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Employer Demands Facebook Login From Job Applicants 434

Hugh Pickens writes writes "Alex Madrigal reports in the Atlantic that the ACLU has taken up the case of Maryland corrections officer Robert Collins, who was required to provide his Facebook login and password to the Maryland Division of Corrections during a recertification interview so the interviewer could log on to his account and read not only his postings, but those of his family and friends too. 'We live in a time when national security is the highest priority, but it must be delicately balanced with personal privacy,' says Collins. 'My fellow officers and I should not have to allow the government to view our personal Facebook posts and those of our friends, just to keep our jobs.' The ACLU of Maryland has sent a letter to Public Safety Secretary Gary Maynard (PDF) concerning the Division of Correction's blanket requirement that applicants for employment with the division, as well as current employees undergoing recertification, provide the government with their social media account usernames and personal passwords for use in employee background checks. After three weeks the ACLU has received no response."
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Employer Demands Facebook Login From Job Applicants

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  • by meepzorb ( 61992 ) on Saturday February 19, 2011 @02:22PM (#35254636)

    Cue the "no such thing as privacy! glorious free market! employer rights 100% teh awesome! john galt ROX!" posts in three... two... one...

  • Refuse (Score:5, Interesting)

    by syousef ( 465911 ) on Saturday February 19, 2011 @02:24PM (#35254648) Journal

    If you're actually prepared to sue, I'd say refuse to provide the login, and let them terminate you. Then go after them for wrongful dismissal.

  • by a_n_d_e_r_s ( 136412 ) on Saturday February 19, 2011 @02:30PM (#35254688) Homepage Journal

    From []

    Statement of Rights and Responsibilities

    This Statement of Rights and Responsibilities ("Statement") derives from the Facebook Principles, and governs our relationship with users and others who interact with Facebook. By using or accessing Facebook, you agree to this Statement.


    You will not share your password,
      (or in the case of developers, your secret key),
    let anyone else access your account,
    or do anything else that might jeopardize the security of your account.

    So they wanted him to break the Facebook Statement of Rights and Responsibilities ?

  • by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Saturday February 19, 2011 @02:31PM (#35254698)

    A lot of people have the opinion that the ACLU is only about shutting down the speech of Christians/Whites/Men/*insert majority group here.* I think this case proves that not to be the case

    Why exactly? They can still be anti-majority and still support things that are otherwise good. The two are not mutually exclusive.

    I don't think the ACLU goes after majority groups, but they certainly go after somethings that clearly they shouldn't be, but thats the double edge sword of an organization like the ACLU, their viewpoint of civil liberties is different than mine. So when they are for something I agree with, I support them and make others aware of their fight, and when they are going off on some wildly retarded tangent like they so regularly do, I make sure people understand why I think its silly or wrong.

    The same for the EFF, though I must admit the EFF is generally more aligned with my own opinions so its rarer that I disagree with the EFF but it certainly has happened.

    One of the things all Americans (I don't want to speak for other countries though its certainly the same in some others) need to remember is that we all don't have to agree on everything. The only thing we all REALLY need to agree with is that its okay for others to have a differing opinion, and its okay for them to do things we don't really agree with as long as they aren't really bothering or harming anyone else. And that is just about where everyone fails, myself included. Its not always easy to accept someone else's opinion, viewpoint or way of doing things.

  • So, giving out his Facebook password, by violating facebook's terms of service, would make his (and the facility's) access of the facebook a federal crime (by some legal theories and decisions).

    Break a crime as part of a job interview? For a job as a prison guard -- and end up in jail with his former charges??? hell no... better to sue for wrongful dismissal!

  • Re:Balance? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by guyminuslife ( 1349809 ) on Saturday February 19, 2011 @03:43PM (#35255128)

    It's really strange to talk about abuse and rights violations, and the prison guards are on the *receiving* end.

  • by AliasMarlowe ( 1042386 ) on Saturday February 19, 2011 @03:44PM (#35255134) Journal

    So I ask for a Facebook login, but I never look, the only correct answer is 'i don't have one'

    But what if the answer is "I made a load of them, all with my correct name, and abandoned each leaving it empty"?

    That's what I did a couple of years ago, as I have an unusual (and fairly memorable) name. It gives me deniability if some sleaze bag (or another person with the same unusual name) associates a facebook stinkbomb with that name. Mind you, I'd probably just say I don't have a facebook account, anyway, as I've forgotten the passwords and throwaway email addresses that were used to create those accounts. But I suppose facebook still counts them among their $hugenumber of users.

  • by Yvan256 ( 722131 ) on Saturday February 19, 2011 @04:11PM (#35255318) Homepage Journal

    I see Facebook more like a Geocities 2.0

    Except a lot of people who had a website on Geocities also had a minimum of technical knowledge.

  • Re:Why the password? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Bob9113 ( 14996 ) on Saturday February 19, 2011 @04:48PM (#35255504) Homepage

    >> I refuse to support what I consider a complete waste of time and computing resources.

    > So can I have your /. account?

    While I recognize that you were just making a joke, I do think we belittle ourselves more than we deserve.

    This is a forge in which deeply rational insights on public policy are formed. While we bicker and have strong and often emotionally influenced opinions, this is also one of the most analytical and empirical debate forums I know of. I have had my poorly formed opinions corrected, and seen many others post responses conceding an opponent's valid point.

    Far from useless, I see these forums as among the best examples of the promise social networking holds for advancing society. On these pages are formed perspectives baptized in the fires of passion both for one's view and for truth. That the latter, truth, holds such sway here is what sets us above many and makes this meeting place worthy of respect.

  • Re:Why the password? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Xugumad ( 39311 ) on Saturday February 19, 2011 @05:02PM (#35255570)

    "magg", apparently: []

    I worry slightly I spent the time to find that out.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 19, 2011 @05:48PM (#35255770)

    I don't have a clue what you're trying to say. You don't even begin to explain why you made this silly little dummy account on the back of 'thinking of leaving a job'. I can't think of one single thing that you achieved. Well done you, I suppose.

    But that's not why I am writing this reply. No, I reply because I do not think you understand what the word 'spouses' actually means, and it made me smile. I suspect you missed a small but important apostrophe.

  • by gwolf ( 26339 ) <gwolf AT gwolf DOT org> on Saturday February 19, 2011 @08:32PM (#35256750) Homepage

    I also have many friends all over the world, from many different age ranges. I have lived in two countries and travelled quite a bit, and am or was active not only in the Free Software world, but on other communities with much less technical affitions.

    And your points hold also for me. And for most /. readers, I'd venture. I joined Facebook out of curiosity in 2005. Decided not to log in again in 2007. In 2009, I almost missed my high school's 15 year post-graduation gathering, as it was completely organized over Facebook (but I am still in contact with two or three classmates). My girlfriend (who lives 7000Km away and is about to come to my country, yay!) and her family, as well as my family and most of my friends, use Facebook as well.

    Yet, I don't. And I think I have persuaded a couple of my friends not to use Facebook, or to reduce their exposure, the share of personal information they upload.

    Some people will think I'm nuts... But they did so anyway when I told them I didn't want to use Adobe Flash, or MS Windows, or whatnot. Maybe I was born to be statistical noise far off the median, but it just comes natural after some time

  • by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Saturday February 19, 2011 @08:43PM (#35256798) Homepage Journal
    The hula hoop seems to have lasted longer than Facebook has so far. Yes, Facebook is a fad, I've said as much before. Computing is still evolving, and so is the internet. So, Facebook is the biggest, hottest thing right now in "social networking". Big deal. It's still a fad. So is Windows, for that matter.

e-credibility: the non-guaranteeable likelihood that the electronic data you're seeing is genuine rather than somebody's made-up crap. - Karl Lehenbauer