Government Job Applicants, College Students Asked to Surrender Facebook Information
March 7, 2012 6:34 PM
comment(s) - last by
Government agencies and colleges are asking students to log onto their Facebook pages and other social networks during interviews
Many use social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter as electronic diaries of sorts, but they might want to think twice about what they post -- colleges and the government are watching.
Some government job seekers and student-athletes have complained that the government agency or college in which they're applying has asked for
access to their Facebook pages
among other social networking sites.
Last year, current employees and applicants to the Maryland Department of Corrections were asked to surrender their emails and passwords in order for employers to access their Facebook pages. This resulted in a complaint from corrections officer Robert Collins, who went to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The ACLU argued that this was an invasion of privacy. The Department of Corrections has since stopped this practice, but found a loophole -- they just ask the applicant to log onto their Facebook accounts right in front of them, giving employers the freedom to browse photos, comments and Walls right in front of the applicant.
"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," said Collins.
The Maryland Department of Corrections defended its practices by saying this type of screen was necessary in order to weed out the bad eggs. For instance, the agency reviewed 2,689 applicants for guard positions and ended up disregarding seven of them due to inappropriate Facebook pictures. According to the agency, the guard applicants were holding up gang symbols using their hands in the pictures.
The Maryland Department of Corrections isn't the only establishment searching social networks for clues as to who they're accepting. The University of North Carolina recently revised its handbook to make it so student-athletes must add a coach or administrator to their friends list on their social networks.
"Each team must identify with at least one coach or administrator who is responsible for
having access to and regularly monitoring the content
of team members' social networking sites and postings," said the handbook revision. "The athletics department also reserves the right to have other staff members monitor athletes' posts."
Bradley Shear, a lawyer from Washington D.C., said that these rules violate the First Amendment, and could also prove to be a liability for schools when watching students' posts.
"I can't believe some people think it's OK to do this," said Shear. "Maybe it's OK if you live in a totalitarian regime, but we still have a Constitution to protect us. It's not a far leap from reading people's Facebook posts to reading their email...As a society, where are we going to draw the line? What if the University of Virginia had been monitoring accounts in the Yeardley Love case and missed signals that something was going to happen? What about the liability the school might have?"
Social networking site Facebook is notorious for compromising user privacy. For instance, Facebook made changes to its privacy settings back in 2009 without telling users, and also introduced invasive features like facial recognition for tagging photos. While
Facebook has been working on increasing the transparency of its privacy controls
and making them easier to use, ACLU is outraged that other entities are stepping in to strip that privacy away once again. In fact, ACLU argued that social media monitoring is against Facebook's
, saying "You will not share your password...let anyone else access your account or do anything else that might jeopardize the security of your account."
"This is an invasion of privacy," said Melissa Goemann, the Maryland ACLU legislative director. "People have so much personal information on their pages now. A person can treat it almost like a diary. And [interviewers and schools] are also invading other people's privacy. They get access to that individual's posts and all their friends. There is a lot of private information there.”
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: Repeat after me:
3/8/2012 9:16:14 AM
I wouldn't, i'm staying well clear of that company and i'll advise the next company who doesn't ask me such silly questions to stay away from the previous company, due to questionable practices.
I'm certainly not going to work for a company i have to sue to get in.
And yes, i don't have a facebook account.
RE: Repeat after me:
3/8/2012 1:50:42 PM
Just because you win an employment discrimination lawsuit against someone does not mean you have to work for them. The point of the lawsuit is punitive (to punish the offender for wrongful behavior), not compensatory (to make whole damages you suffered due to the wrongful behavior).
"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone
Google Caught Bypassing Safari, Internet Explorer Privacy Setting; Claims It Did Nothing Wrong
February 21, 2012, 5:36 PM
January 31, 2012, 11:04 AM
Facebook, FTC Settle Privacy Case
November 30, 2011, 9:46 AM
Facebook Prompts More Privacy Anxieties with Facial Recognition Feature
June 8, 2011, 10:28 AM
Twitter Senior VP: "Diversity is Important, But We Can’t Lower the Bar"
November 9, 2015, 9:59 AM
CNN Resorts to Internet Censorship to Promote Clinton Over Senator Sanders
October 15, 2015, 2:47 PM
Breaking Bad: How to Crash Google's Chrome Browser With Just 8 Characters
September 23, 2015, 11:08 AM
Quick Note: Amazon UK Offers £10 Back on Any Order £50 or Over
August 3, 2015, 12:05 PM
Editorial: Reddit Allows Itself to be Hijacked as a Hate Platform For Racist Bigots
July 21, 2015, 6:32 PM
Mozilla and Facebook to Adobe: It's Time to Kill Flash
July 20, 2015, 6:30 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information