Friday, April 15, 2011

Privacy Rights and Asking an Employee to Give You Their Facebook Password

By Eric B. Meyer

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how the Maryland Department of Corrections was facing heat from the ACLU for requiring job applicants to divulge their Facebook passwords. It seems that the Department of Corrections has listened (not to me, but to the ACLU).

The ACLU’s statement

Below are sections of the ACLU’s response to the Maryland Department of Corrections’s decision to no longer require Facebook passwords from job applicants as condition of employment.

The government should not ask people to “volunteer” access to their private, personal communications. If the term “chilling effect” describes anything, it describes this. Few job applicants, eager to please a prospective employer, are going to feel genuinely free to decline to give up their information. Under the DOC’s reasoning, it would be equally permissible (and logical) for them to ask that job applicants volunteer to have the DOC monitor all of their calls, read all of their e-mail, look at all of their letters, and search their houses on demand. The fact that no employer would think of “asking” that strongly indicates how improper it is, and how improper this is.”

Click on the "via" link to read the full article.

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