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Bill Banning Employer Facebook Snooping Introduced In Congress

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the don't-we-technically-employ-congress dept.

Privacy 199

suraj.sun writes "According to The Hill, 'The Social Networking Online Protection Act, introduced by Democratic Reps. Eliot Engel (N.Y.) and Jan Schakowsky (Ill.), would prohibit current or potential employers from demanding a username or password to a social networking account. "We must draw the line somewhere and define what is private," Engel said in a statement. "No one would feel comfortable going to a public place and giving out their username and passwords to total strangers. They should not be required to do so at work, at school, or while trying to obtain work or an education. This is a matter of personal privacy and makes sense in our digital world."' Ars adds, 'The bill would apply the same prohibitions to colleges, universities, and K-12 schools. ... Facebook has already threatened legal action against organizations who require employees to reveal their Facebook passwords as policy.'" Maryland beat them to the punch, and other states are working on similar laws too. We'll have to hope the U.S. House doesn't kill this one like they did the last attempt. The difference this time is that the concept has its own bill, while its previous incarnation was an amendment to an existing bill about reforming FCC procedures.

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199 comments

What about friending HR? (4, Insightful)

gapagos (1264716) | about 2 years ago | (#39835951)

Does it contain a clause preventing the employer from demanding a candidate to friend him or a HR person?
Because it should.

Re:What about friending HR? (3, Insightful)

rtb61 (674572) | about 2 years ago | (#39835975)

Why not simply an affirmation that private companies, corporations both foreign and domestic, as well as individuals, are fully bound by the constitution and all of it's amendments and no contract clause or condition can abridge the constitution and it's amendments in any way shape or form. Then legislate major penalties for any attempt to do so, both a major fine and prison term.

Re:What about friending HR? (3, Informative)

gapagos (1264716) | about 2 years ago | (#39835983)

Why not simply an affirmation that private companies, corporations both foreign and domestic, as well as individuals, are fully bound by the constitution and all of it's amendments

Because there's always a lawyer who disagrees on what the constitution means in practice.
This is why more explicit laws are created.

Re:What about friending HR? (4, Interesting)

gmanterry (1141623) | about 2 years ago | (#39836095)

This is the USA. We haven't had a Constitution since 2001. 9/11 to be exact.

Re:What about friending HR? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39836125)

Hahaha, you think 9/11 was the beginning of the loss of a constitution? Really? It goes back much much further than that, trust me.

Re:What about friending HR? (-1, Flamebait)

Tasha26 (1613349) | about 2 years ago | (#39836137)

Well, isn't it your fault for putting dumbasses in power? Bush twice btw...

Re:What about friending HR? (3, Insightful)

fnj (64210) | about 2 years ago | (#39836345)

The selection of candidates by the two parties effectively limits the choice of voters. Yes, they can vote third party or write somebody in, but if no one of half decent mentality, morality and freedom from control ever competes for the nomination of either party, or if those who do are quickly weeded out by the respective bought and paid for establishments, the general election is just a fraud.

Re:What about friending HR? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 years ago | (#39836595)

Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos.

Or, in case someone doesn't get the reference, you really think that voting for anyone else would have made any kind of difference?

Re:What about friending HR? (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about 2 years ago | (#39836677)

Wow, someone else who sees it for what it is?? Am I hallucinating??

I for one, welcome our six-digit apex libertarian overlords...

Re:What about friending HR? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39836613)

Some would argue that the constitution ceased to function properly during either the days of FDR or Abe Lincoln and has never been right since. Take your pick over who you'd like to blame more.

Re:What about friending HR? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39836149)

Yeah that's kinda funny. Well no, might want to look at Obama in the last year, since he's gutted the constitution more than Bush did in 8 years.

Re:What about friending HR? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39836241)

[citation need]

Constitution? (4, Informative)

fnj (64210) | about 2 years ago | (#39836325)

Why not simply an affirmation that private companies, corporations both foreign and domestic, as well as individuals, are fully bound by the constitution and all of it's amendments

That question is easy to answer. Because the constitution bounds the powers of the FEDERAL government. Period. It says very little about what state and local governments can't do, and it certainly doesn't say what employers (and private citizens) can't do. The word "murder" doesn't appear in the constitution either. The constitution isn't concerned in the slightest whether Joe Blow goes on a killing spree. In fact the laws against murder are all state laws. A state could decide not to have any law against murder as far as the constitution is concerned.

Dig it. It took an act of congress to implement a ban on discrimination and desegregate the public schools. There was an amendment passed at the same time as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 specifically to ban poll taxes, but that was the extent of it. Similarly, there is nothing in the constitution that says an employer can't ask employees for various concessions. That is for states to limit.

The Tenth Amendment: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." That's the ENTIRE text. So the First Amendment says CONGRESS shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech. It doesn't stop a state from limiting free speech.

Article Six of the Constitution (4, Insightful)

sjbe (173966) | about 2 years ago | (#39836519)

Because the constitution bounds the powers of the FEDERAL government.

And the state governments as well via Article Six. Government at all levels is bound by the Constitution.

In fact the laws against murder are all state laws

Demonstrably not true [wikipedia.org] . Perhaps you should actually read about federal law or at least spend 20 seconds on Wikipedia before posting something so easily refuted. There are federal laws concerning murder for cases where state law would not apply such as for overseas military, on federal property, situations crossing state lines, involving federal officials, ambassadors, foreign officials, and numerous other circumstances.

A state could decide not to have any law against murder as far as the constitution is concerned.

Kind of a stupid argument since they all do have laws against murder.

So the First Amendment says CONGRESS shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech. It doesn't stop a state from limiting free speech.

Actually it specifically does stop states from limiting free speech via Article Six [wikipedia.org] , specifically "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding." Basically the First Amendment overrides any state law that contradicts it. If the Constitution was not applicable to states then it would be a useless document.

Re:Article Six of the Constitution (0, Troll)

fnj (64210) | about 2 years ago | (#39836797)

Because the constitution bounds the powers of the FEDERAL government.

And the state governments as well via Article Six. Government at all levels is bound by the Constitution.

The simple fact is the constitution does NOT limit the powers of the states except insofar as they conflict with specific provisions in the constitution. When the insurance mandate in Obamacare is ruled unconstitutional, that section of Obamacare (at least) will be invalidated. That will not affect Romneycare in Massachsetts. Why? Because the Federal Government is not given the power anywhere in the constitution to tell a citizen what insurance he MUST buy with HIS money. But a state can do so if it is permitted by the state constitution.

In fact the laws against murder are all state laws

Demonstrably not true [wikipedia.org] . Perhaps you should actually read about federal law or at least spend 20 seconds on Wikipedia before posting something so easily refuted. There are federal laws concerning murder for cases where state law would not apply such as for overseas military, on federal property, situations crossing state lines, involving federal officials, ambassadors, foreign officials, and numerous other circumstances.

Edge cases affecting a vanishingly small part of the population of the US. Looking for a pedantic debating point which does not contradict the point of the statement? The fact is if a normal citizen commits a typical murder in Massachusetts, that does not break any federal law.

A state could decide not to have any law against murder as far as the constitution is concerned.

Kind of a stupid argument since they all do have laws against murder.

So, other than the urge to call me stupid, you agree with the point?

So the First Amendment says CONGRESS shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech. It doesn't stop a state from limiting free speech.

Actually it specifically does stop states from limiting free speech via Article Six [wikipedia.org] , specifically "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding." Basically the First Amendment overrides any state law that contradicts it. If the Constitution was not applicable to states then it would be a useless document.

Logic. Use it. That article you are so fond of has no bearing on this matter. The constitution says CONGRESS shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech. Fine. So say a state makes a law abridging the freedom of speech. That does not violate the constitution in any way. Because of that pesky tenth amendment: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." That is ALL powers not SPECIFICALLY prohibited.

Re:Article Six of the Constitution (5, Informative)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about 2 years ago | (#39836943)

So say a state makes a law abridging the freedom of speech. That does not violate the constitution in any way.

Evidently you failed high school civics class. Article Six doesn't say anything about Congress; it specifically binds *judges* to rule according to the *Federal* Constitution in the event of a conflict between it and the laws or constitution of any state. Note also that it doesn't say anything about State or Federal judges--it says *judges*, period.

US states that do not exist only in your imagination may not enact laws that contravene the US Constitution. States may not restrict or take away rights that are guaranteed by the US Constituion. Period.

Re:Constitution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39836889)

Most of the Bill of Rights was incorporated by the Supreme Court via the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment, because at some point along the way, after the civil war, we decided that if rights belong to individuals, it doesn't make a logical or moral difference whether you're being oppressed by local your state or all 50 states working together.

Re:What about friending HR? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39835985)

If the Employer can't demand a username or password, they can't verify you even have a Facebook account. Or, even if they knew of the existence of an account for you, you would have plausible deniability as to if the account was yours. After all, there's nothing to stop someone who knows you from setting up an account and posting information to it that might reflect badly on you in a job interview -- which is exactly why HR shouldn't be "Googling" applicants or looking for them on social networking sites. They have no proof what they read is true.

Re:What about friending HR? (5, Insightful)

TWX (665546) | about 2 years ago | (#39836059)

I've wondered, since this came up in the news, how those poor, poor employers screened candidates in the old days, before they could readily get information from Internet search engines, social networking sites, and inexpensive background checks.

Oh, right- they had to actually talk to them, and had to evaluate them after they hired them, and had to consider firing them if their professional lives had problems...

Re:What about idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39836099)

Same idiots that probably voted for SOPA, PIPA, and CISPA..

I would agree on this subject, no one should be able to ask or know your social networking accounts. However, I do not see these idiots pushing to ban employers from exposing your credit history or bank accounts. Fuckin waste of time!!!!!!!!!

Re:What about friending HR? (1)

Tasha26 (1613349) | about 2 years ago | (#39836131)

What about companies or govt agencies paying Facebook for such data?

Re:What about friending HR? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#39836303)

They don't need to pay any more, not with CISPA.

This does seem awfully two-faced - ban us from snooping, give themselves unlimited access, constitution be damned.

er (5, Insightful)

Yew2 (1560829) | about 2 years ago | (#39835961)

I would love to rant about the privacy we are compelled give up even applying for a job - companies pull credit reports and wont hire you unless youre a good consumer and all but um...we need a law to prevent employers from demanding LOGON CREDENTIALS? I just love MBAs.

Re:er (4, Informative)

houghi (78078) | about 2 years ago | (#39836229)

It amazes me that this is even legal.
In Europe, at least in Belgium, this would be illegal as hell. At some jobs they might do background checks, but these are clearly identified and will be e.g. jobs at NATO.

At some jobs (e.g. banks) you might be required to show a proof of your criminal history. Then the company can decide if they hire you or not. There are even people who want to make these stricter and limit the information.
That way a pedophile will show up if he wants to work at a school, but not when he is going to work at e.g. a banks call center. With a bank robber, it might be the other way around.

Where I work I know of one person not getting the reason, because something on it was a too high risk. Another person had something on it and we still hired that person, as we decided it wasn't a high risk at all.

Things we will NEVER ask: Are you with a union? Are you pregnant? (They are allowed to lie to that question. Once they are hired and tell they are pregnant, you can't fire them.) What is your religion?

What we do have is a 6 month trial in which both the employer and employee can decide if this is an OK situation workwise. If it isn't, we can end it or they can end it with a weeks notice. After that it will be a much longer notice period for both the employer and employee.

Re:er (0)

fnj (64210) | about 2 years ago | (#39836371)

I have one issue with what you outline. No capital-S State is ever going to tell me how much notice I must give my employer, and no employer CAN tell me. Two weeks notice is common courtesy; I have always offered that (if not more). I also offer a reasonable amount of transitional consultation gratis after that period.

But it is no more than a courtesy at my sole discretion. If I want to walk out, that is my absolute natural right and the employer can suck on it.

Now if I were to do that without damn good reason, and word got out - and it would get out - I would be up shit creek without a paddle trying to find new employment. But nobody better try to make me a slave for two weeks.

Re:er (3, Informative)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 2 years ago | (#39836417)

That part is the same in Europe. The common courtesy is to give the same period of notice as your pay period. People paid each month give a month's notice, people paid weekly give a week, people paid daily give one day. And if you don't give that, then you won't get a good reference. But nothing stops you from walking out at any time.

Indeed slavery has been illegal for a long time, so it can't be any other way.

Re:er (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39836431)

Um.... My understanding - you are not a slave and they can't make you work the two weeks. You can walk out anytime you want. It's just that the employer could sue you for breach of contract in theory, but in practice I've never encountered it in the UK at least. You are always free of course to make your own arrangements with a company as a self-employed contractor - no problem. Talk of slavery is greatly exaggerated!

Re:er (1)

houghi (78078) | about 2 years ago | (#39836773)

I have one issue with what you outline. No capital-S State is ever going to tell me how much notice I must give my employer, and no employer CAN tell me.

The law says it is so. e.g. if the company has to give me 3 months, I should give them 6 weeks.
With 6 months, it becomes 3 months for you.

Your new employer will know this as well and will see to it that you start at that moment.
Obviously you can still come to an agreement with your employer and decide to stop immediately.

And most of the people will already HAVE a new job at the moment they hand in their notice. It is a sword that cuts on two sides. On the one side the employer give you 3 months to find a new job (including payed days off to go to interviews). On the other side, the employer has the time to look for a new one if you decide to leave.

And this working as a slave. I never had that feeling. I do my 38 hours a month. I take my 30+ days holiday. I get payed when I am sick and I am never stuffed in a cubicle.

If you have serious issues and want to leave no matter what, and if that happens often, then perhaps YOU are the problem, not the employer.

I once had a company that told me they wanted me two weeks earlier. I told them that would be a deal-breaker. If they can not wait 2 weeks for me, they are not looking for long term solutions and I am not interested anymore.

This was over a 3 month period that I told them up front about (and an extra week for a holiday).

And no, they will not hold a gun to your head. You will however have problems getting unemployment benefits and things like that. Yep, that is something we also have here.

Re:er (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 years ago | (#39836637)

That's similar in most European countries.

Asking for a criminal record is limited to jobs that can show "an objective reason" to demand it. So if you're in charge of money or security, criminal checks are ok, if no crime could possibly be associated with your job they cannot even ask you for a record. Them asking for one is reason enough for you to sue (and usually win, if there's at least some kind of a remote chance that you could prove it. Gathering some other applicants and getting them to testify accordingly suffices).

Same with religion, family plans, race, country of origin, sexual orientation, i.e. anything that could even remotely possibly be used as an excuse for discrimination. In theory they could not even ask for your gender, though it is usually quite obvious. Asking for it is still off limits.

Same with anything that could remotely be considered private. The only reason why they can ask about marital status and number of children is fiscal. And so asking for credentials of social networking sites is absolutely off limits. In theory, your prospective employer must not even use Google to get any information about you. But, well, try to prove he did. Hence I keep a fake profile with very favorable tidbits about myself up high on the Google rank list. After all, he must not ask whether any of them are true. ;)

Re:er (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39836923)

It's not really legal in the US either... it's just not express-idly banned so employers were doing it. No one was fired over it so no one had standing to sue, but a lot of people *did* give up their credentials... so congress is basically passing this bill to protect the stupid people.

Re:er (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39837105)

At some jobs (e.g. banks) you might be required to show a proof of your criminal history.

Obviously, otherwise some honest guy might endanger the whole business.

Re:er (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39836409)

At two places I applied for, I was refused work because I didn't have a credit score. Let me state that again: NOT HAVING A CREDIT SCORE, at all. In other words, I was refused a job simply for not living outside my means and spending more money than I had.

And all engineers cause spam (2)

sjbe (173966) | about 2 years ago | (#39836553)

I just love MBAs.

So to you holding the college degree of a MBA is shorthand for evil corporate behavior even if in reality is has NOTHING whatsoever to do with the topic at hand. You think that someone who tries to learn skills to manage a business more effectively must be simultaneously an evil and incompetent person. It must be convenient to see the world in such a way that you can easily scapegoat a group of people who aren't the cause of the problem. What you have said makes even less sense than blaming all engineers for the problem of spam. Most HR professionals don't actually have MBA degrees. But don't let actual facts intrude on your idiotic rant when there are mod points to be had by pandering to wrongheaded scapegoating.

Re:er (1)

jonwil (467024) | about 2 years ago | (#39836893)

Here in Australia I have had a number of jobs and the only thing I have had that is in any way prying into my background was for my most recent job where I was working for a government department in a software engineering job (where I would have access to all sorts of personal details via the databases I was interacting with) and needed a standard police clearance (probably just to make sure I wasn't a pedophile or something where I would abuse the data I had access to). But I have never had to take a drug test, urine test, blood test, medical anything, give any details about my financial history, hand over passwords for anything personal or otherwise give details about my private life.

Who is Bill Banning? (4, Funny)

rtconner (544309) | about 2 years ago | (#39835981)

Never heard of him.

Re:Who is Bill Banning? (1)

game kid (805301) | about 2 years ago | (#39836243)

He's a close friend of Bill Stickers. Those two are my homies.

Re:Who is Bill Banning? (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 2 years ago | (#39836515)

Maybe related to Johnny Tables?

Re:Who is Bill Banning? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39836871)

Do you mean bobby tables [xkcd.com] ?

Re:Who is Bill Banning? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39837015)

Yeah, Johnny and Bobby are brothers. Their sister, Star is very popular, always being selected.

Re:Who is Bill Banning? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39836269)

Isn't he the Incredible Hulk?

Re:Who is Bill Banning? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39836289)

Apparently someone who works on bills for the purpose of banning things, or "Banning Bills".

Re:Who is Bill Banning? (2)

WSOGMM (1460481) | about 2 years ago | (#39836507)

RTFA, Bill Banning, head of the major employer, Facebook Snooping, recently introduced himself to congress.

Why is this needed? (5, Insightful)

_pi-away (308135) | about 2 years ago | (#39835995)

I truly don't get this. If an organization requires a law to tell it that it shouldn't do this - YOU DON'T WANT TO WORK THERE.

Consider yourself lucky that they demonstrated that right up front in the interview before you spent weeks/months/years there.

Re:Why is this needed? (4, Insightful)

gapagos (1264716) | about 2 years ago | (#39836023)

What if every employer start requesting it, do you give up your rights or do you choose homelessness?

Re:Why is this needed? (3, Interesting)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | about 2 years ago | (#39836103)

I had an argument with somebody with a very pro-liberty (even if at the indirect cost of others) stance.

When asked if he believed that companies should be allowed to ban African-Americans from doing business with them, his reply was along the lines that indeed they should be allowed to, and in a free market there would simply be some other store that welcomes them, that's how the free marker is supposed to work, and the government should butt out of businesses' decisions.

When asked what happens when there is no viable competition - say for a drug that can save lives but which is administered in private clinics so as to keep competing pharmaceuticals from gaining direct access to the drug - his reply was that he would then just grab a gun, go to that clinic, and get some of that drug himself and woe the person who would get in his way.

Rather than accept that governments may have to regulate some aspects of life and business for a healthy society, which in the latter case would mean no company could limit a drug via discrimination*, he would resort to violence.

In your scenario, he would choose homelessness...at least from the comfort of his recliner. Some people are just wired that way, I guess.

( * I know some drugs are so ridiculously expensive that one may as well recognize their availability as being subject to class discrimination. )

Re:Why is this needed? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39836267)

say for a drug that can save lives but which is administered in private clinics so as to keep competing pharmaceuticals from gaining direct access to the drug

There would be nothing keeping competitors from acquiring and selling the drug, as in a true free market, patents and copyright wouldn't exist.

Re:Why is this needed? (3, Insightful)

jpapon (1877296) | about 2 years ago | (#39836299)

There would be nothing keeping competitors from acquiring and selling the drug

Yeah, nothing except the fact that they would have to figure out how to make the drug, and if there were no patents, such a formula would be a very closely guarded secret.

Re:Why is this needed? (2)

rgbrenner (317308) | about 2 years ago | (#39836769)

No kidding... If Cocacola can keep its soda formula a secret, why can't/wouldn't a pharm company?

No patents = everything is a trade secret.

That's why we grant patents.. so inventors will tell us how their creation works.

Re:Why is this needed? (3, Insightful)

digitig (1056110) | about 2 years ago | (#39836313)

say for a drug that can save lives but which is administered in private clinics so as to keep competing pharmaceuticals from gaining direct access to the drug

There would be nothing keeping competitors from acquiring and selling the drug, as in a true free market, patents and copyright wouldn't exist.

Presumably there would be a measure of security through obscurity. The pharmaceutical companies could presumably put some complicated passive compounds in with the active one (obfustication!) so those wanting to clone it would have to either isolate the active ingredient or work out how to fabricate a whole raft of ingredients, either of which could be a significant research task. After all, in a truly free market there would be no need to declare the active ingredient (or, indeed, for there to even be an active ingredient).

Re:Why is this needed? (2)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 2 years ago | (#39836439)

The passive ingredients would probably appear pretty passive. If they did not, they would each cost the original company some considerable expense proving that they were safe.

Of course that's under current government rules. Under libertarianism, presumably the drug approvals process would be abandoned and we'd be back to snake oil salesmen selling all sorts of useless and/or poisonous preparations as medicines.

Re:Why is this needed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39836583)

This. Employers are evil, and the ones who aren't evil are clueless. The clueless copy whatever's trendy without questioning it because questioning would require thinking about something. The evil go out of their way to define what is trendy. Ergo, this spreading absent intervention to the contrary almost a certainty.

Re:Why is this needed? (2)

b1scuit (795301) | about 2 years ago | (#39836063)

You think that if there weren't laws stating the limits of what a corporation can require of its employees, this is the worst thing they'd have you do? All of the laws limiting corporate behavior like this are there because they were necessary, just like this one is.

If we applied your thinking more broadly, no one would want to work anywhere. I'm not saying you're wrong on that count... but you know. There's isn't a big corp on the planet that wouldn't start doing this if it became really mainstream.

Re:Why is this needed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39836075)

Because once you are hired and find that you do not like the company it is impossible for you to quit? And during the weeks/months/years spent there it is not as if there is any pay involved right?

Re:Why is this needed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39836135)

During the months spent there, you are being deprived of finding a better job because you thought you had one you wanted. Add to that the fact that if you quit then you are left with a short-term employment on your record (or if you choose to omit it a term of unemployment) both of which often result in your application just getting tossed in the trash in the first place, and it becomes obvious you clearly don't understand how hiring works if you think "just quitting" is a valid option.

Yes and no (3, Insightful)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 2 years ago | (#39836147)

Yes, I wouldn't want to work there.

No, that's not how it works. There are more workers than employers, so without any external force employers are free to set the rules as they see fit. When many employers adopt a policy, workers have to band together if they want to fight it; and that's exactly what we're seeing here.

Re:Why is this needed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39836259)

is it not already a tos violation to give anyone your facebook password? and is that not a breach of contract?

why wouldn't anyone ask an employer demanding their password if they are demanding that the prospect commit abreach of contract, and question why that employer would hire anyone willing to to do so.

Re:Why is this needed? (1)

deniable (76198) | about 2 years ago | (#39836353)

Add the fact that the US Government already tried to make TOS violations good for a year in prison and things get very interesting.

Re:Why is this needed? (4, Insightful)

arkhan_jg (618674) | about 2 years ago | (#39836301)

And in our modern economy, where it's the first interview you've had in months and your unemployment funds have long since been spent paying the necessary bills; you'll choose facebook privacy over putting food on the table for your family? Now imagine you're not some highly paid code wizard who gets to pick and choose employers, but an ordinary shop floor worker doing a blue collar job who has to take what you can get.

Being able to exercise your rights when you're wealthy and in a position to pick and choose between jobs is one thing. When you're in modern serfdom employment and the employers hold all the cards, federal or state government regulation and enforcement is about the only thing that can protect the workers from ridiculous abuses like this. Even more so when it's local government (such as police) doing it.

For people with limited options (5, Insightful)

sjbe (173966) | about 2 years ago | (#39836445)

I truly don't get this. If an organization requires a law to tell it that it shouldn't do this - YOU DON'T WANT TO WORK THERE.

That is of course correct but not the point. The problem is because sometimes people need jobs that they do not want. My father is a very smart guy but he doesn't have a college degree and he worked for many years in a job with limited applicability outside of a handful of companies. He didn't really want to work there, he had to out of economic necessity. The pay was better than probably anything else he could get and he had a union to protect him from idiots who might demand unreasonable things from him. (one of the good cases for unions actually) It would have been very easy for some moron to demand some ridiculous intrusion into his personal life without some form of external protection like a union or a law.

Bills like this are not to protect (presumably) you or me but rather to protect people with limited options. If your options are to hand over your facebook password so that you can feed your family, you're probably going to give over the password. It's completely wrong to even ask but sometimes we have to make laws to prohibit such behavior explicitly because a few idiots can't figure out why it is wrong. A law gives protections and recourse to those who might be vulnerable to being taken advantage of.

Re:Why is this needed? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 years ago | (#39836665)

Take a trip to your local supermarket. Look around the shop assistants. Do any of them look like they WANT to work there?

The number of people who can work in their dream job and choose from a wide selection of offers is rather small, you know?

Re:Why is this needed? (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 2 years ago | (#39836853)

YOU DON'T WANT TO WORK THERE.

Oh but I do. You see often organisations aren't defined by the actions of one small HR department with a dumb arse idea. If I'm being interviewed at a small company by the CEO and he is asking for these credentials, then yes I'd agree with you. In my experience though douchebag policies quite frequently end up being isolated ramblings of an individual and not representative of the company on the whole. Also the fact that I'm at the interview, now, at a time where unemployment is highest since the great depression shows that actually I quite possibly do want to work there.

The favourite one where I work at the moment is that our rostered day off is cancelled if we take personal leave within 2 weeks of the day. I have yet to hear a single incident of this being enforced by any line manager within our company despite the clear written instructions from HR.

Re:Why is this needed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39836983)

I don't get this either. Do we next need a bill that says your employer can't demand to sleep with your girlfriend? Or that your employer can't demand access to your bank account? I mean, what the fuck is going on here? This is a waste of legislative time that could be spent on something more useful. If an employer makes this demand of you, take them to court under already existing laws.

Am I living in the Twilight Zone? (1)

virb67 (1771270) | about 2 years ago | (#39836031)

Is this not the same Congress that just passed CISPA? Does anyone think this is some great victory?

Buy Fashion Shop (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39836057)

Buy Fashion Shop

Congress? (2)

Professr3 (670356) | about 2 years ago | (#39836061)

"We must draw the line somewhere and define what is private"

Oh, the hypocrisy...

Re:Congress? (4, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | about 2 years ago | (#39836079)

Congress isn't a single person. It's not hypocrisy when some congressmen vote for CISPA and others speak out for privacy. The two congressmen behind this bill both voted against CISPA and had announced their opposition to SOPA prior to the bill being withdrawn. So no, they're not being hypocritical at all.

Hahahahah (1)

OverlordQ (264228) | about 2 years ago | (#39836069)

The difference this time is that the concept has its own bill, while its previous incarnation was an amendment to an existing bill about reforming FCC procedures.

That's one of the few guaranteed ways of killing something, attach it to the FCC.

How about FBI, CIA, NSA, TSA etc. snooping? (4, Insightful)

roman_mir (125474) | about 2 years ago | (#39836155)

How about governments stops meddling with every single business and person out there, introducing all these nonsense laws, while actively snooping on everybody on this planet without any justification, cause and mandate?

Just this NSA data center [wired.com] is a much bigger privacy risk than any number of employees who are dumb enough to ask for FB access of their potential hires and these potential workers being dumb and unprincipled enough to give it to them.

How about NSA stops doing THAT? Never mind the extra-judicial murder the president is involved in.

Shouldn't laws apply to the government first?

Shouldn't the government not be allowed to do things that an individual isn't allowed to do in the first place?

Re:How about FBI, CIA, NSA, TSA etc. snooping? (1, Insightful)

roman_mir (125474) | about 2 years ago | (#39836169)

Oh, and by the way, to those, who will reply to me with nonsense like: government must protect us from the evil corporations.

Stop and think for a second: nobody forces you to work for any of those companies and if you actively refused to work for them if they violated your privacy, they'd stop doing it, just the PR alone is going to be a problem for them.

But with a government... how are you going to opt out of that? With a company you can opt out. You can not buy the product, you can avoid being employed with them, but how do you opt out of being targeted by the NSA, TSA, etc? You can't avoid the government.

The government creates the ultimate monopolies and you can't opt out either of paying them or participating in their programs.

Circumstances trump ideals (1)

sjbe (173966) | about 2 years ago | (#39836557)

nobody forces you to work for any of those companies and if you actively refused to work for them if they violated your privacy

A person might not force you to work for them but circumstances very well might. Unions came into existence precisely because it was difficult for some people to find alternative employment and some companies took advantage of that face. When your choice is between your privacy and feeding your family, your privacy is going to lose most of the time. Doesn't matter if it is wrong up in your ivory tower. You have the good fortune to have choices and live in a society that (generally) protects that right. Not everyone is so lucky.

Re:Circumstances trump ideals (0)

roman_mir (125474) | about 2 years ago | (#39836935)

A person might not force you to work for them but circumstances very well might.

- so what? Everybody has 'circumstances'. Just because you have circumstances doesn't mean you get privileges, which require other people to be obliged to you with anything.

Unions came into existence precisely because it was difficult for some people to find alternative employment and some companies took advantage of that face.

- there is no problem with unions, there is a problem with government coming up with laws regarding unions, employers, employees.

When your choice is between your privacy and feeding your family, your privacy is going to lose most of the time.

- it is your choice. You can also find something else to do, nobody owes you anything.

The rest of your comment is just more irrelevant nonsense.

Re:How about FBI, CIA, NSA, TSA etc. snooping? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39836945)

You have no fucking clue what it is like for most people seeking employment.

The fuck? (1, Insightful)

melted (227442) | about 2 years ago | (#39836185)

The country is circling down the shitter, and this is the best thing the Congress has to occupy themselves with? If a prospective employer asks me to provide my FB account, I'll tell them to go pound sand, and so should everybody else. My photos of funny kittens shall be mine alone.

Re:The fuck? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39836255)

... I'll tell them to go pound sand

Of course, when your health insurer demands your facebook password, or else, you'll say the same thing. Same with your mortgage provider. And also your car registration insurer. I wish we could all live without a boss, health care, a house, and a car.

Have a fucking clue. This is the have's making sure the have-not's stay that way.

Re:The fuck? (2)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 2 years ago | (#39836859)

If a prospective employer asks me to provide my FB account, I'll tell them to go pound sand, and so should everybody else.

Which will be of consolation when the righteous themselves are pounding sand trying to figure out how to make money to put food on the table. I'm sure the 300 blue collar workers who just lost their jobs when a local metal foundry shut down this past week will gladly hand over a facebook password in exchange for not having to try and live of welfare payments.

Here's a quick tip for those of you not paying attention to the current economy. At the moment common people will take what they can get. It's up to the heads of the country to ensure that people aren't being taken advantage of while we flush down the financial bowl.

List of what's not allowed - ridiculous. (5, Interesting)

blind biker (1066130) | about 2 years ago | (#39836217)

So if there's no bill banning a certain activity, a company may engage in it, is that how it work in the USA? You know, in other western countries corporations aren't allowed anything unless it's granted to them explicitly.

Is there a bill forbidding cavity search by corporations? Or one that forbids corporations from harvesting the organs of their employees? It seems apt to ask, in case I ever dream of working in the USA.

Re:List of what's not allowed - ridiculous. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39836419)

You know, in other western countries corporations aren't allowed anything unless it's granted to them explicitly.

Interesting.

I suppose it's the unfortunate backlash of corporations being considered people in the good ole US of A.

Re:List of what's not allowed - ridiculous. (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 2 years ago | (#39836433)

So if there's no bill banning a certain activity, a company may engage in it, is that how it work in the USA?

That's how some expat US businessmen behave in my country. Since the ones I've heard doing that spectacularly crashed and burned I can only assume they were the idiots that parent companies wanted to get rid of and that it's not anywhere near being universal. There was definitely a "slavery is good" vibe from some and an opinion that they owned the employees outright, with many intrusions into private lives and actually going as far as bugging workplaces and recording every word of some employees.

Re:List of what's not allowed - ridiculous. (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 2 years ago | (#39836453)

You know, in other western countries corporations aren't allowed anything unless it's granted to them explicitly.

Not true.

Re:List of what's not allowed - ridiculous. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39836771)

because you say so.

We don't need this law! (1)

91degrees (207121) | about 2 years ago | (#39836363)

There are already plenty of laws that can be applied to employers who want to do this. Computer security laws, tortuous interference with contract both would seem to apply.

Even more that makes it remarkably dangerous for the employer if they see something that makes the employee a protected group.

Facebook are willing to sue. They don't want people to do this either. It devalues their service (even if the users are the "product", they still need to provide something of value to attract users). There's no need for an explicit law. By the time this makes it through to become actual law, it will be pointless.

Re:We don't need this law! (5, Insightful)

Jon Stone (1961380) | about 2 years ago | (#39836501)

Facebook are willing to sue. They don't want people to do this either. It devalues their service (even if the users are the "product", they still need to provide something of value to attract users).

Facebook probably wants to be able to charge companies for access to potential employees' data

huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39836547)

"We'll have to hope the U.S. House doesn't kill this one like they did the last attempt."

Hope - that's all you pen pushers extol. If patterns continue, that bill will be shot down like a patriot missile hitting an old cheap scud missile. What are you actually going to do if the bill is shot down?

Re:huh (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 years ago | (#39836683)

I hope the same thing that's done with all the privacy erasing bills: Reintroduce them 'til enough people throw up their hands and vote yes to finally get that damn thing off the table.

If you don't tell them you are on Facebook... (1)

broknstrngz (1616893) | about 2 years ago | (#39836749)

... how do they know you are? Well, if your profile is public, then you deserve it, moron.

Don't need username/password (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39836839)

Just find out the URL to their profile before hiring and inform them that "in order to be considered, you will need to Friend ".

Then HR just reads all the wall stuff they want.

Draw the line (2)

markdavis (642305) | about 2 years ago | (#39836867)

>"We must draw the line somewhere and define what is private,"

And yet it is perfectly legal for an employer to demand fluid samples from an employee and test for whatever legal or illegal substances they choose. And in some states and fields, it is
even REQUIRED.

Same thing with a criminal background check. And others even run credit reports, with the assumption that someone with bad credit is a bad person or someone that is going to steal from the company. And others require physicals to gather health status information.

No probable or even remote cause needed in any of the above cases. So, yeah, demanding a social network password is certainly crossing the line, but there are plenty of other lines that are have already been crossed.

How can this not be legal? (1)

taxman_10m (41083) | about 2 years ago | (#39836883)

Your employer has veto power over what your health insurance covers, but asking for your Facebook password is too far? I'd love to hear what the Republicans in Congress say on this.

Great idea (1)

Patchw0rk F0g (663145) | about 2 years ago | (#39836891)

I just wrote to my Member of Parliament (I'm in Canada, eh?) to recommend the same thing here. I don't have anything on my Facebook page, nor Twitter, LinkedIn, or anywhere else I'd not like someone to see (some really bad web-page designs, but they just don't go in the book. ;-P ) but NO potential employer has the right to ask for my personal information. If you can't ask if I'm a seventy-six year old gay Catholic of Scottish extraction, you can't ask for this either... and if you do, I'll be spinning you on my upraised finger as I walk out of your door.

Feed Those Babies (2)

glorybe (946151) | about 2 years ago | (#39837027)

This legislation is designed to sooth those who whine about privacy while doing absolutely nothing. Most employers will use professional information services that compile a report based upon facts acquired in various data bases. You do not know where the data bases are or how the searches are performed you simply read a compiled report. If some of that data was from Face Book you would never know it. Secondly if an employer directly accesses Face Book simply avoiding using the business computer may make a complaint next to impossible. A response such as "My secretary seems to have looked up the guy's Face book posts as she seemed to have an interest in dating him." might be enough to dump the rather large cost of a failed law suit right on the job applicant. If the secretary did this from her home PC how could the business be liable? So all we have here is a hollow, feel good, pacifier, created to sooth a few people.
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