Senators investigate Facebook password privacy allegations

Rue Liu - Mar 27, 2012
Senators investigate Facebook password privacy allegations

Recent reports on the growing trend of employers demanding access to job applicants’ social networks have sparked the interest of government regulators. Two US senators, Richard Blumenthal and Charles E. Schumer, are calling on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Justice for a federal investigation on this personal privacy issue.

“Employers have no right to ask job applicants for their house keys or to read their diaries,” said senator Schumer in a statement. “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?”

There have been increasing reports in recent weeks of employers asking job applicants for their Facebook or Google+ passwords in order to obtain full access to their social network pages as an additional step in the background check process.

After this disturbing practice was publicized in an MSNBC expose, Facebook threatened that it would take legal action against these employers, although it has since said it has no immediate plans to do so. Facebook also followed up by revising its privacy policy, which stirred up another personal privacy firestorm of its own.

“Before this disturbing practice becomes widespread, we must have an immediate investigation into whether the practice violates federal law. I’m confident the investigation will show it does. Facebook agrees, and I’m sure most Americans agree, that employers have no business asking for your Facebook password,” said Schumer.

[via ComputerWorld]

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