Colleges and Employers Now Requiring Applicants' Facebook Passwords

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Colleges and Employers Now Requiring Applicants' Facebook Passwords

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A new investigation has revealed that more and more institutions across the United States are requiring personal social media passwords from potential students and employees. Legally.

It may be difficult to accept, but as it stands, it is completely legal for an employer to ask for your Facebook password or similar during an interview, or as a stipulation of you accepting a potential position. And it's not just the corporate world; nationwide schools (most notably college athletics programs) have started doing the same, forcing students to relinquish all personal data, information, and history ever posted within their private online accounts. MSNBC has begun an investigation into some of these practices, and the results of its inquiries are a collection of what would be considered very disturbing anecdotes to advocates of privacy.

In Maryland's government-run Department of Corrections, for example, those seeking jobs are faced with a very awkward section of their first interview. They are placed in front of a computer, and told to log into their Facebook account while the interviewer guides them through their past posts, photos, and friend's list from over their shoulder. Previously, MSNBC reports, applicants were asked to simply surrender their username and password to the facility management, but changed its practice to the more "moderate" version just described after numerous complaints from the ACLU.

The investigation has also revealed various colleges across the country employing a similarly invasive system as part of their athletics programs. Often, if you want to play for the school, you'll need agree to "friending" a "coach or compliance officer" on Facebook who will be given access to all personal posts without privacy provisions. Some institutions have even begun working with companies specializing in software packages that automate the system, offering what's called a "reputation scoreboard" that sends a student's compliance officer "threat level" warnings about the nature of his or her social networking activity.

The report even cited recent changes to multiple official college handbooks, such as the following excerpt from the University of North Carolina: "Each team must identify 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," it reads. "The athletics department also reserves the right to have other staff members monitor athletes' posts."

Currently, this practice is completely legal, though some lawyers are claiming it a major violation of First Amendment rights, comparing the practice to requiring students or employees to allow monitoring audio bugs in their houses. Such concerns have thus far caused only a few states such as Illinois and Maryland to, at the very least, examine legislation that would prevent the practice, but some people, such as D.C. lawyer Bradley Shear, thinks national attention is required, and fast.

"We need a federal law dealing with this," Shear said. "After 9/11, we have a culture where some people think it's OK for the government to be this involved in our lives, that it's OK to turn everything over to the government. But it's not. We still have privacy rights in this country, and we still have a Constitution."

Source: MSNBC.com

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What the actual fuck. This is stuuuuuuuupid.

I guess for the time being, people could just set up an "alternate" Facebook account and friend a couple of close relatives... and just say that THAT was their real account. I dunno.

Solution: don't use Facebook. Nobody gives a shit about what you just ate or the song lyrics you just posted anyway.

These are the moments where I am severely undecise about not having a Facebook account. Does that mean soon I won't be able to get a job? Fuck that!

This is completely wrong.

Luckily I never post on Facebook, only use it for inboxing and stuff, but god, I would not want my job looking at some of the stuff I say there.

It's pretty much like asking for your email address, or to go through your phone. It doesn't have a place.

Fr]anc[is:
Solution: don't use Facebook. Nobody gives a shit about what you just ate or the song lyrics you just posted anyway.

Saldy FB is a massive part of social life nowadays, keeping in the loop with people and stuff. I only use it to attend events and inbox people, cos it save A LOT of money on texting, but you know. It's useful, just posting stuff is idiotic.

This is nasty! This is REALLY FREAKIN NASTY!!

I do not approve of this, I really don't.

It's one thing for your employer to google you, but this? This is invasion of privacy.

What's next, telescreens in our homes?

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Dear US of A,

Get this. Soon.

Root.

PS. Otherwise, ditch Bookface or at least get another account.

This is insane, it would be like your boss asking to look through your mail or tap your phone.

Wow this is weird, I don't use any social media but this is still ridiculous, this is like asking for my e-mail address and password

Easy solution though just get everyone to refuse and they can't do anything about it

EDIT/ double post, sorry

When it comes to giving up your password, I expect that's not at all a legal grounds for discrimination, because doing so is a violation of the terms of agreement you sign when you sign up for facebook. It isn't legal for one company to force you to break contract with another company, and if somebody tries to force you to do that, and then refuses you the job on the basis that you won't, I believe you have grounds to sue for damages.

That said, requiring that you 'friend' somebody is entirely legal. Highly creepy, but legal. And I'd strongly suggest to anyone that if an organization requires this, you very strongly consider going elsewhere and telling them exactly why.

DJ_DEnM:
These are the moments where I am severely undecise about not having a Facebook account. Does that mean soon I won't be able to get a job? Fuck that!

Don't have one myself. The only social media of that nature I have is my friend made me a twitter account to enter into some PCMagazine thing for a computer, or something.

I honestly wouldn't give it up, to me that'd be the same as giving them my skype or steam password. I'd have to trust them not to fuck things up, and I trust almost no one.

I'd like to see the sorry sap who asks me for my password to a community site. Then I'd like to see his face when I answer his absurd question. Then I'll see what they have to say when I ask for the keys to their home and access to their phone.

Just because they are doing it doesn't make it legal. They are in grey area right now and getting away with it cause no one is going against it, but when this starts to blow up you will be damn sure that the people that had to deal with this is going to get some compensation from a settlement.

That should definitely be illegal. I wouldn't mind handing mine over for the content it has within it (Literally nothing, I made one to grab some pictures of an event) but on principle I'd tell them to swivel on it.

This is phenomenally stupid. What the hell are they going to find? The annoying prats from high school I don't talk to at all? The snarky jokes and amusing images I send to my friends? The ignorant racist rantings of the mother of my friend? Whoop-de-frickin-doo? Nuts to that. I'll friend you, if you require it, but I'm sure as hell not giving you my password.

It occurs to me that I don't even remember it, seeing as I only access the thing from one computer, and just have it set to remember me. Wonder if they would believe that.

Mike Kayatta:
A new investigation has revealed that more and more institutions across the United States are requiring personal social media passwords from potential students and employees. Legally.

Sort of like how the guys at Penny Arcade were discussing how you can't ask if someone smokes but can ask them how they'd feel if they weren't able to take smoke breaks. Or like how one employer asked me how many sick days I'd be taking per year if I got the job. And then there's the story of a bank with a draconian dress code that responded to complaints about interfering with its employees' personal lives by changing the "no facial hair" requirement to "no facial hair during working hours".

And I'd lose out on these things because I don't have Facebook account. And some people don't remember their passwords because their browser does it for them. I'm considering making a dummy account for if I ever need to go looking for a job.

Giving up privacy means giving up control of your life, because suddenly you have to live like someone else with power over you wants you to. No one seems to realize that because they're told that privacy is the opposite of safety, not control. (Edit: Fixed my antonym problems.)

Mike Kayatta:
"We need a federal law dealing with this," Shear said. "After 9/11, we have a culture where some people think it's OK for the government to be this involved in our lives,

You have a law being proposed that divides the public into "registered sex offenders" and "unregistered sex offenders". Airports treat everyone like criminals while managing to miss all the actual criminals, and the TSA is trying to scope creep into even more of your life. I think it's safe to say that most people think it's OK.

Mike Kayatta:
that it's OK to turn everything over to the government. But it's not. We still have privacy rights in this country, and we still have a Constitution."

If you've done nothing wrong you've got nothing to fear.
If you've something to hide, you shouldn't even be here.
You've had your chance, now we've got the mandate,
If you've changed your mind I'm afraid it's too late.

Don't worry Americans, you can use your freedom to bear arms to prevent this, like your always banging on about.

The_root_of_all_evil:
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Dear US of A,

Get this. Soon.

Root.

PS. Otherwise, ditch Bookface or at least get another account.

I second this.

That is seriously messed up. If I went to an interview and my potential employers where demanding personal information like this I would not want to work for them and would say as much in the interview.

Say you don't have an account? Make an alternate one? What if you really don't have one? So many ways this is BS.

What if I don't have a facebook account?

Wow...I would say "good thing I'm on my way out of Maryland" but I never tried getting those kinds of jobs anyway. I wonder what would happen if you don't have a Facebook, Twitter, etc...

Step one: Use a fake name for Facebook
Step two: Write "I don't use Facebook" where it asks on your application
Step three: ???
Step four: Profit!

Seriously, what are they going to do? Refuse to hire you because you don't use Facebook? I'm no lawyer yet but I would hazard to guess that aside from a few specific tech jobs that would be filed under discriminatory hiring practices and lead to many a law suit.

While I believe everybody is responsible what they put on the internet and can't expect full privacy anywhere in the virtual word, this seems stretching it a bit. I don't use Facebook, and as such would probably stand a lot less chance of getting a job at these businesses. Regardless of my qualities.

That's what's really wrong here.

I would tell them I don't have one.

Slayer_2:
Say you don't have an account? Make an alternate one? What if you really don't have one? So many ways this is BS.

Obviously, this is intended to weed out stupid people, not devious ones.

What about other sites like MySpace? Hell, what about messageboards like this one? Do they need to know if I've ever entered the Photoshop contests at Something Awful or B3ta? This smacks of hoary old farts deciding that this here FaceSpace doohicky is clearly a worry, and as upright citizens, they clearly have a right to root through other people's stuff.

Although as one of Formica Archonis's articles up there pointed out, perhaps they would change their tune about 'nothing to hide' if you asked them to strip naked and answer a series of deeply personal questions about their sex life. Being allowed some peace and quiet and not having the quirks of your personal life sneered over and prodded at is a pretty basic right, not to mention good manners.

But more to the point, the whole purpose of a job interview is to judge how well a person could do that job; how you present yourself, what you say and what you put on your CV is all that is relevant. Someone might think I was wasting my life LARPing at weekends and playing Team Fortress every night, but since neither of those have anything to do with my professional skills and presentation, it's none of their business to know that stuff. Saying that people shouldn't use Facebook completely misses why this is happening, and what the real issue is.

Irridium:
What if I don't have a facebook account?

Then clearly you don't exist and aren't a real person, because everyone has a Facebook account these days.

The_root_of_all_evil:
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Dear US of A,

Get this. Soon.

Root.

PS. Otherwise, ditch Bookface or at least get another account.

Getting another mock account could be the solution :D

Well... I don't actually use facebook... so if someone asked me for infomation... what would I d- Oh wait I'm in the UK and have the Data Protection Act looking after me :)

WOOHOO! Go Shear! I'm of the opinion that lawyers usually put their mouth where their money is, or rather the money they hope to gain, but I'm OK with it as long as long as they're doing it on my side.
I can completely understand this sort of thing, but only in government circles. In that instance, vetting and full disclosure are part of the course, since anything that can be used to judge or even sue an individual can drag the administration down with it. And, more imporantly, people have a right to an honest representation of their leaders.
But if this sort of thing leaked to a corporate level, then it's a hefty invasion of privacy, such as the whole college situation. The academic and athletic abilities of an individual have no association with their private social activities, digital or otherwise.
Moreover, I don't think the audio bugs comparison is an apt one, but it's definitely in the same category with the secrecy of correspondance statutes, which may not officialy exist in the United States, but are certainly supported by the Supreme Court under the Fourth Amendment rights.
To be honest, I think the lack of legal infrastructure concerning digital matters is abominable, considering the prominence of these matters in our modern-day society. I believe there should be more oversight surrounding both the issues of copyright violation and privacy invasion.

Thankfully I live in "good ol Blighty" so this

The_root_of_all_evil:
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Dear US of A,

Get this. Soon.

Is me, but I don't and never have, used facebook, if I want to chat with friends we go out for a beer, and the whole arguement of "old high school friends that can track you down", I don't want to be tracked down!

Orange12345:
Wow this is weird, I don't use any social media but this is still ridiculous, this is like asking for my e-mail address and password

Easy solution though just get everyone to refuse and they can't do anything about it

Unfortunately, the US is still in such economic duress that jobs are scarce and many people will put up w this shit just for the money. Once/if the job market returns to pre-crash levels or recovers significantly, most businesses will do whatever they want.

Today's businesses:
You don't want this job? W/e the 100 other people who applied do, and I see that they love kitties and their Aunt just had a hysterectomy; Hired!

Well, joke's on you, multiple institutions. I don't have a Facebook account. And, uh, don't live in the US, so I can't even apply for any of you! HOW ABOUT THAT

Formica Archonis:
one employer asked me how many sick days I'd be taking per year if I got the job

"One for each day that I'm sick."
Alternatively:
"More than I'll take if I don't get the job."

Doctor_Fruitbat:
Although as one of Formica Archonis's articles up there pointed out, perhaps they would change their tune about 'nothing to hide' if you asked them to strip naked and answer a series of deeply personal questions about their sex life.

Glad I could provide something of note.:) And I have actually asked people who "have nothing to hide" if they'd tell me their credit card numbers & SIN (SSN for Americans). When they refuse, I ask why they're hiding something. It shuts down the argument quite fast if the person has any level of personal insight, but most of the people with that as a mantra are policymakers who never let themselves get into a debate in the first place.

Wow thats fucked up. I thought it was 2012, not fucking 1984.
When did the US get taken over by China?

But eh, don't effect me. I would just make a fake account since my real facebook is nothing but fucked up racist/sexist/dead baby jokes and pics of half nekkid wimmens.

Bymidew:

Slayer_2:
Say you don't have an account? Make an alternate one? What if you really don't have one? So many ways this is BS.

Obviously, this is intended to weed out stupid people, not devious ones.

Apparently, only the most technologically illiterate people who willingly give out their information to any online account. Lie or make a fake account, that's the beauty of the internet.

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