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"Pre-Crime" Comes To the HR Dept. 554

storagedude writes "Like something out of the Steven Spielberg movie Minority Report, a startup called Social Intelligence is mining social media to weed out job applicants based on their potential for violence, drug abuse or just plain bad judgment. The startup also combs sites like Facebook and Twitter to monitor current employees, presumably to monitor compliance with company social media policy, but as the criteria are company-defined, anything's possible. Just one more reason to watch what you post, folks."
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"Pre-Crime" Comes To the HR Dept.

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  • Re:Choices (Score:2, Informative)

    by garutnivore ( 970623 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @07:34PM (#33741684)
    Well, if this becomes the norm, you've got a problem. Watch what you post or live the life of a hobo. Yay!
  • by joe_frisch ( 1366229 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @08:34PM (#33742226)

    The mis-identification problem is a big issue. If you have an uncommon but not unique name you can be in trouble. For a while a Google search on my name returned writings of a neo-nazi in Germany. This is of course a problem when people manually search the internet for social information on someone, but there is a tendency to trust results from automated systems because of the assumption that "someone" made sure this problem didn't happen.

  • Re:Choices (Score:3, Informative)

    by Frank T. Lofaro Jr. ( 142215 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @08:38PM (#33742258) Homepage

    Or run your own business.

    That's not illegal (yet).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @09:14PM (#33742552)

    Parent is 100% correct. The score is completely dependent on your financial transactional activities
    There is no "magic" key or bias

    Disclaimer: I work for FICO.

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @10:15PM (#33742942) Homepage

    It's these low end "background checks" and "clearances" that suck. I used to be in the aerospace business, working for a company that did business with the 3-letter agencies. I've been through the clearance process for the higher level clearances. [] At that level, there are real background checks, where Government investigators go out and quiz your neighbors, friends, previous employers, and creditors in person. Fingerprints are taken and checked. Police records are checked. Birth certificates are checked; not only do you have to show yours, they check it against the hospital birth records. There are interrogations, lie detector tests, and an interview with a shrink. The whole process takes about a year.

    But because the high level clearance process is reasonably thorough, it's not as random as the low-end stuff. It's not "competitive", in the hiring sense. There's a limited list of things the security people worry about, and they're the items that, historically, have caused people to sell or give secrets to the enemy - relatives in an enemy country, vulnerability to blackmail, financial problems, gambling or drug or alcohol abuse history. They don't care if your Facebook page makes you look like a jerk.

  • by radarsat1 ( 786772 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:14PM (#33743280) Homepage

    Just one more reason to watch what you post, folks.

    But won't "watching what we post" only serve to lessen the dilution of social media "behaviour", making it even easier for classifiers to pick out outliers?

    Put another way, if we act ashamed of ourselves and play cards close to the chest, won't this simply encourage conformal social behaviour and help to undo the social upheaval of the 60's?

    In other words, while I agree that making yourself look stupid on the internet is not the smartest move, I would also say that asking everyone to "watch what they say" for fear of future repercussion sounds somewhat doubleplusungood [] to me.

    In other words, we need to figure how to let teenagers be teenagers. It scares me, but I agree with Eric Schmidt that it might one day be necessary to let people change their name [] when they get to a certain age, similar to how we let people clean their criminal record at 18.

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) * on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:18PM (#33743304) Journal

    When has "bubble up" economics in a welfare state ever worked?

    Go to Europe some time. Those Northern European socialists are eating the US's lunch, economically.

    Ever been to Israel? There's another Socialist success story.

  • Not quite (Score:3, Informative)

    by BenEnglishAtHome ( 449670 ) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @09:08AM (#33745936)

    They agree that it's totally fair for government employees to retire a full decade before the rest of us, and they agree that only an idiot would rely on Social Security when you can vote yourselves nice pensions funded by the taxpayers.

    Not really.

    The "full decade before the rest of us" part applies in practice to people under the Civil Service Retirement System. That system stopped taking new members more than 25 years ago. If you're in the CSRS and you don't have a mountain of debt that encourages you to continue working for full salary, you can retire at 55. (You can retire even earlier, for a much-reduced pension, if your job is being RIF'd, aka Reduction in Force, the govt equivalent of laying people off. You can also retire after 20 years if you're in a law enforcement position and at least 55 years old.)

    The last CSRS employees are starting to leave the government now. Mostly, they are hanging around past 55 because they can't afford to retire yet. Still, in 10 years, they'll almost all be gone. Any public debt load their pensions represent will then start falling as they die off.

    For the last (nearly) 30 years, federal U.S. govt employees have been under the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS), a hodge-podge of a (very) small pension, a govt version of a 401k, and social security. Theoretically, when all three are added together, employees should be able to retire at 55 with a reasonable income. But such early retirements are never going to be common. In reality, every time most FERS employees look at their retirement options, they realize they're going to have to work a few more years than they hoped before they can afford to retire.

    IOW, the vast majority of federal employees who have been hired in the last three decades are not going to be retiring at 55. Their retirement package, in total, sucks so bad they can't afford to. Some will be thrifty and save additional money outside of their job, then invest wisely. Those folks will be able to retire at 55. Those folks are also, in government and outside of it, pretty rare birds.

    So, yeah, it's theoretically possible for govt employees to "retire a full decade before the rest of us." But the present-day reality is that it's quite uncommon; in the future, govt employees who retire at 55 will be vanishingly rare.

Someday your prints will come. -- Kodak