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Bill Banning Employer Facebook Snooping Introduced In Congress 199

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-we-technically-employ-congress dept.
suraj.sun writes "According to The Hill, 'The Social Networking Online Protection Act, introduced by Democratic Reps. Eliot Engel (N.Y.) and Jan Schakowsky (Ill.), would prohibit current or potential employers from demanding a username or password to a social networking account. "We must draw the line somewhere and define what is private," Engel said in a statement. "No one would feel comfortable going to a public place and giving out their username and passwords to total strangers. They should not be required to do so at work, at school, or while trying to obtain work or an education. This is a matter of personal privacy and makes sense in our digital world."' Ars adds, 'The bill would apply the same prohibitions to colleges, universities, and K-12 schools. ... Facebook has already threatened legal action against organizations who require employees to reveal their Facebook passwords as policy.'" Maryland beat them to the punch, and other states are working on similar laws too. We'll have to hope the U.S. House doesn't kill this one like they did the last attempt. The difference this time is that the concept has its own bill, while its previous incarnation was an amendment to an existing bill about reforming FCC procedures.
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Bill Banning Employer Facebook Snooping Introduced In Congress

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  • by gapagos (1264716) on Sunday April 29, 2012 @01:36AM (#39835951)

    Does it contain a clause preventing the employer from demanding a candidate to friend him or a HR person?
    Because it should.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rtb61 (674572)

      Why not simply an affirmation that private companies, corporations both foreign and domestic, as well as individuals, are fully bound by the constitution and all of it's amendments and no contract clause or condition can abridge the constitution and it's amendments in any way shape or form. Then legislate major penalties for any attempt to do so, both a major fine and prison term.

      • by gapagos (1264716) on Sunday April 29, 2012 @01:52AM (#39835983)

        Why not simply an affirmation that private companies, corporations both foreign and domestic, as well as individuals, are fully bound by the constitution and all of it's amendments

        Because there's always a lawyer who disagrees on what the constitution means in practice.
        This is why more explicit laws are created.

      • by gmanterry (1141623) on Sunday April 29, 2012 @02:36AM (#39836095) Journal

        This is the USA. We haven't had a Constitution since 2001. 9/11 to be exact.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Hognoxious (631665)

        It would be useless, because "it is amendments" doesn't make any sense at all.

      • Constitution? (Score:5, Informative)

        by fnj (64210) on Sunday April 29, 2012 @03:41AM (#39836325)

        Why not simply an affirmation that private companies, corporations both foreign and domestic, as well as individuals, are fully bound by the constitution and all of it's amendments

        That question is easy to answer. Because the constitution bounds the powers of the FEDERAL government. Period. It says very little about what state and local governments can't do, and it certainly doesn't say what employers (and private citizens) can't do. The word "murder" doesn't appear in the constitution either. The constitution isn't concerned in the slightest whether Joe Blow goes on a killing spree. In fact the laws against murder are all state laws. A state could decide not to have any law against murder as far as the constitution is concerned.

        Dig it. It took an act of congress to implement a ban on discrimination and desegregate the public schools. There was an amendment passed at the same time as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 specifically to ban poll taxes, but that was the extent of it. Similarly, there is nothing in the constitution that says an employer can't ask employees for various concessions. That is for states to limit.

        The Tenth Amendment: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." That's the ENTIRE text. So the First Amendment says CONGRESS shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech. It doesn't stop a state from limiting free speech.

        • by sjbe (173966) on Sunday April 29, 2012 @04:58AM (#39836519)

          Because the constitution bounds the powers of the FEDERAL government.

          And the state governments as well via Article Six. Government at all levels is bound by the Constitution.

          In fact the laws against murder are all state laws

          Demonstrably not true [wikipedia.org]. Perhaps you should actually read about federal law or at least spend 20 seconds on Wikipedia before posting something so easily refuted. There are federal laws concerning murder for cases where state law would not apply such as for overseas military, on federal property, situations crossing state lines, involving federal officials, ambassadors, foreign officials, and numerous other circumstances.

          A state could decide not to have any law against murder as far as the constitution is concerned.

          Kind of a stupid argument since they all do have laws against murder.

          So the First Amendment says CONGRESS shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech. It doesn't stop a state from limiting free speech.

          Actually it specifically does stop states from limiting free speech via Article Six [wikipedia.org], specifically "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding." Basically the First Amendment overrides any state law that contradicts it. If the Constitution was not applicable to states then it would be a useless document.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If the Employer can't demand a username or password, they can't verify you even have a Facebook account. Or, even if they knew of the existence of an account for you, you would have plausible deniability as to if the account was yours. After all, there's nothing to stop someone who knows you from setting up an account and posting information to it that might reflect badly on you in a job interview -- which is exactly why HR shouldn't be "Googling" applicants or looking for them on social networking sites. T

      • by TWX (665546) on Sunday April 29, 2012 @02:21AM (#39836059)
        I've wondered, since this came up in the news, how those poor, poor employers screened candidates in the old days, before they could readily get information from Internet search engines, social networking sites, and inexpensive background checks.

        Oh, right- they had to actually talk to them, and had to evaluate them after they hired them, and had to consider firing them if their professional lives had problems...
        • Is that what they used to do before the makeover - back when it was called "personnel"?

          Sounds like a fuckton of work to me. I mean, that's what computers were invented to avoid, isn't it?
          http://www.cartoonstock.com/lowres/jmo0663l.jpg [cartoonstock.com]

          • by Ronin Developer (67677) on Sunday April 29, 2012 @11:27AM (#39838021)

            Yes, it was called work for a reason. Yes, people actually spent time talking to people looking for someone who could truly contribute.

            Today, HR hides behind algorithms and software that supposedly screen a candidate before a human ever speaks with them. So much for the "Human Relations" side of things. They utilize recruiters who pre-screen. Those same recruiters are in it to make a profit based on either their contracting rates (less they can pay you the better) or percentage of the salary of the person hired (higher the better). Just the other day, I received three emails for the same position. Each one specified a different duration and offered rates that varied from $60/hr up to $80/hr - W2. WTF? All were from offshore firms, BTW.

            It doesn't matter if the individual has the knowledge, experience, motivation and personality to improve your company and make it a better place any longer. If your resume isn't in the right format or you don't use the latest and most correct keywords or you put dates that can help narrow down your age as being older than dirt, your application goes into the bit bucket. It's a numbers game, pure and simple. And, may the Lord help you if you are unemployed - those systems identify you as such and that you are no longer on top of your game. You are so screwed once you get that label on you profile.

      • We all know they shouldn't be, but they're going to anyway, whether it's legal or illegal. The days of having a separate private life are over in this increasingly 24/7 work environment.

        Discrimination is one of those things that pretty much impossible to prove unless it's egregious. Even if a lawsuit is justified, many lawyers won't touch a discrimination case with a 10-foot pole. Plus, discrimination in itself requires the victim to be in a "protected class", which is why all the assholes posting job op

    • by Tasha26 (1613349)
      What about companies or govt agencies paying Facebook for such data?
      • by Joce640k (829181)

        They don't need to pay any more, not with CISPA.

        This does seem awfully two-faced - ban us from snooping, give themselves unlimited access, constitution be damned.

        • by bsane (148894)

          Which I'm sure is the point. People forget everything they post is viewable by the government and even local law enforcement, but when employers start demanding passwords and going through the 'frontdoor' it reminds everyone how public their data is. That may reduce the usefulness of FB to the government, hence the ban.

      • by gapagos (1264716)

        I believe Facebook does not actually sell its data. It maintains ownership. When a company buys targeted ads, they never actually see which usernames the ads were marketed to.

  • er (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Yew2 (1560829) on Sunday April 29, 2012 @01:38AM (#39835961) Homepage
    I would love to rant about the privacy we are compelled give up even applying for a job - companies pull credit reports and wont hire you unless youre a good consumer and all but um...we need a law to prevent employers from demanding LOGON CREDENTIALS? I just love MBAs.
    • Re:er (Score:5, Informative)

      by houghi (78078) on Sunday April 29, 2012 @03:12AM (#39836229)

      It amazes me that this is even legal.
      In Europe, at least in Belgium, this would be illegal as hell. At some jobs they might do background checks, but these are clearly identified and will be e.g. jobs at NATO.

      At some jobs (e.g. banks) you might be required to show a proof of your criminal history. Then the company can decide if they hire you or not. There are even people who want to make these stricter and limit the information.
      That way a pedophile will show up if he wants to work at a school, but not when he is going to work at e.g. a banks call center. With a bank robber, it might be the other way around.

      Where I work I know of one person not getting the reason, because something on it was a too high risk. Another person had something on it and we still hired that person, as we decided it wasn't a high risk at all.

      Things we will NEVER ask: Are you with a union? Are you pregnant? (They are allowed to lie to that question. Once they are hired and tell they are pregnant, you can't fire them.) What is your religion?

      What we do have is a 6 month trial in which both the employer and employee can decide if this is an OK situation workwise. If it isn't, we can end it or they can end it with a weeks notice. After that it will be a much longer notice period for both the employer and employee.

      • That's similar in most European countries.

        Asking for a criminal record is limited to jobs that can show "an objective reason" to demand it. So if you're in charge of money or security, criminal checks are ok, if no crime could possibly be associated with your job they cannot even ask you for a record. Them asking for one is reason enough for you to sue (and usually win, if there's at least some kind of a remote chance that you could prove it. Gathering some other applicants and getting them to testify accor

        • by cjb658 (1235986)

          In theory they could not even ask for your gender, though it is usually quite obvious.

          I hate when it's not.

    • I just love MBAs.

      So to you holding the college degree of a MBA is shorthand for evil corporate behavior even if in reality is has NOTHING whatsoever to do with the topic at hand. You think that someone who tries to learn skills to manage a business more effectively must be simultaneously an evil and incompetent person. It must be convenient to see the world in such a way that you can easily scapegoat a group of people who aren't the cause of the problem. What you have said makes even less sense than blaming all engineers

    • by jonwil (467024)

      Here in Australia I have had a number of jobs and the only thing I have had that is in any way prying into my background was for my most recent job where I was working for a government department in a software engineering job (where I would have access to all sorts of personal details via the databases I was interacting with) and needed a standard police clearance (probably just to make sure I wasn't a pedophile or something where I would abuse the data I had access to). But I have never had to take a drug

  • by rtconner (544309) on Sunday April 29, 2012 @01:51AM (#39835981) Homepage Journal

    Never heard of him.

  • by _pi-away (308135) on Sunday April 29, 2012 @01:57AM (#39835995) Homepage

    I truly don't get this. If an organization requires a law to tell it that it shouldn't do this - YOU DON'T WANT TO WORK THERE.

    Consider yourself lucky that they demonstrated that right up front in the interview before you spent weeks/months/years there.

    • by gapagos (1264716) on Sunday April 29, 2012 @02:08AM (#39836023)

      What if every employer start requesting it, do you give up your rights or do you choose homelessness?

      • by QuasiSteve (2042606) on Sunday April 29, 2012 @02:38AM (#39836103)

        I had an argument with somebody with a very pro-liberty (even if at the indirect cost of others) stance.

        When asked if he believed that companies should be allowed to ban African-Americans from doing business with them, his reply was along the lines that indeed they should be allowed to, and in a free market there would simply be some other store that welcomes them, that's how the free marker is supposed to work, and the government should butt out of businesses' decisions.

        When asked what happens when there is no viable competition - say for a drug that can save lives but which is administered in private clinics so as to keep competing pharmaceuticals from gaining direct access to the drug - his reply was that he would then just grab a gun, go to that clinic, and get some of that drug himself and woe the person who would get in his way.

        Rather than accept that governments may have to regulate some aspects of life and business for a healthy society, which in the latter case would mean no company could limit a drug via discrimination*, he would resort to violence.

        In your scenario, he would choose homelessness...at least from the comfort of his recliner. Some people are just wired that way, I guess.

        ( * I know some drugs are so ridiculously expensive that one may as well recognize their availability as being subject to class discrimination. )

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          say for a drug that can save lives but which is administered in private clinics so as to keep competing pharmaceuticals from gaining direct access to the drug

          There would be nothing keeping competitors from acquiring and selling the drug, as in a true free market, patents and copyright wouldn't exist.

          • by jpapon (1877296) on Sunday April 29, 2012 @03:33AM (#39836299) Journal

            There would be nothing keeping competitors from acquiring and selling the drug

            Yeah, nothing except the fact that they would have to figure out how to make the drug, and if there were no patents, such a formula would be a very closely guarded secret.

            • by rgbrenner (317308)

              No kidding... If Cocacola can keep its soda formula a secret, why can't/wouldn't a pharm company?

              No patents = everything is a trade secret.

              That's why we grant patents.. so inventors will tell us how their creation works.

              • > No kidding... If Cocacola can keep its soda formula a secret, why can't/wouldn't a pharm company?

                Actually, the formula for Coca-Cola ceased to be a true secret a long time ago, and you can find it online pretty easily with some help from Google. What protects Coca-Cola *today* is trademark law. You can make a beverage that tastes EXACTLY like Coca-Cola, with the exact same recipe down to the nanogram and picoliter of raw ingredients, and sell it with complete legality... but if Coca-Cola, Inc. can find

          • by digitig (1056110) on Sunday April 29, 2012 @03:36AM (#39836313)

            say for a drug that can save lives but which is administered in private clinics so as to keep competing pharmaceuticals from gaining direct access to the drug

            There would be nothing keeping competitors from acquiring and selling the drug, as in a true free market, patents and copyright wouldn't exist.

            Presumably there would be a measure of security through obscurity. The pharmaceutical companies could presumably put some complicated passive compounds in with the active one (obfustication!) so those wanting to clone it would have to either isolate the active ingredient or work out how to fabricate a whole raft of ingredients, either of which could be a significant research task. After all, in a truly free market there would be no need to declare the active ingredient (or, indeed, for there to even be an active ingredient).

            • The passive ingredients would probably appear pretty passive. If they did not, they would each cost the original company some considerable expense proving that they were safe.

              Of course that's under current government rules. Under libertarianism, presumably the drug approvals process would be abandoned and we'd be back to snake oil salesmen selling all sorts of useless and/or poisonous preparations as medicines.

              • But in this hypothetical unregulated free market, the company doesn't have to prove those compounds are safe. When you're the only company offering the life-saving treatment, you can do what you want. "You want our drug? You take our untested obfuscation poisons with it or you die!"
            • by manicb (1633645)

              Pharmaceutical companies employ a significant proportion of the world's best and brightest organic chemists, and supply them with all the chromatography and spectroscopy equipment they need. Pharmaceutical products generally consist of a single highly-pure active ingredient, maybe with some kind of safe filler or binder to get it into a safely dosable form. Adding materials which would frustrate reverse-engineering for any significant period of time, while maintaining the efficacy and safety of your product

    • by b1scuit (795301)
      You think that if there weren't laws stating the limits of what a corporation can require of its employees, this is the worst thing they'd have you do? All of the laws limiting corporate behavior like this are there because they were necessary, just like this one is.

      If we applied your thinking more broadly, no one would want to work anywhere. I'm not saying you're wrong on that count... but you know. There's isn't a big corp on the planet that wouldn't start doing this if it became really mainstream.
    • Yes and no (Score:4, Insightful)

      by MrEricSir (398214) on Sunday April 29, 2012 @02:50AM (#39836147) Homepage

      Yes, I wouldn't want to work there.

      No, that's not how it works. There are more workers than employers, so without any external force employers are free to set the rules as they see fit. When many employers adopt a policy, workers have to band together if they want to fight it; and that's exactly what we're seeing here.

    • by arkhan_jg (618674) on Sunday April 29, 2012 @03:34AM (#39836301)

      And in our modern economy, where it's the first interview you've had in months and your unemployment funds have long since been spent paying the necessary bills; you'll choose facebook privacy over putting food on the table for your family? Now imagine you're not some highly paid code wizard who gets to pick and choose employers, but an ordinary shop floor worker doing a blue collar job who has to take what you can get.

      Being able to exercise your rights when you're wealthy and in a position to pick and choose between jobs is one thing. When you're in modern serfdom employment and the employers hold all the cards, federal or state government regulation and enforcement is about the only thing that can protect the workers from ridiculous abuses like this. Even more so when it's local government (such as police) doing it.

      • by garcia (6573)

        It's simple. If I am that desperate for a job I will delete the stupid fucking Facebook account and tell them "I don't have one, I deleted it because I'm too busy looking for work on LinkedIn and Indeed to post about my asinine behavior, love life, food picture taking habits, or whatever the fuck people do on Facebook.

        I've also suggested that I'd create a professional "William Roehl" account and leave it wide open with nothing on it and keep my "Bill Roehl" account locked down as it currently is or just sim

    • by sjbe (173966) on Sunday April 29, 2012 @04:34AM (#39836445)

      I truly don't get this. If an organization requires a law to tell it that it shouldn't do this - YOU DON'T WANT TO WORK THERE.

      That is of course correct but not the point. The problem is because sometimes people need jobs that they do not want. My father is a very smart guy but he doesn't have a college degree and he worked for many years in a job with limited applicability outside of a handful of companies. He didn't really want to work there, he had to out of economic necessity. The pay was better than probably anything else he could get and he had a union to protect him from idiots who might demand unreasonable things from him. (one of the good cases for unions actually) It would have been very easy for some moron to demand some ridiculous intrusion into his personal life without some form of external protection like a union or a law.

      Bills like this are not to protect (presumably) you or me but rather to protect people with limited options. If your options are to hand over your facebook password so that you can feed your family, you're probably going to give over the password. It's completely wrong to even ask but sometimes we have to make laws to prohibit such behavior explicitly because a few idiots can't figure out why it is wrong. A law gives protections and recourse to those who might be vulnerable to being taken advantage of.

    • Take a trip to your local supermarket. Look around the shop assistants. Do any of them look like they WANT to work there?

      The number of people who can work in their dream job and choose from a wide selection of offers is rather small, you know?

    • by thegarbz (1787294)

      YOU DON'T WANT TO WORK THERE.

      Oh but I do. You see often organisations aren't defined by the actions of one small HR department with a dumb arse idea. If I'm being interviewed at a small company by the CEO and he is asking for these credentials, then yes I'd agree with you. In my experience though douchebag policies quite frequently end up being isolated ramblings of an individual and not representative of the company on the whole. Also the fact that I'm at the interview, now, at a time where unemployment is highest since the great depr

    • by slasho81 (455509)
      Not everyone has the privilege of walking out of interviews.
    • by c (8461)

      > If an organization requires a law to tell it that it shouldn't do
      > this - YOU DON'T WANT TO WORK THERE.

      If an organization requires a law indicating the absolute minimum amount they're allowed to pay employees...

      See where this is going?

      In a sane world, we wouldn't need labour laws like this. In fact, in a sane world, it'd be legal to hunt and kill anyone who'd intentionally put people into a position of needing such a law.

    • by rubycodez (864176)
      what if almost all companies would be evil given the chance because they are mostly run by power and money grubbing scum? you'll note we needed civil rights, sexual harassment, anti-age discrimination laws, etc. Don't underestminate the evil in business and government.
  • by Professr3 (670356) on Sunday April 29, 2012 @02:22AM (#39836061)
    "We must draw the line somewhere and define what is private"

    Oh, the hypocrisy...
    • Re:Congress? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by artor3 (1344997) on Sunday April 29, 2012 @02:32AM (#39836079)

      Congress isn't a single person. It's not hypocrisy when some congressmen vote for CISPA and others speak out for privacy. The two congressmen behind this bill both voted against CISPA and had announced their opposition to SOPA prior to the bill being withdrawn. So no, they're not being hypocritical at all.

  • The difference this time is that the concept has its own bill, while its previous incarnation was an amendment to an existing bill about reforming FCC procedures.

    That's one of the few guaranteed ways of killing something, attach it to the FCC.

  • I don't use Facebook, am I unemployable?
  • by roman_mir (125474) on Sunday April 29, 2012 @02:51AM (#39836155) Homepage Journal

    How about governments stops meddling with every single business and person out there, introducing all these nonsense laws, while actively snooping on everybody on this planet without any justification, cause and mandate?

    Just this NSA data center [wired.com] is a much bigger privacy risk than any number of employees who are dumb enough to ask for FB access of their potential hires and these potential workers being dumb and unprincipled enough to give it to them.

    How about NSA stops doing THAT? Never mind the extra-judicial murder the president is involved in.

    Shouldn't laws apply to the government first?

    Shouldn't the government not be allowed to do things that an individual isn't allowed to do in the first place?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by roman_mir (125474)

      Oh, and by the way, to those, who will reply to me with nonsense like: government must protect us from the evil corporations.

      Stop and think for a second: nobody forces you to work for any of those companies and if you actively refused to work for them if they violated your privacy, they'd stop doing it, just the PR alone is going to be a problem for them.

      But with a government... how are you going to opt out of that? With a company you can opt out. You can not buy the product, you can avoid being employed w

      • nobody forces you to work for any of those companies and if you actively refused to work for them if they violated your privacy

        A person might not force you to work for them but circumstances very well might. Unions came into existence precisely because it was difficult for some people to find alternative employment and some companies took advantage of that face. When your choice is between your privacy and feeding your family, your privacy is going to lose most of the time. Doesn't matter if it is wrong up in your ivory tower. You have the good fortune to have choices and live in a society that (generally) protects that right.

    • by pla (258480)
      Just this NSA data center [wired.com] is a much bigger privacy risk than any number of employees who are dumb enough to ask for FB access of their potential hires and these potential workers being dumb and unprincipled enough to give it to them.

      Oddly enough, I view the fact that Congress actually cares about this issue as a much more disturbing sign relating to your point... The average Joe actually does think about thinks like what his boss would think of his crossdressing habit; They don't think about
    • by mounthood (993037)

      Businesses are foolishly supporting CISPA while having their own access to information curtailed. If industry was shrewed they'd demand the same access and protections the government wants for itself.

      The opening rounds of the privacy war have left government able to ignore the 4th amendment, and all privacy issues are now 'private sector' issues, like restricting business access to Facebook.

    • by rubycodez (864176)
      you miss the point, both government and business need limitations because they inherently do evil because of lust for money and power. Furthermore, our government is in the pockets of large mega-corporations.
  • The fuck? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by melted (227442)

    The country is circling down the shitter, and this is the best thing the Congress has to occupy themselves with? If a prospective employer asks me to provide my FB account, I'll tell them to go pound sand, and so should everybody else. My photos of funny kittens shall be mine alone.

    • by thegarbz (1787294)

      If a prospective employer asks me to provide my FB account, I'll tell them to go pound sand, and so should everybody else.

      Which will be of consolation when the righteous themselves are pounding sand trying to figure out how to make money to put food on the table. I'm sure the 300 blue collar workers who just lost their jobs when a local metal foundry shut down this past week will gladly hand over a facebook password in exchange for not having to try and live of welfare payments.

      Here's a quick tip for those of you not paying attention to the current economy. At the moment common people will take what they can get. It's up to th

  • by blind biker (1066130) on Sunday April 29, 2012 @03:08AM (#39836217) Journal

    So if there's no bill banning a certain activity, a company may engage in it, is that how it work in the USA? You know, in other western countries corporations aren't allowed anything unless it's granted to them explicitly.

    Is there a bill forbidding cavity search by corporations? Or one that forbids corporations from harvesting the organs of their employees? It seems apt to ask, in case I ever dream of working in the USA.

    • by dbIII (701233)

      So if there's no bill banning a certain activity, a company may engage in it, is that how it work in the USA?

      That's how some expat US businessmen behave in my country. Since the ones I've heard doing that spectacularly crashed and burned I can only assume they were the idiots that parent companies wanted to get rid of and that it's not anywhere near being universal. There was definitely a "slavery is good" vibe from some and an opinion that they owned the employees outright, with many intrusions into priv

    • You know, in other western countries corporations aren't allowed anything unless it's granted to them explicitly.

      Not true.

    • by rubycodez (864176)
      Corporations do indeed do all evil they can get away with. In the USA, we have corporations mass murdering (in other countries) for profit. We have corporations poisoning people for profit because they can. We have jails run by private contractors so certain minorities are made to be prisoners, because they can get away with it, and thus we have the largest percentage of imprisoned adults in the "free world" (ha). How naive are you?
  • by markdavis (642305) on Sunday April 29, 2012 @07:03AM (#39836867)

    >"We must draw the line somewhere and define what is private,"

    And yet it is perfectly legal for an employer to demand fluid samples from an employee and test for whatever legal or illegal substances they choose. And in some states and fields, it is
    even REQUIRED.

    Same thing with a criminal background check. And others even run credit reports, with the assumption that someone with bad credit is a bad person or someone that is going to steal from the company. And others require physicals to gather health status information.

    No probable or even remote cause needed in any of the above cases. So, yeah, demanding a social network password is certainly crossing the line, but there are plenty of other lines that are have already been crossed.

  • Your employer has veto power over what your health insurance covers, but asking for your Facebook password is too far? I'd love to hear what the Republicans in Congress say on this.

    • by Tancred (3904)

      I'd love to hear what the Republicans in Congress say on this.

      Well, there were 184 votes in favor of the amendment banning this practice. Only 1 vote [dailytech.com] was from a Republican.

  • I just wrote to my Member of Parliament (I'm in Canada, eh?) to recommend the same thing here. I don't have anything on my Facebook page, nor Twitter, LinkedIn, or anywhere else I'd not like someone to see (some really bad web-page designs, but they just don't go in the book. ;-P ) but NO potential employer has the right to ask for my personal information. If you can't ask if I'm a seventy-six year old gay Catholic of Scottish extraction, you can't ask for this either... and if you do, I'll be spinning you
  • by Timtimes (730036) on Sunday April 29, 2012 @07:31AM (#39836967) Homepage
    Attach a rider that further deregulates the banks. Enjoy.
  • This legislation is designed to sooth those who whine about privacy while doing absolutely nothing. Most employers will use professional information services that compile a report based upon facts acquired in various data bases. You do not know where the data bases are or how the searches are performed you simply read a compiled report. If some of that data was from Face Book you would never know it. Secondly if an employer directly accesses Face Book simply avoiding using the business computer
  • I'm not in favor of employers (or colleges) demanding login credentials, but this bill seems like a fairly hysterical reaction to what is, in all honesty, a pretty rare practice. Given the ubiquity of social networking is this not something the market can sort out? I know I'd walk right out the door if a potential employer ever demanded my credentials (or even that I friend them).
  • Right to Privacy (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Sunday April 29, 2012 @09:08AM (#39837335) Homepage Journal

    People have a right to privacy. The Federal government has recognized it since the Constitution created the government: "to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures [cornell.edu]" is to have privacy. Our privacy defines what is private vs what is public.

    Not only does the government of the US have no legitimate power to violate that privacy right, but neither does anyone else. It's our right. And we create governments like the US Federal government to protect that right, among others. Protect it from governments, individuals and corporations.

    This boundary should be the most fundamental and obvious fact in the US, but it's not, since the enemies of privacy have steadily gained so much power. We need a new Constitutional amendment that spells out the privacy right and goverment's obligation to protect it from all enemies, public and private. It must say that "to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures" is to have privacy that the government may not violate and must protect except as provided in the Constitution.

  • Of course, even if this law passes, the company just claim it's for cybersecurity purposes and, under the terms of CISPA, just ignore the privacy protections in this law.

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