of Facebook are the advertisers, who get a look at the large database collections. Of course Facebook caters to their needs.

            The ones with the profiles on Facebook are the suppliers of information to be sold to the users.

      • by darjen (879890)

        Sign up on Facebook, add some friends, then simply don't post anything. No comments or status updates. Check occasionally if someone tags you in a picture and remove it if they do.

        If you have been unemployed for 6 months and you really need the job, walking out may not be the best possible option.

    • Re:An easy solution (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @08:12AM (#39286491)

      If it's a checkbox requirement, that won't help. "Don't have an account." "Right. Refused to log into Facebook. And now Google+, please."

      I'm not usually one for regulation, but this seems like an easy one. Employers must not require employees, contractors or applicants to interact with the company through any social networking service with their personal accounts. Employers must not require employees, contractors or applicants to utilize any social networking service with their personal accounts. Employers may require employees to interact with the company and use a company-provided account on a social networking service as part of their regular job. This could easily fit into a fair employment act.

      (I look forward to holes being poked in my prospective law.)

      • by Guppy06 (410832)

        Employers must not require employees, contractors or applicants to interact with the company through any social networking service with their personal accounts.

        That's adorable.

        Now, what if the employer has a "moral objection" to that? After all, employees can always go find another employer if they don't like it, right?

        This is one bill that will never be seen outside of committee.

      • If it's a checkbox requirement, that won't help. "Don't have an account." "Right. Refused to log into Facebook. And now Google+, please."

        I'm not usually one for regulation, but this seems like an easy one. Employers must not require employees, contractors or applicants to interact with the company through any social networking service with their personal accounts. Employers must not require employees, contractors or applicants to utilize any social networking service with their personal accounts. Employers may require employees to interact with the company and use a company-provided account on a social networking service as part of their regular job. This could easily fit into a fair employment act.

        (I look forward to holes being poked in my prospective law.)

        An employer can ask to pull your credit, interview your friends and family, interview neighbors, give you a polygraph, administer a drug test, to make sure you are not at risk to be put in a compromising position, we even demand that our politicians submit their tax documents to us. This has been going on for a long time with little push back, now when an employer wants to see who your friends are to make sure you don't have gang affiliations before you become a corrections officer, this is over the top. I

        • by Sancho (17056) *

          An employer can ask to pull your credit, interview your friends and family, interview neighbors, give you a polygraph, administer a drug test, to make sure you are not at risk to be put in a compromising position

          Hmm. http://www.dol.gov/compliance/guide/eppa.htm [dol.gov] disagrees.

          I think we'll eventually see restrictions on pulling credit reports and asking for service credentials for most employers. It will become a fairly big issue in the future, as credit scores plummet due to the mismanagement of the economy (for the credit reports) and as social media becomes even more commonplace.

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      Which leads to the next question: What do those same employers do if you say "I'm not on Facebook"?

      • by gorzek (647352)

        You're either a liar, a paranoid lunatic, or socially crippled. Either way, they don't want you.

        • by l3v1 (787564)
          So, that means I shouldn't have a job. But I do. You shouldn't always take all the crap that's thrown at you.
          • by gorzek (647352)

            Well, I was just viewing it from the perspective of your typical HR dunce. :) "What do you mean, you don't have a Facebook account? Is something wrong with you??"

    • This. I no longer feel sorry for the privacy violations of facebook users.
    • There are certainly excellent reasons to never touch Zuckerburg's kool-aid; but that isn't really the core of the problem here:

      Facebook is one stop shopping for the petty snoop; but the problem(in this context, there are other contexts, with their own problems) is the number of petty snoops who, de facto, have enough power over you to force you to use your own credentials to defeat whatever trivial privacy barriers get in their way. Facebook makes it dangerously simple; but the fact that HR flacks or edu
  • by Xacid (560407)

    Think a prospective employer could do this without knowing an applicant's age, race, sexual orientation, marriage status, and so on? Doubtful.

    • They're allowed to know those things, they're just not allowed to base any decisions or treatment on them.

      • by neyla (2455118)

        They are allowed *knowing* them. But they are not allowed making hiring-decisions based on them. This puts them in an awkward position if they actively seek access to this information (say by asking).

        The purpose of an interview is to figure out if a person should be hired or not. Why ask about something on an interview if the answer is *not* going to have influence on your decision ? The assumption is going to be that they asked because they *did* care about the answer. (that's the most straightforward reas

    • Not to worry, citizen, our house counsel is on call during HR's operating hours in order to provide a nebulous-but-entirely-legal justification for any hiring and firing decisions we may wish to make.
  • Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 08, 2012 @08:08AM (#39286451)
    Between cell phone location and call logs, and Facebook, Americans now volunteer for a kind of self-surveillance the former USSR only dreamt of having on its citizens!
    • Sad but true. I have a feeling if Stalin era USSR citizens had a Facebook equivalent, they would be much smarter than modern Americans about what they put on it. Comrade.

  • Belgium! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 08, 2012 @08:08AM (#39286453)

    I'm happy to live in a country where such practices are illegal.

  • Decline (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nerdfest (867930) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @08:09AM (#39286461)

    We all seem very determined to turn our countries into fascist states don't we? This sort of intrusion into people's private lives shouldn't be tolerated, but the public outcry is negligible.

  • Distress password? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 08, 2012 @08:12AM (#39286487)

    It shouldn't be hard to allow users to add a distress password that would make Facebook appear logged in but would hide anything that would not be visible to outsiders.

  • And likely never will. I suspect that's so far out of normal that they simply won't believe me. So I'll create an account that's simply never used. Maybe they won't believe that either. Who knows.

  • I have a FB account, but it's virtually unused, and of very little utility to a prospective employer. Nevertheless, any employer who demanded to make such an invasion of privacy would be one I would cross off my list in that same instant.
  • The moral of the story(as always) would appear to be that purely rules-based protections(even when they aren't fundamentally flawed by design, as facebook's certainly are) are essentially useless in the face of a real power imbalance.

    Facebook is a bit novel in that it produces such a very juicy target for lifestyle police, and one that is fairly persistent; but it isn't as though there is any conceivable privacy policy/enforcement mechanism that could protect you from somebody who has the real world powe
  • by evilRhino (638506) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @08:22AM (#39286573)
    They ask you to log in to your Facebook account before they even know you. If this happened to me, I would refuse and then politely excuse myself.
    • by Tim C (15259)
      Yeah, I'd end the interview at that point. No-one is going to be willing to pay me enough for me to accept that level of intrusion into my personal life.
  • Are they also asking to log into my bank accounts so they can monitor my financial status and transaction history?
  • by DiSKiLLeR (17651) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @08:28AM (#39286637) Homepage Journal

    I used to use facebook since the early days.

    But then I deleted it. My google+, facebook, all gone.

    Got sick of the privacy issues, having my personal information being sold for money (while I get NO benefit from it), and now THIS ....

    • by Tim C (15259)
      No, it's a reason not to seek employment with arseholes.

      Imagine if the story were 10 years ago, about employers wanting access to your personal email account or ICQ chat history. Would your advice still be not to use it?
  • by alen (225700) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @08:31AM (#39286677)

    facebook lets you group friends and assign permissions to those groups as to what they can see. just group the boss and your teachers into a dead end group, set it up in the permissions not to allow them to see anything or the very bare minimum and that's all

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @08:32AM (#39286691) Homepage Journal

    Not if they are making those sorts of demands of me. Same goes for any other "activity". If they are demanding i give up my privacy to make them happy, I'm gone.

  • by Linegod (9952) <pasnak@NoSpam.warpedsystems.sk.ca> on Thursday March 08, 2012 @08:32AM (#39286695) Homepage Journal

    It stopped being your private life when you posted it to the Internet.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 08, 2012 @08:34AM (#39286713)
    This (perhaps naive) effort is an attempt to prevent gang agents from infiltrating the department. Local gangs are actively recruiting relatives and acquaintances without criminal histories to work as correctional officers. Many of those job applicants are barely literate and do not realize that their Facebook pages are a give away of their gang connections. They simply give up that information. Apparently, the next step would be full lifestyle checks akin to what fed agencies do. Much more expensive but also effective. Disclaimer: I do work for MD DPSCS.
  • Could you deactivate it before the interview, then reactivate it later? Change your password to a random string from http://strongpasswordgenerator.com/ [strongpass...erator.com] so that you can't know it and then reset your password later. Do this for everything they'd want to look at.

    Thoughts?

  • ...enemies don't deserve honesty, you should lie, cheat, evade, obfuscate and bullshit as expedient.

    I enjoy deceiving people who piss me off. They deserve it.

  • Many, many reasons (Score:5, Insightful)

    by anti-pop-frustration (814358) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @09:05AM (#39287057) Journal
    Why Making Facebook Private Won't Protect You?

    - Because posting something you consider private on facebook (aka publishing it on the Internet) is stupid and careless
    - Because facebook employees have unrestricted access to your account
    - Because it will be hard if not impossible to *actually* remove your information from their servers and backups
    - Because facebook contracts moderating content to outsourcing firms and everything you post there risks being reviewed by an under-vetted, unfulfilled person on a dollar an hour in an internet café in Marrakech. [slashdot.org]

    This is for all you "If you haven't done anything wrong, what do you have to hide?" and "You're one in a million, nobody cares about your insignificant neck-beard life" apologists: Don't you see why it is bad that all that private information is aggregated and under the control of a single entity?
    Even if it is done with reasonable safeguards and the best of intentions, which is definitely not the case with facebook, the simple fact that all this information exists online, tied to your real name, means that the potential for abuse is immense. And this is time it's not even facebook doing the abusing and profiteering, it's just an external third party.

    And when you've been unemployed for a substantial amount of time and you are desperate for a job, who has more power over you than a potential employer?

    Give up your privacy, pledge allegiance to your employer. Don't you love the neofeudalist world we live in?
    • We have talked about enough "If you haven't done anything wrong, you have nothing to hide" so let me comment on "You're one in a million, nobody cares about your insignificant neck-beard life"

      Firstly, it contains the tacit admission from the speaker that nobody cares about his/her own life either. What is really bothersome is that this isn't just a recognition of one's insignificance, but a commitment to it. The speakers not only admits that he isn't standing up for anything or doing anything important with

  • I know this is /. and everything typically has to be boolean/polar, but how about some more processing before rendering a knee-jerk yes|no and running to the high ground of your position ...

    Ask the interviewer "Can you tell me what reason you need to see a personal account of mine such as Facebook?" If you're on track to a high-profile position, support of one or one where security is paramount, they may have a reason. I mean ... I know no politicians or folks in the public sector have done inappropriate things such as maintained inappropriate relationships or done shady business using just such accounts, but hey ... it just might happen someday, right!?!?!? So ... they may have a good reason to ask from their side. Some jobs do require background checks. This could be filed under that. That doesn't mean you have to give it to them. It just means that they have a [potentially valid] justification for it. If it's a wal-mart greeter position, I go report them to corporate and/or file a lawsuit. If it's part of the foreign service officer application process with the state department.

    Ask/point out that you are uncomfortable with exposing friends/families information (as well as your own). Again, a security/background check may trump that anyway (if it's a condition of the job). While it's a policy, the human in front of you may actually consider that point.

    Ask "How do I know what I show you will be kept confidential?" ... "Is any of this recorded digitally?" ... "May I ask how this factors into your selection process?" ... maybe even without being argumentative.

    Maybe even ask them ... "Don't you wish you could forget all the inane* conversations/posts/etc. that you've seen doing this?"

    Then ... if you don't get the job, ask "Can you tell me why I didn't get the position". If you feel it was related to one of your (or your friends') inane posts on facebook and/or it's discriminatory (e.g. they didn't hire you because they saw photos of you with blond hair on your facebook timeline and they don't like people who dye their hair) ... go for your lawyer ... or move on to a different job interview.

    *Because yes, there is a whole heck of a lot of inane stuff on Facebook.

  • by chicago_scott (458445) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @01:54PM (#39291407) Journal

    I'll allow a perceptive employer to see my Facebook page if they'll let me see the company financial books. That way we can both know there's no funny business going on.

    Otherwise we can both agree to trust each other and get some work done.

  • by notnAP (846325) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @03:39PM (#39293009)

    "Facebook's privacy settings, such as they are, don't hold up in the face of prospective employers who demand to see applicants' profiles."
    "My home computer's security settings, protecting the personal diary I keep, don't hold up in the face of prospective employers who demand to see my private writings."
    "My front door's lock, behind which I keep lots of private stuff, doesn't hold up in the face of prospective employers who demand that I give them access to my home, follow me around for a while while I lounge and generally do private stuff."
    "My pants zipper doesn't hold up in the face of prospective employers who demand that I give them drop trou and display my junk because the guy who wants to hire me is afraid if I sleep with his secretary, she may see that someone else's penis is bigger than his."

    Where is the security problem and failure here, really? Is facebook to blame when you give someone else your password?

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton

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