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Facebook: Legal Action Against Employers Asking For Your Password 504

Posted by Soulskill
from the nip-this-in-the-bud dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Facebook today weighed in on the issue of employers asking current and prospective employees for their Facebook passwords. The company noted that doing so undermines the privacy expectations and the security of both the user and the user's friends, as well as potentially exposes the employer to legal liability. The company is looking to draft new laws as well as take legal action against employers who do this." A least one U.S. Senator agrees with them.
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Facebook: Legal Action Against Employers Asking For Your Password

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  • How about this? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by olsmeister (1488789) on Friday March 23, 2012 @01:49PM (#39453783)
    Make part of the Facebook login process to enter your your race, age, marital status, or other things that it is illegal for employers to ask you about in an interview. If they ask you to log in for them, you can claim that that is a form of asking you that information and is not allowed.
  • Already illegal (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gurps_npc (621217) on Friday March 23, 2012 @01:50PM (#39453797) Homepage
    If you have a good lawyer, you can probably sue them already. In most facebook accounts, people provide a lot of information that it is illegal for the employer to ask about - age, gender, race, sexuality. Employers can't ask these questions, and similarly, they can't ask questions that they know will reveal that information. We don't really need a new law, just a smart lawyer
  • by Nyall (646782) on Friday March 23, 2012 @01:51PM (#39453825) Homepage

    Since the current laws about unauthorized network/computer access are vague enough to include doing something against any website's terms of service couldn't FB just put it their TOS? Then setup a bounty or whistle blower reporting system.

  • Re:But now... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ohnocitizen (1951674) on Friday March 23, 2012 @01:54PM (#39453871)
    We do have another alternative, as unlikely a road to victory as it may seem. We can create a PR storm targeting the company using twitter and other social networks to call a company out on its privacy violating ways. Even a year ago I would have ignored the various online petitions and such as not having actual power. But the recent victories against Bank of America and Verizon have really got me thinking. Perhaps if a company is big enough or the violation flagrant enough to garner some buzz, there is a way to punish companies for misbehavior.
  • by mcavic (2007672) on Friday March 23, 2012 @02:01PM (#39453965)
    Your comment reminds me of when my company did layoffs:
    Employer: ... and an extra two weeks of severance if you agree not to sue us.
    Employee: Wait... I can sue you?
  • DMCA (Score:4, Interesting)

    by RichMan (8097) on Friday March 23, 2012 @02:03PM (#39453985)

    Why does the DMCA not apply? Why are these companies all not in violation of the the DMCA.
    The users contents is private and password protected. The users content is copyright protected work of the user and their friends.

    ***ANY*** attempt to violate the users password protection would seem to me to be a violation of DMCA. Does not ANY method to break DRM include intimidation of the key holder ?

  • Re:But now... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Culture20 (968837) on Friday March 23, 2012 @02:06PM (#39454037)
    It's actually easier to sue for discrimination if you allow them full access. They'll suddenly know your age, political preference, your other-racial significant other, sexual preference, etc. Plenty of fertile ground for lawsuits.
  • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Friday March 23, 2012 @02:08PM (#39454063)

    I went in for a haircut recently. first question out of this clerk's mouth was 'your email address?'.

    in total surprise, I delayed and then said 'uhm, no; just here for a haircut, please'.

    they had no problem accepting no; but it was damned strange to have that be the first 'hello' from them. or really, any question at all!

    the guy in front of me happily gave them their desired info. goes to show that if you ask a sheep to do something, likely they will not even question it.

    I'm not adding my name to some mailing list that a haircutter is collecting! wtf??

  • Did I miss something?

    The company is looking to draft new laws

    I know we've all heard about regulatory capture by corporations and lobbyists, but has it gotten so blatant that businesses don't even try to hide it nowadays?

  • by leonardluen (211265) on Friday March 23, 2012 @02:28PM (#39454347)

    a better way to say it might be "I can't give you my password. if i were to so easily hand out my personal passwords, then how could you trust me to keep any work passwords secret"

  • No new law is needed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by perpenso (1613749) on Friday March 23, 2012 @02:31PM (#39454415)

    it would be fun. Help me facebook.

    Humor aside, if that is your goal you do not need help from facebook nor a new law. Existing laws will do quite nicely. For example it is illegal to ask a job candidate their age and a prospective employer can get sued for doing so. Logging into a facebook account exposes a prospective employer to much such prohibited information.

  • by g0bshiTe (596213) on Friday March 23, 2012 @02:54PM (#39454691)
    Why sign up for social media as yourself in the first place? Yes I'm on FB, but not as me so no one that doesn't already know my ident can find me.
  • Re:But now... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rickb928 (945187) on Friday March 23, 2012 @02:57PM (#39454743) Homepage Journal

    Exactly. Employers asking for your age can be annoying, but that is usually illegal. Suing doesn't enhance your resume, but I for one would look elsewhere for emloyment if they seriously asked me for either my Facebook account access or to be friended to look over my profile. I would ask them why, and anything other than a specific 'we are looking for signs of dangerous behavior that could cause problems' would get a vacant stare and a short interview. Even then, put it in writing and I'll tell you if I can agree to 'not do that', unless of course it's unreasonable, which also results in a short inteview.

    Yes, these are difficult times, but some employers are not worth it.

  • Re:But now... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pixelpusher220 (529617) on Friday March 23, 2012 @03:30PM (#39455123)
    Or is this a test? Those who say 'sure' don't get return calls, those who say 'not a chance'...show the requisite intelligence and are kept in the running for the position?
  • by realityimpaired (1668397) on Friday March 23, 2012 @06:33PM (#39457045)

    Oh, did you think a severance was something you are entitled to? I see your line of reasoning a lot of slashdot. The time to negotiate is not when you are being laid off/fired. Consider yourself lucky for getting anything above and beyond a pink slip.

    Am I ever glad I don't live in whatever backwater country you're in. In the civilized world, severance is mandated by law in the case of a layoff, either in the form of advance notice ("we'll be shutting down operations next November, line something up now and if you get a job before then, we'll give you a reference"), or pay in lieu of notice ("you're all done. pack your things, go home. your final pay will have 4 weeks' pay in lieu of the notice"). The amount of notice or pay in lieu is dictated by the size of the layoff... a small layoff of 20 or fewer people is only 2 weeks, with it increasing significantly with the number of people being let go. When Dell shut down operations in this city, I walked away with a $25,000 severance package (which would have been more, but I was given 4 weeks' notice), and got to keep my medical benefits for 6 months, and I wasn't anywhere near senior management.

    There is a difference between being laid off and being fired.

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