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Old 06-07-2012, 05:05 AM   #16
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Information on Facebook can be restricted from public availability, or limited to friends only. The employers wanted those individuals' personal logins and passwords to peruse information on their accounts that wasn't publicly available but only available to the account holder. You might think that's acceptable, several US jurisdictions don't. There are laws being passed to forbid it.
If it was made clear that providing such information was a condition of employment at that company, I really don't see why the law should get involved. Nobody's forcing anyone to apply for jobs where that is a requirement. In my job, for example, having a government security clearance is a requirement, and that involves checks that go a heck of a lot deeper than checking Facebook accounts. I knew that when I went to work for the company.

If an employer started requesting such information from EXISTING employees, then I agree that it would be unreasonable.
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Old 06-07-2012, 05:42 AM   #17
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If it was made clear that providing such information was a condition of employment at that company, I really don't see why the law should get involved. Nobody's forcing anyone to apply for jobs where that is a requirement. In my job, for example, having a government security clearance is a requirement, and that involves checks that go a heck of a lot deeper than checking Facebook accounts. I knew that when I went to work for the company.

If an employer started requesting such information from EXISTING employees, then I agree that it would be unreasonable.
I thought you were an independent software developer? Anyway some of the lawmakers don't happen to agree with you. For reference here's a story on the problem, Maryland has already banned the practice, a bill to ban it in California has passed committee, New Jersey is somewhere along the process and a bill to ban it on a federal level is to be introduced in the Senate.

It's real easy to take the attitude "no one is forced to apply for jobs where that is a requirement" when you're not the one being forced. Just remember, there are a lot of people with government security clearances who are now out there having to look for a new job. Just because they're faced with a choice between accepting what has been called by the ACLU, among others, "an egregious privacy violation" and feeding their families doesn't make it right and doesn't make it acceptable.

Also if you have any kind of serious government clearance then you can be sure that they will be back to rerun the clearance on existing employees. Hell, we even had renew our criminal record checks when I was a leader in a Scout troop - though no one asked me for my email login. Maybe you should get yours ready though.
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Old 06-07-2012, 05:52 AM   #18
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I thought you were an independent software developer?
I am, but I also work for an employer.

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It's real easy to take the attitude "no one is forced to apply for jobs where that is a requirement" when you're not the one being forced. Just remember, there are a lot of people with government security clearances who are now out there having to look for a new job.
Well, as I say, I am in a job which requires extensive background checks for government security clearance, and I did choose to apply for that job, so clearly there are people like me out there who don't have a problem with the process. My personal view is that, as long as it's a free choice, then there isn't a problem, but I don't expect the law to agree with me .
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Old 06-07-2012, 06:02 AM   #19
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Well, as I say, I am in a job which requires extensive background checks for government security clearance, and I did choose to apply for that job, so clearly there are people like me out there who don't have a problem with the process. My personal view is that, as long as it's a free choice, then there isn't a problem, but I don't expect the law to agree with me .
But we're not talking about that sort of job. We're talking about a situation where employers (and random advertisers) do this sort of check just because they feel like it.
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Old 06-07-2012, 06:04 AM   #20
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But we're not talking about that sort of job. We're talking about a situation where employers (and random advertisers) do this sort of check just because they feel like it.
Yes, I know, but again my personal view (and I know that there will be some who will feel otherwise) is that, as long as it's clearly stated that it's a condition of employment, with that employer, there's no problem. Nobody's forcing anyone to apply for a job where the employer will make such checks. It's all about openness.
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Old 06-07-2012, 06:08 AM   #21
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Yes, I know, but again my personal view (and I know that there will be some who will feel otherwise) is that, as long as it's clearly stated that it's a condition of employment, with that employer, there's no problem. Nobody's forcing anyone to apply for a job where the employer will make such checks. It's all about openness.
Well, the original post is about a situation where they've not only not stated it, but are bypassing restrictions specifically put in place to prevent it.
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Old 06-07-2012, 06:10 AM   #22
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Well, as I say, I am in a job which requires extensive background checks for government security clearance, and I did choose to apply for that job, so clearly there are people like me out there who don't have a problem with the process. My personal view is that, as long as it's a free choice, then there isn't a problem, but I don't expect the law to agree with me .
If you want to be James Bond, or even Q, then that may be fine. However if you look at some of the cases mentioned this is being applied to prison guards, teachers aides, human resource workers, statisticians, online retail workers, Uncle Tom Cobleigh and all.

It's not even a very good technique. It's lazy and just shows that the employers are not prepared to do proper due diligence on a candidate. I could fake up a Facebook account which would make me look wonderful. I could also hide my real Facebook account which documented my career as a drug dealer. I know for a fact that there are thousands of people with my christian and surnames, how are they going to know which account is which? The one and only Facebook account I ever set up wasn't even in that name.

It's a stupid knee-jerk reaction by some idiotic employers who think they should get clued in to "social media" and walk all over peoples privacy in the process. It will also come back to bite them in the ass once the economy improves and that poor schmuck who had no real choice but to comply at his interview says "F*&! You" and leaves to go work for a competitor. It's not a technique I'd adopt to build a happy work force, and I've worked for some sectors which weren't exactly renowned for employee empathy.

Last edited by plib; 06-07-2012 at 06:12 AM.
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Old 06-07-2012, 06:12 AM   #23
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Almost forgot, remember that getting an employees account details allows the employer to forge or alter postings from them. Handy in a dispute no?
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Old 06-07-2012, 06:13 AM   #24
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It's a stupid knee-jerk reaction by some idiotic employers who think they should get clued in to "social media" and walk all over peoples privacy in the process. It will also come back to bite them in the ass once the economy improves and that poor schmuck who had no real choice but to comply at his interview says "F*&! You" and leaves to go work for a competitor. It's not a technique I'd adopt to build a happy work force, and I've worked for some sectors which weren't exactly renowned for employee empathy.
Then it seems to me that it's a situation that the free market will resolve for itself. If people find it unacceptable to be required to provide such information, employers who do require it will find themselves unable to recruit high-quality staff, and will have to change their policy to retain a competitive advantage.
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Old 06-07-2012, 06:20 AM   #25
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Then it seems to me that it's a situation that the free market will resolve for itself. If people find it unacceptable to be required to provide such information, employers who do require it will find themselves unable to recruit high-quality staff, and will have to change their policy to retain a competitive advantage.
Just because they're committing slow suicide doesn't mean they should be allowed to get away with abusing people in the process.
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Old 06-07-2012, 06:30 AM   #26
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Just because they're committing slow suicide doesn't mean they should be allowed to get away with abusing people in the process.
Totally agree
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Old 06-07-2012, 09:50 AM   #27
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Alternatively they could just check people's Facebook pages, where most users seem happy to publish all sorts of information about themselves.
Or any other social media. I don't have a Facebook page because I don't see the point of one, but if I did it would be a bigger threat to privacy than companies that want to optimize the ads.
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Old 06-07-2012, 10:06 AM   #28
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Yes, I know, but again my personal view (and I know that there will be some who will feel otherwise) is that, as long as it's clearly stated that it's a condition of employment, with that employer, there's no problem. Nobody's forcing anyone to apply for a job where the employer will make such checks. It's all about openness.
The problem with that is, for most jobs it's information that shouldn't be needed, yet it wouldn't be long before every employer does it as a matter of course.

Once every employer does it, you can't just not apply for jobs at the companies who invade privacy without good reason. Some companies are not only asking you to login, but to turn over you passwords so they can monitor future usage too (will they extend it to email too? or other websites?)

For some jobs, yes I agree, facebook, email, even home/computer searches would be warranted, but they're not your average job. For most jobs, that information is private and should not be accessible to any employer. If they search your public facebook pages/google your name, fair game.

Still, I partly agree with what you're saying, I also subscribe to the, if you don't like the terms, don't apply for the job line of thought (with the exception of health and safety, which is one of the few reasons I think strikes are important). However, in this case, I can see all companies implementing it as a general policy and really disagree with that.

edit: In response to the free market, yes that's usually the case, but it doesn't always work that way. Those who are "skilled" may be able to pick and choose and companies implementing that policy might lose out and dump it. However, for the majority of workers, there's 1000's more that would take the job in your place, so those companies can get away with it because the 1000's of other applicants are desperate for work.

In a way it's like minimum wage. For skilled workers, the law isn't needed, you just pick/choose your work. For many though, companies could drive wages down to almost nothing and get away with it because there's so many applicants that would take anything they can, they're desperate for work.

Last edited by JoeD; 06-07-2012 at 10:11 AM.
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Old 06-07-2012, 03:54 PM   #29
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It seems to me that with these kinds of secret IDs floating around that the applications can harvest, all kinds of information can be gleaned and collated. When the Facebook, MySpace or any other social network membership is factored in, the name, address, email and more of the person is known and a dossier of that person can be created.

A stockbroker interest in certain companies can be tracked.
People's interest in porn can be tracked.
Coaches interest in certain players can be tracked.
.. and so on.

If I am a Personnel Director or a Manager in a company and I am about to make a big hire, and my company policy prevents me from officially checking on Facebook type things, I will hire a third party, a company that has given good results before and say to them "hey look at this guy or gal and tell me if there are problems and of course don't do anything illegal."

Holy cow, he looks at kiddie porn? Has great interest in reports of child abuse!
I think that would indicate a "no go" and rightly so, but it could be used for other stuff like:

How many times did my potential VP for Finance, with a stellar family and church life, go to 3 different online dating/mating/hookup sites?

He seems to have a big gambling presence and he is in my Finance Dept?
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Old 06-08-2012, 07:57 AM   #30
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An on topic article from ArsTechnica:

Your iPhone calendar isn't private—at least if you use the LinkedIn app

I can actually see that creating some serious waves in a corporate or government environment.
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