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Senators Ask Feds To Probe Facebook Log-in Requests 396

thomst writes "Cnet's Michelle Meyers reports that democratic senators Richard Blumenthal and Charles Schumer have asked the Justice Department to investigate what they call a 'new disturbing trend' of prospective employers demanding job applicants to turn over user names and passwords for their social networks. 'Employers have no right to ask job applicants for their house keys or to read their diaries — why should they be able to ask them for their Facebook passwords and gain unwarranted access to a trove of private information about what we like, what messages we send to people, or who we are friends with?' asked Schumer. Last Friday, in response to complaints from employees, Facebook published a post expressing its opposition to the practice, which it said undermines both the security and the privacy of the user and the user's friends. Erin Egan, the company's chief privacy officer for policy, offered that employers who demand password information for prospective employees might just end up getting sued."
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Senators Ask Feds To Probe Facebook Log-in Requests

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  • by concealment ( 2447304 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @10:29AM (#39473989) Homepage Journal

    This is a public service announcement with some food for thought regarding Facebook and similar sites.

    Do not post anything on these sites that you do not want the world to know!

    1. User agreements. Almost all of these sites retain ownership to what you post. They can re-sell or re-publish the material later, like Twitter, and there is no guarantee that your privacy settings will be intact.

    2. Follow the money. Search engine advertising is falling because it is not targeted, but social networks are easily targeted for advertising. Your data will be sold, and if it's anonymized, there's no guarantee that the anonymization will be done so completely that it won't be easy to correlate your anonymized data to your public profiles.

    3. It's easy to get to your data. If your friends let in someone who's crazy, that data will be public.

    4. Security is not guaranteed. These sites can get hacked and their data published, a la Wikileaks. Even if the data isn't public, it will be for sale to people including the security firms that your future employers will want.

    5. People are stupid. They think it's funny, and they re-share your stunts and exploits, and then there's the picture of you naked beer bonging on your supervisor's desk.

    Think defensively and don't trust large corporations like Google and Facebook with your data.

  • by Oswald McWeany ( 2428506 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @10:34AM (#39474049)

    I am not on slashdot.

    Oswald McWeany is on slashdot. Oswald McWeany is just a random name taken from combining two names on a children's TV show with a "Mc" thrown in for fun. Good luck connecting my real name to Oswald.

    Even my e-mail account that created the Oswald McWeany account uses a different made-up-name.

  • by mahler3 ( 577336 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @10:35AM (#39474063)
    If you give a prospective employer your password, you're proving that you can't be trusted. Mike Loukides said it well. [oreilly.com]
  • by Mistlefoot ( 636417 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @10:36AM (#39474069)
    You can be fired in most jurisdictions for lying on a resume, if it's proven, so I'd be carefull with that.

    Facebooks Terms of Use prevent you from providing your password to another. "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."
    Anyone using Facebook agrees with this the same as they do any other EULA or agreement. Any potential employer who requests your password is asking you to break the legal agreement that you have with Facebook before you can work for them.
  • by Lucky75 ( 1265142 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @10:39AM (#39474117)
    99.9% of the people who don't have facebook are anti-social nuts?
  • by Jessified ( 1150003 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @10:39AM (#39474125)

    I think the way I would put it is this:

    "I'm going to say no to you, potential employer, and here is why you should hire me over those who applicants who comply. When people add me as a friend and grant me access to their page, they are trusting me with information. When they contact me privately, they are trusting me not to share what they say. If, in the future, I were to leave this company and a future company asked me for confidential secrets regarding your business, you would rightfully expect that I would decline to cooperate. The fact that I am risking an employment opportunity by declining to cooperate with you here shows you that I am a trustworthy person, even under duress, and other candidates who cooperate with you are not so much."

  • by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @10:56AM (#39474321) Homepage Journal

    Fortunately this past week has seen many groups and legislators in Canada confirming that asking for Facebook passwords is illegal here. It's an invasion of privacy, what would be in American terms an "unwarranted search and seizure" by someone who not only has no warrant, but isn't even law enforcement.

  • by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @11:01AM (#39474391) Homepage Journal

    The relevant clause of our Charter of Rights [justice.gc.ca] in Canada:

    8. Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure.

As of next Tuesday, C will be flushed in favor of COBOL. Please update your programs.