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Facebook: Legal Action Against Employers Asking For Your Password

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the nip-this-in-the-bud dept.

Facebook 504

An anonymous reader writes "Facebook today weighed in on the issue of employers asking current and prospective employees for their Facebook passwords. The company noted that doing so undermines the privacy expectations and the security of both the user and the user's friends, as well as potentially exposes the employer to legal liability. The company is looking to draft new laws as well as take legal action against employers who do this." A least one U.S. Senator agrees with them.

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i would love to sue my boss for that (5, Funny)

drodal (1285636) | more than 2 years ago | (#39453715)

it would be fun. Help me facebook.

Re:i would love to sue my boss for that (5, Interesting)

mcavic (2007672) | more than 2 years ago | (#39453965)

Your comment reminds me of when my company did layoffs:
Employer: ... and an extra two weeks of severance if you agree not to sue us.
Employee: Wait... I can sue you?

But now... (4, Insightful)

vjl (40603) | more than 2 years ago | (#39453717)

...employers will just ask potential employees to accept their HR staff's friend request, as the article yesterday stated. But one could easily get around that by making sure the HR staff is in a Facebook list that has no access to a user's wall/timeline and other info. Still, seems like the employer wouldn't like that and they would find some way to get the employee to let HR in. :(

Re:But now... (4, Informative)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 2 years ago | (#39453811)

And a company has the ability to say, "hey we don't want to hire you." As the article states you could sue for discrimination. But in this economy that has as about as much chance as snowball in hell. IMO the reality is that with social networks whether or not it is "private" you are putting information out that could get in the wrong person's hands.

Since the beginning of the web (I started developing websites around the beginning of 95) I have been ever careful of what I put out... The key is to make it look "real", but not enough to make you look bad.

Re:But now... (5, Interesting)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | more than 2 years ago | (#39453871)

We do have another alternative, as unlikely a road to victory as it may seem. We can create a PR storm targeting the company using twitter and other social networks to call a company out on its privacy violating ways. Even a year ago I would have ignored the various online petitions and such as not having actual power. But the recent victories against Bank of America and Verizon have really got me thinking. Perhaps if a company is big enough or the violation flagrant enough to garner some buzz, there is a way to punish companies for misbehavior.

Re:But now... (5, Interesting)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#39454037)

It's actually easier to sue for discrimination if you allow them full access. They'll suddenly know your age, political preference, your other-racial significant other, sexual preference, etc. Plenty of fertile ground for lawsuits.

Re:But now... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39453813)

Create another FB account solely for work purposes. And when the HR rep b-tches about that, tell them the HR rep's FB account is obviously a work account and not the HR rep's actual personal FB account.

Re:But now... (5, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#39453903)

Or better yet - don't have a Facebook account.

Re:But now... (3, Funny)

compro01 (777531) | more than 2 years ago | (#39453925)

But then you're a anti-social and therefore likely to go on a shooting rampage.

Re:But now... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39454105)

Or better yet - don't have a Facebook account.

I don't. However, I've heard of people who tell their interviewers they don't have one, only to be accused by said interviewer of pretending they don't have one just to not give the information out. And it's standard procedure to get that information, so they won't be hired unless they do.

I'd like to say that I wouldn't want to work for such a place anyway, and I'd hold out for as long as I could if unemployed. That said, at some point that money you saved for a rainy day starts to run out, and people will sacrifice their principles to put food on the table.

Re:But now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39454247)

What is this rainy day money of which you speak?

Re:But now... (3, Funny)

EvilBudMan (588716) | more than 2 years ago | (#39454187)

Yeah just give them your /. password instead.

Re:But now... (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 2 years ago | (#39454031)

Create another FB account solely for work purposes.

Sure, but that seems like an awful lot of work when a simple, "No." will suffice.

Re:But now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39453819)

...employers will just ask potential employees to accept their HR staff's friend request, as the article yesterday stated. But one could easily get around that by making sure the HR staff is in a Facebook list that has no access to a user's wall/timeline and other info. Still, seems like the employer wouldn't like that and they would find some way to get the employee to let HR in. :(

I'm sorry but I don't know your HR staff. Before I accept them as a friend may I see the background check results for them? As well as anyone else who may be accessing my page from this company? I have to be careful about who may have contact with my young relatives.

Re:But now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39453829)

The solution is to tell that employer to fuck off and go find work somewhere else if they don't like it. It's the only solution and it has the advantage of working every time.

Re:But now... (2)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#39453917)

The solution is to tell that employer to fuck off and go find work somewhere else if they don't like it.

Have you come across any employers who do like to be told to fuck off?

Re:But now... (2)

lynnae (2439544) | more than 2 years ago | (#39454067)

I believe that's the point

If an employer is so cavalier with personally identifiable information that they would ask for your password to a social media site, they probably can't be trusted to keep your employment records, including your SS and your bank information, secure either.

Re:But now... (5, Funny)

SilentStaid (1474575) | more than 2 years ago | (#39454099)

Have you come across any employers who do like to be told to fuck off?

Yes, but I work in a specialized industry. If you'll excuse me, I have 13 more movies to finish by the end of the week.

Re:But now... (1)

Eponymous Hero (2090636) | more than 2 years ago | (#39454151)

have you come across any employees who like to be hired on the predication that they give up their facebook privacy? where were you going with that argument? if everyone tells these kind of employers to fuck off, they won't have anyone to hire. the key is to nip this in the bud.

Re:But now... (2, Insightful)

rhook (943951) | more than 2 years ago | (#39453975)

At which point you inform them that you do not have a Facebook account because you are not in high school.

Re:But now... (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 2 years ago | (#39454227)

At which point you find out likening your prospective manage to a high schooler is a really dumb interview strategy.

This seems like common sense... (1)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | more than 2 years ago | (#39453725)

...but when it comes to businesses, I guess that goes out the window.

wait... (2)

FrozenFood (2515360) | more than 2 years ago | (#39453729)

facebook is making laws?!
wtf

Re:wait... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39453799)

Anyone can draft a law. Even Reddit. Even you. Then that party needs to convince a member of the House or Senate to introduce it, and then both need to pass it, and the President needs to sign it, and (if applicable) the Supreme Court needs to uphold it. Take a Civics class.

facebook writes laws? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39453731)

Ohhhhhh really thats not good but the USA is a plutocracy...

Ever actually happened? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39453737)

Has a single company that has done this been identified by name? Every article I've seen does NOT mention any name, making it sound more anecdotal than factual.

Re:Ever actually happened? (1)

drodal (1285636) | more than 2 years ago | (#39453781)

facebook was mentioned. They say that the number of complaints about this are skyrocketing....

Re:Ever actually happened? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39453847)

I agree with the parent poster. Without anyone naming the companies doing this, it will just be dismissed as an urban legend.

But if it is true: If an employer is stupid enough to try to force a potential employee to break a terms of use agreement, what does that say about any agreement they want the employee to agree to? That they are to be taken lightly?

So, if anyone knows anything else, name the companies so that we can avoid them like the plague. I don't care much for Facebook, but any companies with practices as stupid as these deserve to get a beating.

Re:Ever actually happened? (4, Informative)

DanTheStone (1212500) | more than 2 years ago | (#39453851)

Re:Ever actually happened? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39453899)

I was told that reading the article was considered poor etiquette here.

Re:Ever actually happened? (3, Informative)

noh8rz3 (2593935) | more than 2 years ago | (#39453853)

Has a single company that has done this been identified by name? Every article I've seen does NOT mention any name, making it sound more anecdotal than factual.

maryland department of corrections was screening guards this way. Looking for gang signs. West Coooast! *does the twisted finger thing* http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/22/aclu-facebook-password_n_1372242.html [huffingtonpost.com] .

Facebook in a lather about users' privacy?! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39453741)

Wait, what? Facebook interceding to protect the privacy of its users?

We're going to need to wear our long underwear to that flying pig cookout in Hell.

Re:Facebook in a lather about users' privacy?! (1)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#39454055)

Don't kid yourself, they don't give a rat's ass about your privacy.

They just know that 85% of Facebook traffic comes from work and they don't want anymore unemployed.

Re:Facebook in a lather about users' privacy?! (2)

Githaron (2462596) | more than 2 years ago | (#39454191)

They just don't want someone else to have your information without first getting paid. I am sure they would gladly sell your information to your prospective employer if they thought they could get away with it.

What happens when the answer is "mu?" (2)

hiryuu (125210) | more than 2 years ago | (#39453745)

I find myself curious as to what these (current or prospective) employers do with candidates who, assuming they meet all other criteria for the job, don't have social media accounts? That's one I haven't seen addressed in the various articles that have discussed this topic in recent weeks.

Re:What happens when the answer is "mu?" (4, Insightful)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 2 years ago | (#39453905)

What happens when the answer is "mu?"

They will be suspicious that you are lying and not hire you. Or they will think you are a technophobe and not hire you. Or they will think you are a cow and not hire you. That may sound unreasonable, but if they were reasonable, they would not ask for the information in the first place.

Ooh! Ooh! Simple Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39453749)

Don't join fucking FacePlace

Re:Ooh! Ooh! Simple Solution (4, Insightful)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | more than 2 years ago | (#39453849)

As I posted in a similar story discussion, this will just become an HR screen checkbox requirement that will play out like this:
"Please provide your FacePlace login information here."
"I don't use FacePlace."
"Right. Applicant failed to produce FacePlace login information."

Re:Ooh! Ooh! Simple Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39453967)

Modding "insightful" in lieu of "sad but true" moderation.

Sorry, what? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39453755)

Facebook concerned about users privacy?

Sad panda day (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#39453761)

"At least one US senator agrees."

So put another way, only one US senator agrees. The rest have been well-paid to support anything desired by anyone carrying the title "employer".

(sings). Take this job and Shove it (4, Funny)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39453763)

You can't have my password no more.....

How about this? (5, Interesting)

olsmeister (1488789) | more than 2 years ago | (#39453783)

Make part of the Facebook login process to enter your your race, age, marital status, or other things that it is illegal for employers to ask you about in an interview. If they ask you to log in for them, you can claim that that is a form of asking you that information and is not allowed.

Re:How about this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39454133)

It's not illegal to ask these questions; it's illegal to use those characteristics as a basis for hiring decisions. Ergo, it makes no sense to ask such questions. (IANAL)

Re:How about this? (1)

Githaron (2462596) | more than 2 years ago | (#39454241)

Why not just write a script that changes your Facebook password with a random string and saves it for later? If they ask you for you password, you can honestly tell them that you don't know it. Later, you look-up the password that the script saved for you.

Already illegal (5, Interesting)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 2 years ago | (#39453797)

If you have a good lawyer, you can probably sue them already. In most facebook accounts, people provide a lot of information that it is illegal for the employer to ask about - age, gender, race, sexuality. Employers can't ask these questions, and similarly, they can't ask questions that they know will reveal that information. We don't really need a new law, just a smart lawyer

Re:Already illegal (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#39454009)

How do you prove they actually asked these questions?

"Nope, never asked him for his Facebook password. We found a candidate who was more suited to the corporate culture and declined to hire Mr. Jenkins."

Re:Already illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39454119)

easy to prove. facebooks logs ips of people logging in. subpoena facebook login information, and now the HR drone who lied in court is liable for perjury.

Re:Already illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39454069)

IANAL but I am under the impression that certain questions/rules/regulations are mandated by federal law provided the company employs more than 50 people. If this is true (and I'm not sure it is), would state laws apply? And if state law did not have these prohibitions, then it would be permissible.

Anyway you raise a good point about searching the internet in general -- the employer may come across information that they are otherwise prohibited from directly acquiring from applicants!

And what if an employer went into the parking lot for the purpose of examining the applicant's car for the presence of bumper stickers, ashtray full of cigarette butts, etc. -- again, acquiring information from applicants that is otherwise prohibited!

All the more reason for one to start their own business!

Re:Already illegal (1)

EvilBudMan (588716) | more than 2 years ago | (#39454269)

How many of those lawsuits you have just mentioned have ever been won. If it's a sizable company they would tie you up with their lawyers until the day you would die. Smart lawyers cost lots of money, more than most have.

Now if they made it a criminal offense with jail time, it'd be different. Then you could call the cops.

You need a new law for this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39453807)

Seems Bullshit really, current laws such as your basic rights cover this don't they?

In Europe your company will end up in the cleaners if you do something like this (except in the UK where they ask your religion, your sexual preference, your race etc - Northern Ireland "positive discrimination" employment laws and also can require blood drug tests for software jobs! No I am not joking, they CAN and DO do this, tracking employee race, religon, sexual preference is the LAW for companies with 5 or more employees in Northern Ireland. Talk about backwards!).

Re:You need a new law for this? (3, Informative)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#39453977)

except in the UK where they ask your religion, your sexual preference, your race etc.

True, but it always says "you do not have to supply this information" then something about not doing so won't affect your likelihood of getting a job but that they hope you will because it helps them monitor their diversity.

Weeding out potential staff... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39453809)

... with good computer security habits is the main thing asking for their facebook password will acheive.

If they are prepared to hand out personal passwords at work, they are probably not going to give a second thought handing their work password to colleagues.

My content is public (2)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#39453815)

My content is posted publicly, but many of my friends don't do the same.

So for me to give out my password to a prospective employee would only gain them the ability to spy on people who aren't even applying for the job!

So if you want my password, get a warrant. And if you can't get a warrant because you're not law enforcement, who the hell are you to be asking in the first place?

Re:My content is public (1)

cellocgw (617879) | more than 2 years ago | (#39454025)

So if you want my password, get a warrant. And if you can't get a warrant because you're not law enforcement, who the hell are you to be asking in the first place?
In a rational country that might work. Sadly, that's exactly the argument against drug screening of all job applicants, and so far it has stopped exactly zero employers from requiring drug screening.

Re:My content is public (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#39454185)

I've been drug-screened a grand total of ZERO times in the US or Canada.

I expect to receive as many requests for my Facebook password as I have requests for drug tests.

Which is to say, none.

Because the companies I apply with treat their employees as people not slaves or cattle.

Re:My content is public (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39454123)

I would be very surprised if law enforcement needed a warrant to view your Facebook profile.

Re:My content is public (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#39454221)

Property is property. As long as Canada and the US buy into the concept of "intellectual" property, my web presence and accounts are protected by the same laws as the content of my home.

Sure, it's easier for someone to abuse their authority and badger an ISP or web service provider into giving up the info, but they know as well as I do that they're required to get a warrant.

Of course both the Canadian Conservatives and certain segments of the US government would LIKE to be able to spy without the pesky warrants, they've been blocked from doing so in Canada. I'm not so sure it's still the same stateside, though it SHOULD be if the Constitution is worth more than a piece of tissue paper.

Re:My content is public (1)

rhook (943951) | more than 2 years ago | (#39454159)

They want your password so that they can see content that would never be public, such as private messages.

current laws and terms of service (3, Interesting)

Nyall (646782) | more than 2 years ago | (#39453825)

Since the current laws about unauthorized network/computer access are vague enough to include doing something against any website's terms of service couldn't FB just put it their TOS? Then setup a bounty or whistle blower reporting system.

Re:current laws and terms of service (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39453993)

If you used someone's access credentials to access a system you didn't have explicit permission to (like that granted by the FB sign up process), you'd be hit with a violation of the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act. How is this any different?

Sure, I'll give you that FB password... (5, Insightful)

kbob88 (951258) | more than 2 years ago | (#39453831)

Right after you give me the root password to the company's servers!

Seems like a fair trade to me...

Re:Sure, I'll give you that FB password... (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 2 years ago | (#39453909)

I imagine your usage of that password will be just as ethical as theirs, too. So yeah, fair trade.

Re:Sure, I'll give you that FB password... (4, Funny)

kbob88 (951258) | more than 2 years ago | (#39454145)

I imagine your usage of that password will be just as ethical as theirs, too. So yeah, fair trade.

Oh, completely ethical! Trust me! I just want to validate you all are a company that I want to be part of. As part of that analysis, I'll be poking around your servers to ensure that you have the proper security, logging, and auditing set up correctly. And review your financial and accounting software. And I want to make sure that you're friends with the right sort of other companies, and that you're not posting any inappropriate or obscene files on your servers, of course. Don't want to join a company and later have it blow up in a security or financial scandal. I mean really, I can't afford to have my reputation tarnished by being associated with *that* kind of company, can I?

Re:Sure, I'll give you that FB password... (3, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#39454033)

Right after you give me the root password to the company's servers!

Seems like a fair trade to me...

Um, no.
I have the root password to the company's servers. It's sort of required when being a senior sysadmin.

But the company has no right to my private accounts, any more than I have the right to access the CEOs or HR people's private accounts.
I don't have a FB account, so that one is rather easy not to give them. But if they asked for another non-work account, I'd report them to the company's ethical hotline.

Re:Sure, I'll give you that FB password... (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#39454045)

Right after you give me the root password to the company's servers!

I can't speak for others here, but I actually do need the root password to the company's servers on occasion to do my job. So it's not an analogous situation.

(Okay, I work at a university, but the point stands)

Re:Sure, I'll give you that FB password... (1)

kbob88 (951258) | more than 2 years ago | (#39454167)

But you probably didn't get that root password as part of the interviewing process. That's what I'm talking about!

Re:Sure, I'll give you that FB password... (1)

rhook (943951) | more than 2 years ago | (#39454173)

And what if the job you're interviewing for requires you to have the root passwords? Guess you're screwed then.

just dont. (4, Insightful)

nimbius (983462) | more than 2 years ago | (#39453841)

it should be legislated that at any time someone declares social media to be the wave of the future, a round of eye rolling and fart-noise making should commence immediately.
this is a company that spies on you for the US government, sells your data to anyone who wants it, and is totally content to insist it has full legal rights over all of your content, indefinitely, with or without your consent.

close your facebook account and consider checking out some meat-space human interaction tools like meetup.com. there arent any buttons to indicate the position of your thumbs, and when you like something you just tell someone "hi, i enjoy this." Best of all, no asshole corporation pretending theyre doing you a favour by scouring your personal life for hints of product placement opportunities or subversive anti-government opinions. As a bonus, your employer will have the freeedom to hire you based on their objective opinion of your job skills and critical thinking ability, not your farmville or mafiawars score and picture of that drunken bender at grizzlebees where you wore the fried onion like a head-crab from Half-Life.

I can't believe this actually happened (2)

Smigh (1634175) | more than 2 years ago | (#39453873)

How much of an asshole do you have to be to ask your employee for a password of a personal service they're using? If I didn't know better I'd say it's impossible to be so far high on that scale.

Re:I can't believe this actually happened (1)

TemperedAlchemist (2045966) | more than 2 years ago | (#39454015)

You would be surprised. Increasingly, especially with unemployment, companies will use any excuse (rifled with logical errors) to justify a poor treatment of employees.

A few of the top justifications are, "Well it could be worse, you could not have a job.", "If you won't do it we'll just find someone who will, there's the door.", and the laughable, "We're paying you."

In the end, many employers look as though their employees are slaves, and the laws protecting them as threats to their freedom to generate profit.

I dunno (2)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 2 years ago | (#39454087)

I dunno, didn't we already have an article years ago about how those higher up the hierarchy tend to be more sociopathic? Well, here's the original link: Is Your Boss A Psychopath? [fastcompany.com]

But anyway, if you have to ask "how much of an asshole does someone have to be to do X?" I think you'll find that there are big enough assholes to do just about anything. Especially in positions that involve money, power, or both. In fact it seems like even the drive to end up in a position with enough power to no longer have to give a damn about the peons around, is disproportionately higher in... exactly those who are sick and tired of having to fake giving a damn about those peons around them.

But at any rate, let's just say that goatse was a lightweight, compared to the kind of huge assholes you see in upper management ;)

Easy Screening (5, Funny)

jimmerz28 (1928616) | more than 2 years ago | (#39453879)

I'd just use this as a screening question for potential employees.

If you willingly give me your login credentials I should just assume you're a moron and not hire you.

Re:Easy Screening (1)

JazzHarper (745403) | more than 2 years ago | (#39453973)

If you willingly give me your login credentials I should just assume you're a moron and not hire you.

I agree, but apparently, the Maryland Department of Corrections has different criteria.

My answer is "I don't use facebook" (5, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#39453881)

And it will always be my answer. Whether or not I use facebook is no one's business. Not my family. Not my friends. Not my co-workers or employers. "Please wear this delightful necklace with a GPS and a camera to take pictures of whatever is around you at any given time. BTW, it's a condition of employment." There's just something dark and sinister about that. How any employer could think this is a great idea when they know damned well they wouldn't be willing to share that information with their employees is looking upon their employees as a "lesser being" and certainly not equal as idealized by the US constitution. If this is not a "discriminatory act" it most definitely leads to discriminatory behavior.

There is already a list of things an employer cannot ask an employee for. I think it's time to make a law which issues a WHITE LIST of things employers can ask for rather than using the black list system we have today. The potential for this to become an ever-growing problem is too great.

Re:My answer is "I don't use facebook" (4, Funny)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#39454061)

Whether or not I use facebook is no one's business. Not my family. Not my friends.

That's one quiet Facebook profile you've got there...

Re:My answer is "I don't use facebook" (3, Interesting)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#39454063)

I went in for a haircut recently. first question out of this clerk's mouth was 'your email address?'.

in total surprise, I delayed and then said 'uhm, no; just here for a haircut, please'.

they had no problem accepting no; but it was damned strange to have that be the first 'hello' from them. or really, any question at all!

the guy in front of me happily gave them their desired info. goes to show that if you ask a sheep to do something, likely they will not even question it.

I'm not adding my name to some mailing list that a haircutter is collecting! wtf??

Re:My answer is "I don't use facebook" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39454077)

I think it's time to make a law which issues a WHITE LIST of things employers can ask for rather than using the black list system we have today.

Can I have "Can you explain the difference between segments in Oracle and Informix?" on the whitelist, please? I guess some other folks around here can suggest some more questions for your little list.

Re:My answer is "I don't use facebook" (3, Insightful)

Americano (920576) | more than 2 years ago | (#39454205)

And it will always be my answer. Whether or not I use facebook is no one's business.

That's great - if you don't use Facebook. If you do use it, then you're *lying* to a prospective employer, telling them you don't. Two wrongs don't make a right. They can't coerce you into giving it, so simply decline to provide it.

Employer: "May we have your Facebook password so we can (save the children / fight the global war on terror / end domestic assault / some other well-meaning but bullshit excuse for invading your privacy)?"
You: "No you may not. My use (or non-use) of Facebook is none of your business. I guess we're done here."

The simple fact that they ASK for it, regardless of the reasoning and regardless of whether or not you use it, should be enough to warn you that you don't want to work for them.

So employers do ask for Facebook passwords? (2)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 2 years ago | (#39453887)

Up until now I thought it was just an urban legend. "Like any company would smear itself with mud by doing something so vile and contemptible." And now it turns out, this actually happened!? o_O

As a Finn, I hope this is one of those macabre policies of corporations running rampant and unchecked, confined to the USA. At least in Finland (and I think most of the EU) this shit just wouldn't stand legal ground.

Re:So employers do ask for Facebook passwords? (4, Insightful)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#39454081)

its worse. many (!) employers ask/demand to have you pee in a cup, for them.

its fine and reasonable to say that you don't have a FB account. but just try telling them you don't have any piss in you! they just won't believe it.

So I've never had any social media account (1, Offtopic)

gelfling (6534) | more than 2 years ago | (#39453891)

Not ever. Of any kind. And fully expect to never get or need one. It's possible that I'm wrong though and may eventually need to use one but I imagine I'd just use it a a portal to all the other non social media things I'd need to access. There's nothing I want to share with the world, no one I need to friend, I don't play console or computer games. 95% of my non work email is junk. I don't IM outside of work. I don't tweet. I've never had a blog. And where I've felt compelled to comment to some article or such online, those logins use aliases that in no way mimic my name or any personal information about me. I don't do online banking I don't pay bills online. I've never had a debit card or an ATM card.

So my point is, if I tell them all of this then what? They won't hire me BECAUSE I have NO privacy for them to invade?

Re:So I've never had any social media account (3, Informative)

cellocgw (617879) | more than 2 years ago | (#39454095)

Says Mr. 6534 /. account. Bad news for you: This is social media, too.
And in case you didn't look, there's the option to put all sorts of crud in your profile, plus non-blocked people can scan every comment you ever posted.
     

Confirming Americans are stupid. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39453919)

Willing to give up their rights, for a few bucks :)

Mr Franklin was right...

Another law? (2, Insightful)

losttoy (558557) | more than 2 years ago | (#39453953)

Right. That is the fix. A new law. Lets make a new law for every issue that crops up and see how long the judicial system lasts.

against both federal and state law(in ca) ALREADY! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39453957)

its called theft of an access device by duress(by the interviewer) .. ie the access device belongs to facebook not the user who merely has permission to use the username and password to access the facebook service.

The user both by contract and by law is NOT allowed to use the access device to allow a 3rd party to gain access and this includes interviewers. thats additionally receiving stolen property and theft of service doesn't matter whether a hacker induces you to share willingly or an interviewer is twisting your arm by dangling a job offer(duress).

purloined access devices in a criminal court case are especially loved by prosecutors(easy rim shot felonies!!) and are no joke to defendants.(I also see conspiracy charges in the wings if you willingly help the interviewer gain access..)

        dont believe moi?? the laws are already there and in print and have been used in precisely this scenario in separate cases.

          waiting for an inventive federal prosecutor :

            anon

           

Just pay Facebook (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39453963)

Silly employers. I'm sure Facebook would be happy to sell you the prospect's information, for the right price. Just ask!

National Security Exception (1)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 2 years ago | (#39453971)

The only exception should be people who need government security clearances, and even then it should be the government who gets access, not the employer.

Re:National Security Exception (1)

sam1am (753369) | more than 2 years ago | (#39454169)

As if the government needs your password to get that access

Re:National Security Exception (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39454245)

You're a Moron sir.

No one has a right to you violate your privacy and its people like you who make statements like that allow others to think we have no rights.

DMCA (3, Interesting)

RichMan (8097) | more than 2 years ago | (#39453985)

Why does the DMCA not apply? Why are these companies all not in violation of the the DMCA.
The users contents is private and password protected. The users content is copyright protected work of the user and their friends.

***ANY*** attempt to violate the users password protection would seem to me to be a violation of DMCA. Does not ANY method to break DRM include intimidation of the key holder ?

This already happened (2)

vilain (127070) | more than 2 years ago | (#39454049)

A college senior graduating from a teaching credential program applied for a job in a school system. The school system saw her MySpace page which had a picture of her obviously at a part with a red Solo cup in hand. She wasn't underage as the picture was current. She was just smiling, having a good time. They withdrew their job offer. AFAIK, no action was taken by the applicant (I'd sue).

I asked a client who is an attorney but practices a different, specialized type of law. While it's OK for some places like Home Depot to require a drug test prior to employment, that still happens farther down the interview chain. I don't want some person in the store driving a forklift when they're intoxicated or impaired.

I can't see asking for FB or MySpace or any of the other social media site access as acceptable. LinkEdIn, as much as I hate them and how they work, is different. I don't think you'll see party pictures or any of my LOLcat pictures on a LinkEdIn profile. Just doing a Google search of myself shows my name in various news group posts even though I post with no-archive. While it's almost impossible to exclude 'the stuff on the Internet' from an employer's background search, omitting stuff like what's in your FB (I'm gay, jewish and my politics are none of your business) cross the line.

I wonder what would happen if the first thing they saw is "Thanks for logging access to my FB page. I now own your house and the assets of your company. Have a great day. And good luck finding a new job."

Second Password (1)

Squeebee (719115) | more than 2 years ago | (#39454101)

Facebook could help their users by creating a second password.

If you enter your second password (mainly because you are being asked for it against your better judgement), Facebook displays a UI that only lists your public posts in your timeline, and only shows a subset of friends that you have pre-selected.

You can maintain anything you want in Facebook, and you can give an employer your password (though that still isn't right), and rest assured that you still look clean to your employer. The employer is none the wiser because the password you provide gets them access to your account.

If I was a hiring manager (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39454125)

I would immediately reject someone who was willing to show me their FB account after I asked them to. That means they would also probably be easily enticed into revealing our corporate secrets to an outsider.

Since when can Facebook pass laws? (2, Interesting)

Barbara, not Barbie (721478) | more than 2 years ago | (#39454139)

Did I miss something?

The company is looking to draft new laws

I know we've all heard about regulatory capture by corporations and lobbyists, but has it gotten so blatant that businesses don't even try to hide it nowadays?

Face book does have credibility in this argument (1)

dwpro (520418) | more than 2 years ago | (#39454163)

We should honor the position of Facebook in this arena, our stalwart champions of privacy and advocates of those personal information would exploited by a party in a position of power.

What about people who don't have Facebook accounts (1, Offtopic)

Paracelcus (151056) | more than 2 years ago | (#39454177)

I don't, and most of the people who I know don't.

how widespread (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39454181)

how widespread is this practice in america? im in england and asking an employee for a facebook password seems outrageous. It's akin to asking for an email password.

Theft of an access device by duress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39454223)

Hi all,
        Current US and specifically California law already covers this... its called theft of an access device by duress, ie you do NOT own the username and password, facebook allows you to use the credentials they are permitting you to use to gain access to their service.
Allowing a 3rd party to gain access is called theft of service and is specifically against US law. If you give up the access device willingly then you may be charged with conspiracy to commit theft of service, the interviewer making the request may additionally be charged with ID theft.

ALL of these laws have been used in individual cases I DO find it fascinating the the original case brought to light was a correctional officer interviewer inducing interviewees to commit several felony violations of federal computer crime law.

and looking to record the scum bagfwho made this request? www.looxcie.com has just the right device to capture his/her request for youtube posterity and fame...

            anon

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