In case you haven’t been following the news, here’s a story that has been raising a lot of controversy.
The name of the article is, “Town Requires Job Seekers To Reveal Social Media Passwords”, by Aba Journal. In part, it says the City of Bozeman, Montana is requiring the following information from it’s applicants:
“Please list any and all, current personal or business websites, web pages or memberships on any Internet-based chat rooms, social clubs or forums, to include, but not limited to: Facebook, Google, Yahoo, YouTube.com, MySpace, etc.”
The city form then offers three lines for applicants to list websites, their user names and log-in information and their passwords, Montana News Station reports.
In a previous lesson we discussed how then President Elect Obama required those who would be working in his administration to list all of their online personalities/activities, etc. Some of the information he requested was,
(10) Writings: Please list and, if readily available, provide a copy of each book, article, column or publication (including but not limited to any post or comments on blogs or other websites) you have authored, individually or with others. Please list all aliases or “handles” you have used to communicate on the Internet.
(58) Please provide the URL address of any websites that feature you in either a personal or professional capacity (e.g. Facebook, My Space, etc.)
(61) Have you had any association with any person, group or business venture that could be used – even unfairly – to impugn or attack your character and qualifications for government service?
(63) Please provide any other information, including information about other members of your family, that could suggest a conflict of interest or be a possible source of embarrassment to you, your family, or the President-Elect.
Although he wasn’t asking for log-in information and/or passwords (to my knowledge), he did want documentation of the applicant’s online participation.
Having read both the Aba Journal article and “City to Job Applicants – Facebook, MySpace Log Ins, Please” by Arstechnica.com, the biggest issue is the fact this employer is asking for login names and passwords.
Many who commented say this is an invasion of privacy, as well as a breach of the TOS (terms of service) for some sites, whereas,
City Attorney Greg Sullivan is quoted as defending the policy: “We have positions ranging from fire and police, which require people of high integrity for those positions, all the way down to the lifeguards and the folks that work in city hall here. So we do those types of investigations to make sure the people that we hire have the highest moral character and are a good fit for the city.”
What do you think?
If you were applying for a job and they asked you the same, what would you do?
Do you want to know what your governmental (City, State, Federal) employees are doing online?
Considering the fact our tax dollars pay their wages, is it our right to know? Or, should the personal life of governmental employees be exempt from scrutiny?
Let’s talk about this one.