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.

Today’s Lesson

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?

Today’s Assignment

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.

signature for blog post.

Related Posts with Thumbnails
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
Look Who's Talking
  1. Kelvin KaoNo Gravatar says:

    What? That was real? Somehow that looked like phishing more than anything!

    If you are going to hold important positions in the Obama administration, I think it’s fair that they ask about your online presences (though more work would probably need to go into checking tax records). Even that, if they had ask for passwords, that’d be too much. What was the City of Bozeman going to do? Log in and read everyone’s passwords? Why don’t they also ask everyone to hand over their snail mail so they can check them all too? I think that’s asking for way too much.

    I assume everything I put online to be public (and they are). I wouldn’t mind an employer knowing about my public online presence. However, no job is worth handing over all my privacy.
    .-= Kelvin Kao´s last blog ..Farewell, Analog Television =-.

  2. J.D. MeierNo Gravatar says:

    It seems like another example where being authentic helps.
    .-= J.D. Meier´s last blog ..Sources of Insight is 10 Months Old =-.

  3. JeannetteNo Gravatar says:

    My initial reaction is that the City of Bozeman’s demand is outrageous. As Kevin K rightly points out, one’s personal snail mail correspondence is considered private and so should one’s personal web-based activities. It seems obvious that in the case of the Obama campaign, he would want to know if anyone had done anything which could damage the campaign/lead to scandal. That’s politics for you. But if I were applying for a job and the application requested me to divulge information about how I spend my free time on the internet, I would resist supplying it if I did not think it was directly relevant to the job. Asking for logins and passwords is beyond the pale.
    .-= Jeannette´s last blog ..The other night…. =-.

  4. SamarNo Gravatar says:

    The Obama questionnaire I can understand. People applying to work in his campaign would too. It was a sensitive position even for a pamphlet distributor working for his campaign!

    But the idea of asking for your password is absurd and very possibly illegal. Sounds to me like they want to discourage job applications.

    Asking for my social networking profile(s) is fine. Passwords? Never.
    .-= Samar´s last blog ..Review: Staff Blogging Course by Ali Hale [Unit II] =-.

  5. I get the Obama request. Anything discovered by others will reflect back on him and be used against him.

    The cities request seems a bit crazy. Is this a vision of things to come? Yikes!
    .-= Tess The Bold Life´s last blog ..My Father Died Last Week =-.

  6. AvaniNo Gravatar says:

    Trust works both ways. If they can’t trust us on being responsible, why should we trust them with our id password.
    .-= Avani´s last blog ..Following My Heart =-.

  7. Mike GoadNo Gravatar says:

    To me, it’s appears to be a condition of employment. “If you want to be employed here, you have to…”

    I would not want to be employed there.

    That being said, in my view, they do not have a right to your passwords and I think requiring you to provide access to all of your online presence is invasive and probably illegal. It also sets up the possibility of identity theft — who knows who is going to see those applications and how honest they are.
    .-= Mike Goad´s last blog ..Eyes of the Great Depression 030 =-.

  8. As to Bozeman, Montana, If the employees are not doing personal stuff on work computers, I’d say NO WAY on the passcodes and log-ins. Who knows what hands those could fall into and the havoc that could be wreaked.

    .-= Jannie Funster´s last blog ..Funny SEO Keywords, 3 =-.

  9. None of their business. If they want me to do a job — and apparently they are going to define that job right down to the potty breaks! — and they find me qualified to do it, then hire me. If not, don’t. I won’t tell them how I cook my eggs for breakfast nor who I share the hour with. Online or off.

    I think it’s sad commentary that any political administration needs to know so much about our lives. For security, yes. For personal thought and conversations, no. Let them Google it if they must… or check in with their satellites…

    Hmmmmm… now shall I tell you what I really think? 🙂
    .-= Barb Hartsook´s last blog ..Does Romance Outlast the Rose? =-.

  10. LindaNo Gravatar says:

    Boy! that really is an invasion of privacy. We have enough of big brother without our employers thinking they have the right as well. I believe I would not work at a place that is demanding this type of information.

    I think employers are really acting like they can do whatever they want due to the conditions of the economy and people like me will not give up their rights just cause it is a j-o-b they need.
    .-= Linda´s last blog ..Greening The Desert =-.

  11. Jay SchryerNo Gravatar says:

    I’m a current federal employee, and so I’m used to most of my private information being publicly available. I’m also very open and honest, transparent if you will, with all of my online activities. I blog using my real name, I comment using my real name, and I post my real name on twitter, facebook, etc.

    However, the information requested here goes too far. I would quit my job in a heartbeat if my boss demanded these things.
    .-= Jay Schryer´s last blog ..Lazy Summer Days =-.

  12. DotNo Gravatar says:

    I agree with Kelvin Kao. Bozeman is setting a precedent for violatiom of privacy. What next, the PIN for our credit cards?
    .-= Dot´s last blog ..Comment on Life and Mad Lib-eration Answers by Ribbon =-.

  13. Holy buckets! Passwords? Way too Big Brother! Take that job and shove it!

    The Obama questionnaire? Fine, totally understandable, and laudable for its intent. Seems to me they fell down on this part though: Have you ever not paid your income taxes? Have you always filed your returns? Do you owe the government unpaid taxes? … Just saying. Barbara, you know I couldn’t let that one pass. 🙂

    There are ways for supervisors to find out what employees are doing with their computers without asking for passwords. Pete’s boss was doing that 9 or 10 years ago. At his review, it was, “Uhhh, so how come you’re playing a lot of solitaire…on your break, of course?” Brett Legree recently posted about the Draconian policy at his workplace – which took things to new lows. I think whenever we exchange hours for pay, we have to expect that our supervisors/employers will inject an element of implied temporary ownership of us during the transactional period.

    I don’t want gov’t employees playing online on my dime, or ever with gov’t-issued computers. Too many breaches have already occurred! Not only are they cheating the taxpayers out of a day’s work, but if they work in sensitive areas or are networked, they could be compromising the safety and privacy of American citizens.

    Just another reason to celebrate entrepreneurship: I get to keep my passwords and other stuff to myself where it all belongs, and go wherever I want online when I want.
    .-= Betsy Wuebker´s last blog ..THINK LIKE A BLACK BELT AND BE SAFE =-.

  14. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara. I’m with Betsy! I can’t believe they’re asking for passwords. I wouldn’t hire someone who was too quick to give out a password!
    .-= Davina´s last blog ..365 Days & Still Blogging =-.

  15. Wow. I don’t like that one bit! While I do think employers may (and I stress this word) have a right to know if you have websites online, I definitely do NOT think anyone has a right to your password. That’s just absurd!!
    .-= Positively Present´s last blog ..a happy life is not a perfect life =-.

  16. Umm….no way are they getting my passwords. That is my privacy.

    Now if they want to know the stuff like the Obama people do, that’s fine. In fact, please promote it!

    Logins and passwords, those are mine. They can research my online activities just fine without having to log into my dashboards. That’s just dumb.
    .-= John Hoff – WpBlogHost´s last blog ..WpBlogHost Domain, Blog Security, & Hosting Promotions – Get’em While Their Hot =-.

  17. Lori HoeckNo Gravatar says:

    I try to live online as transparently as possible, with whatever I write acceptable enough to put on a billboard my mother could see. My privacy, however, should still be mine no matter what, excluding nation security issues. Otherwise Big Brother lives … all too well.
    .-= Lori Hoeck´s last blog ..Think Like a Black Belt – the self defense E-Book =-.

  18. Cath LawsonNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – I can understand why they might want to know if you have a social media profile, blog etc, incase you may put something online that is damaging to them. But asking for passwords etc implies that they may go as far as accessing your account and changing, or even deleting stuff.

    I wouldn’t give those details to any organisation – mind you, I don’t think I would apply for a job somewhere so controlling either.

    BTW – I emailed you about a week ago and I’m wondering it went in spam?

  19. To play Devil’s Advocate a moment I’d happily give them all of my passwords, thankfully with the help of 1password and other password saving apps I have well over 860 passwords that I’ve used over the last 10 years. On top of that nice list for them to use I’d only ask that since my private life is now apparently part of my job that I be paid 24/7/365 at the standard hourly rate the job offers. So sorry if that ends up being too expensive.

    Personally all snarkiness aside, I think that what I do outside of office hours is my life. This includes drug testing, sexual kink, how I spend my salary. If it doesn’t apply to my office hours then it’s none of their business.

    It’s a shame that a city attorney who should be wellversed in the law would think that widescale invasions of privacy were allowed in order to hire people. I’m curious if the city has his logins on file?

  20. TracyNo Gravatar says:

    Handing over my passwords means they have access to my inboxes on various networking sites and can violate not only my privacy but the privacy of my friends and families. It means I can be impersonated, intimidated, have details of my personal life that I’d prefer to keep private made office fodder and more. So no thank you.

    Companies and the government do have a right to make sure their employees are behaving ethically and not doing damage to the companies reputation. I don’t think that they have the right to go this far. Plus, in the case of the goverment, couldn’t they get a warrant if they needed this information?

    I don’t think this is a case of where if you have nothing to hide, you’ve no reason to be worried. This is a violation of privacy and of human dignity and I hope that I am never in a position where I have to give up something so precious to me to feed my family.
    .-= Tracy´s last blog ..Men’s Pocky =-.

  21. I don’t understand this – if you give them all the urls they can see all of the information – they don’t need the passwords for this. I wonder if someone is confused by the difference between a url and a login 😉

    If you really needed the job, you could fill out the info and the immediately change the passwords. Say well that violated the terms of service so after disclosing them I was required to change them immediately. 🙂

    Somehow I don’t think this is going to hold up.

  22. I have a feeling this policy will be altered in the near future, since they are crossing into an area in which applicants would have to disregard policies they have agreed to in order to hold many of these accounts.

    As for my feelings, although I don’t generally share things online, in open forums, in which I could be judged by a future employer, I do have privacy settings I use on many of these accounts – to protect my friends and family. Information I share only with very close friends and family.

    It is inappropriate for a future employer to require me to make that information available to them, in my opinion. Their access should be no different than the access I provide for my current coworkers.

    Granted, if I were going to be working on some super-secret government mission, I’m guessing I would disclose most of this, but to work for a local government agency? No.
    .-= RC – Rambling Along…´s last blog ..Celebrating today =-.

  23. Ditto Samar, pretty much. In the case of an extremely sensitive position – such as one close to a country’s leader – I would want a confidentiality agreement, but I’d be willing to share my online profile details. No passwords, but what names I’ve used. Makes sense, to protect both the leader AND myself. In all other circumstances – unless the job were something where online profiles would act as a reference – forget it.
    .-= SpikeTheLobster´s last blog ..A Father’s Day Post =-.

  24. I don’t see a problem with listing websites, but giving login names and passwords is insane.
    .-= Vered – MomGrind´s last blog ..40+ Activities For Kids That Do Not Involve TV, Computer, Wii, Or Any Other Screen =-.

  25. I do not agree with handing over usernames/passwords. If they want to view my information on line, they can Google my name to see what I’ve been up to. That should be enough. There is enough info available today that shows what goes on the internet stays on the internet, and hopefully people keep that in mind if there is something they don’t want made public.
    .-= Stacey Shipman´s last blog ..Can You See the Bright Side on a Rainy Day? =-.

  26. The password side of the request is what doesn’t make sense. I assume they feel there are areas of the individuals domain that they can’t access without a password – which seems a bit silly. Depending on the security clearance required for the job however, background checks can be very intrusive.
    .-= Fred H Schlegel´s last blog ..Who Needs Innovation Training? =-.

  27. TriciaNo Gravatar says:

    In any type of position where an applicant would be representing the agency or company publicly or have decision-making authority to impact lives or security, of course their online persona is open to scrutiny. However, a potential employer can check my financial stability, for example, without requiring I provide my online banking password. I would not provide a password or log in information for my social media accounts, and I wouldn’t be interested in working for an agency or company that required them.
    .-= Tricia´s last blog ..Redefining Normal =-.

  28. I can’t never understand Americans, they get so touchy with their rights… I would arrange a compromise, I’ll give you my password on youtube if you give me yours in paypal 🙂 j/k
    .-= Miguel de Luis´s last blog ..Blogging Vacation =-.

  29. If they keep up asking for stuff like this they will drive more people to self-employment. Yes! It’s just more proof that employment is essentially slavery. If that’s the game you want to play one of distrust and suspicion then apparently those are the rules.
    .-= Tom Volkar / Delightful Work´s last blog ..The Missing Link To Business Start Up Success =-.

  30. Barbara,

    Okay…I totally disagree with the the password thing. On the other hand, why couldn’t you just give them the passwords and then immediately change them?

    I can’t imagine they could actually monitor a person’s actions online…unless they were willing to hire a ton of people for this purpose! And that in itself, would make me wonder about the job and where the money goes in that city!!!

    Regarding Obama, I might understand them reviewing a blog and the posts on it, but who’s going to go through a person’s comments on other posts? That’s taking things a bit far.

    I like Miguel’s idea the best! Power to the people:~)
    .-= Sara B. Healy´s last blog ..Story Photo Challenge: Who’s Behind the Door =-.

  31. CricketNo Gravatar says:

    I had no idea this was going on. I am in total disagreement. Most all people are aware that a google search shows up just about everything one might need to know. To many, the internet is a outlet for living. A way of life.

    I did enjoy reading the comments above. I think it is a given that all disagree with what is going on.

    As usual Barbara, thank you for writing such a wonderful post. I hope it doesn’t come back to haunt you one day. (LOL) You might have a creepy person hiding out in your comments.
    .-= Cricket´s last blog ..Simple Things… =-.

  32. tj_linkerNo Gravatar says:

    what is the reason for them to ask the passwords? why do they want the password?.. give me a good reason and i will.. (still) not going to give them my password

  33. PatriciaNo Gravatar says:

    I had not heard this story. I worked in counseling services with children and women for a long period of time – trying to keep families together or making the decision to remove children from harm. They knew everything about me and that was good – but they did not know my passwords and logins.

    I had to be very quiet about keeping personal or work journals because lawyers were always asking me about those things.

    Several of my co-workers caused harm and damage to case in trial because of their off work activities – I have seen children and women die because of human betrayal and lack of ethics and contempt.
    …and we have all seen what happens when the “big boys” do damage to systems and resources in the Enron business and our current financial crisis. Scary stuff
    .-= Patricia´s last blog ..What Good are Fathers For? =-.

  34. Chase MarchNo Gravatar says:

    This is a violation of our privacy.

    Perhaps they should also ask what social groups we belong to, what restaurants we regularly eat at, what clubs we belong to, and if we have ever ordered stuff from an infomericial.

    No one needs to know these things. I would be tempted to leave those lines blank. Or, I would write that my time after work is my time and none of their business.

    That being said, I have nothing to hide. It just freaks me out a bit that they want this much information about me. It’s really not needed.
    .-= Chase March´s last blog ..My Journal Died =-.

  35. DoktorThomasNo Gravatar says:

    There are limits to what employers should ask by general social rules. The law does not address the area that includes the information requested here (yet). Who wants/needs a boss that is this intrusive?

    Unfortunately the road to self-employment is usually paved with jobs… so one cannot avoid the numerous incursions on privacy that have appeared (fostered by insurance companies primarily). Or can they?

    Actually it is possible to maintain your privacy, control the questioned media relationships sought to be revealed in this article, and still truthfully answer, “None.” in the job interview.

    In the brick & mortar part of my life, this is easy to implement. However, the whole internet populous is not in the neighborhood. Currently the side project is to put the relevant knowledge and support on the web. But the site has not launched yet and time is precious… stay tuned.

    The moral here is plain: do not post anything on line that you do not want to follow you the rest of your life. As we have seen, a teenage girl’s romance pics can make you a convicted child molester forever… even though there is no excuse for fanaticism in the law.

  36. When it comes to government officials and employees, paid with tax dollars, yes. Given the “worms that come out of the woodwork,” I do believe the people have a right to know if employees are involved in anything sordid or potentially illegal.

    I also believe the same requirements should be applied to anyone who will be working with children, the mentally impaired, the elderly…anyone with particular vulnerabilities.

    If a prospective employer were to require such information from me, I would have no problem providing it, but then I have nothing to hide. Perhaps that is the whole point?

    Great post; great questions!


  37. A ps here….I WOULD immediately change all passwords, or not provide them ahead of time. That would have to be done only in my presence!

  38. jan geronimoNo Gravatar says:

    Barb said it very well: “For security, yes. For personal thought and conversations, no. Let them Google it if they must… or check in with their satellites…”

    My passwords? Are these people nuts? Let these people sweat it out – like the rest of us do. “,)
    .-= jan geronimo´s last blog ..Warning: Are You a Caveman Blogger? =-.

  39. I picked up on that article a few days ago. I don’t think it’s right to be forced to hand over passwords and login names to get a job.

    If you want to work for the president that requires total loyalty and transparency but it seems even Mr Obama didn’t ask for passwords and login names.

    I’m sure it would scare the hell out of certain politicians and maybe they would feel more accountable (touchable) for their actions (but they are so sleazy they’ve probably thought of all that).
    .-= Paisley (Paisley Thoughts)´s last blog ..Women =-.

  40. It’s a horrifying invasion of privacy and I’d be amazed if anyone fills it in. Personally I’d need a good few pages to cover all my online activities. This is a small organisations that doesn’t understand the internet at all.
    .-= Birmingham Accountants´s last blog ..Home Page =-.

  41. WOULD immediately change all passwords, or not provide them ahead of time. That would have to be done only in my presence!

  42. ChristineNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara, I tweeted about this the other day. I suppose there will be people who end up providing this info and won’t let it stop them from applying for a job there. In my opinion it’s taking it too far.

    I like Tom Volkar’s take on it in his comment above. 🙂

  43. Jeremy DayNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    Wow, this certainly hit a nerve with most of us. I guess these guys weren’t involved with computers in the 90s. Security has come a long way for us to feel safe putting our credit card numbers online. Now they want passwords? Insane…

    I simply wouldn’t take the job if that was a requirement, and I am sure they will turn away some excellent candidates. So be it…

    .-= Jeremy Day´s last blog ..Get Out Your BS Monitor =-.

  44. Chania GirlNo Gravatar says:

    This is something I feel very strongly about and am going to swear a bit here and say, in answer to your questions, “HELL NO!”

    This is absolutely an invasion of privacy and I see no cause for it. These are the kinds of demands made by officials when a city, state, or town is operating under martial law for severe reasons. What reasons are they offering?

    I already have a hard enough time swallowing the Patriot Act. It’s hogwash.
    .-= Chania Girl´s last blog ..Under Heaven =-.

  45. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Kelvin – It’s hard to believe this is for real, isn’t it? You’re right, everything we do put online is “out there” for others to see/read. But passwords? Makes me wonder what they’re thinking.

    Hi J.D. – Very well said. “t seems like another example where being authentic helps.”

    Hi Jeannette – Yes, that’s politics. It appears the idea has trickled down from the Presidential campaign to small town America. Only they took it a step further.

    Hi Samar – I agree. Our online activity may affect some jobs, but asking for passwords is going a step too far.

    Hi Tess – I hope it’s not a visions of things to come, however, I do think we’ll be seeing more of this (needing to reveal online activity) in the future.

    Hi Avani – Good point. Trust is a two way street.

    Hi Mike – I never thought of that. Revealing our online passwords/login information could be detrimental if the person who receives it doesn’t treat it confidentially, or if their system was hacked.

    Hi Jannie – Exactly. Just like Mike said, this could lead to identity theft.

    Hi Barb – That’s true. If an agency/company feels they need that much information from us, it would make us wonder what the job conditions will be. Would Big brother be watching over our shoulder at all times?

    I agree. What we do online is easily Google-able.

    Hi Linda – Hmmm. Might that be the case? With so many job applicants now, using this technique would certainly eliminate a lot. But on the other hand, might some agree just to get the job?

    Hi Jay – It’s great to hear from a Federal employee. I agree. It’s important that we remain transparent online, especially if we’re building our online resume. With Big Brother being your employer, it’s good to know they’re not asking for passwords and login information.

    Hi Dot – LOL. Good question. What next?

    Hi Betsy – I knew you would love that one. 🙂 And you’re right. Even though a questionnaire can be long and exhaustive, doesn’t mean all the important stuff is on there.

    I’m glad you brought that up about current employers monitoring the activities of their employees. All it takes is a quick scan from the IT department and they can tell if you’re working or surfing, or playing games, or sending personal emails, etc. In most cases, the companies are upfront about this, however, unless they implement the rules and reprimand employees for abuse, most forget about it and continue to do what they want – often on the taxpayer’s dime.

    Hi Davina – Good point. If someone is so willing to give up their passwords, can they be trusted with other confidential information? Maybe not.

    Hi Positively Present – Yes, it is absurd. Some employers probably do want to know what their people are doing online, but in a lot of jobs, it shouldn’t make a difference.

    Hi John – It is crazy, isn’t it? Plus, would they know what to do once they got to our dashboards? I doubt it.

    Hi Lori – I love how you put that. “…with whatever I write acceptable enough to put on a billboard my mother could see.” That’s transparency. But like you said, when it comes down to private information, that’s going a step too far.

    Hi Catherine – That’s true. What some say on social media sites or blogs can be damaging to others, so that part is understandable, but letting someone have access behind the scenes could very well mean things could be changed.

    RE: the email. It did end up in spam. Look for a response soon.

    Hi Chris – Haha. Good idea. Do you think they would pay us 24/7/365?

    That’s a great question about the city attorney. I’m guessing even he wouldn’t release that data.

    Hi Tracy – True. With that type of data, we could be impersonated. How sad would that be? The online reputation we have built up thus far could be totally ruined. And like you said, our chance to make an income and feed our families. I’m guessing that’s also true – if they felt they needed that information (for whatever reason ??) they could issue a warrant.

    Hi Kim – That could be exactly what’s happening. If they are confused between URLs and logins/passwords, this would make more sense.

    Changing our passwords is a great idea – due to the terms of service.

    Hi RC – Like you, I’m thinking this policy will soon be altered. With all of the controversy surrounding it, they’ll need to find a better way to address this issue.

    Hi Spike – Yes. Sharing some stuff does protect both us and the leader, as it could be a bad reflection on the “Big Cheese” if we’re doing something that could be detrimental to their reputation.

    Hi Vered – It is insane, isn’t it?

    Hi Stacey – Good point. What we do online is easily accessible. Best we be careful with what we say and/or publish.

    Hi Fred – Yes. Background checks can be very intrusive. Like you said, the need for passwords doesn’t make sense.

    Hi Tricia – That’s sad, isn’t it? Even our financial information can be accessed without our knowledge. I’ve heard many insurance companies are using our credit scores to determine our rates, and if they even want to insure us.

    Hi Miguel – I LOVE your compromise. Do you think anyone will take you up on that? 🙂

    Hi Tom – I hear you. This type of situation does drive many to self employment. But, maybe that’s not a bad thing. And I’ll bet you’ll even coach them on how to get started. Yeah? 🙂

    Hi Sara – Unfortunately our activities online can be monitored, as well as our comments, but like like you said, where would the money be coming from to hire people to do that? It could be SO time consuming especially when some of us bloggers are posting regularly, visiting dozens of sites, and being active on social media networks.

    HI Cricket – You’re welcome. That’s true. A Google search can reveal a lot about us.

    LOL. I’m not worried about this post or any of them haunting me. As you all know, I’m very transparent online.

    Hi Tj – Who knows why they feel they need passwords. Maybe they’ll put out a press release and elaborate on their original request.

    Hi Patricia – Yes. It is scary stuff. It’s sad when others lack ethics and create harm or even death to the innocent. Although it may be easy to intimidate the “little guy”, it makes me wonder why instead of going from the bottom up, we’re not going from the top down – case in point, as you brought up – Enron.

    Hi Chase – True. It does make us wonder where “they” will draw the line. Often a request starts out innocently, and then it’s expanded to include more. It’s up to us to say “stop”.

    Hi Doktor – Very well put. And I agree, “do not post anything on line that you do not want to follow you the rest of your life”.

    BTW: Be sure to stop back by when your side project is up and running. I’d love to read it.

    Hi Karen – *smiles* Yes, there are some “worms in the woodwork”, and if our tax dollars are paying their wages, they’re technically working for us.

    That’s a great point – when someone is working with children, the elderly or the mentally impaired, we would want to know more about their ethics, morals, etc. so the innocent are protected.

    Hi Jan – Yes, they can easily Google our activities. They certainly don’t need passwords to do that.

    Hi Paisley – LOL – Yes. I’m sure some know their activities online can be traced and stay off of it, for that reason.

    Hi Birmingham – You caught that too. “Three lines to list your online activity”. For many of us, we would need many blank pages to show what all we do. I’m guessing they’re quickly learning there’s more to internet activity than meets the eye.

    Hi Luke – Yes, changing passwords is easy to do, and an immediate change would be the best way to protect our private information.

    HI Christine – You’re right. This won’t stop some from applying for the job. But then again, many aren’t active online so they don’t see it as being an issue – not like us bloggers. 🙂

    Hi Jeremy – That’s so true. Many excellent candidates wouldn’t even apply for the job(s). Their loss…..

  46. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Chania Girl – Unfortunately they don’t address the “password/login” issue specifically, but do say “to make sure the people that we hire have the highest moral character and are a good fit for the city.” What that has to do with needing private information is anyone’s guess.

  47. Darn right it’s not a bad thing. If slaves hadn’t felt oppressed then they would still be slaves. One has to experience the limitations of employment before self-employment can be considered. And yes thanks for the plug. That’s who I enjoy coaching the most – folks who want greater confidence and clarity for making the leap.
    .-= Tom Volkar / Delightful Work´s last blog ..The Missing Link To Business Start Up Success =-.

  48. This hits close to home because one of the reasons I left the legal profession was so that I could release all the pent-up creative energy I’d built up over the years, and then the whole issue of whether I would bring down the reputation of the law firm or whatever no longer came up. As a general matter I don’t think a policy that stifles the creativity of government employees or employees of any kind is going to help the employer recruit the best people for the job.

    From a business perspective, of course, it depends on how much the employer thinks they’ll really be harmed by “attack journalism” based on the employee’s activities, and of course there’s unfortunately plenty of that kind of journalism out there.
    .-= Chris Edgar | Purpose Power Coaching´s last blog ..10 Motivational Metal Masterpieces =-.

  49. janiceNo Gravatar says:

    I can understand President Obama’s postion, but the passwords thing is insane! It all makes me feel very uneasy.
    .-= janice´s last blog ..Connected and Encouraged =-.

  50. TumblemooseNo Gravatar says:

    Oh, Barbara this is a tough one.

    On one hand, I’m pretty much an open book with not much to hide.

    On the other hand, I might have to tell a potential employer to take a flying roll through a donut hole. I mean, what kind of relationship does that set up before even getting hired? I’m not sure I’d want to work for someone who insisted on having that information.

    Wait, wait. I know. How about they give me THEIRS as well. Let me poke around about their webbings, then I can decide if they are the kind of person who I want to benefit from my exceptional skills 🙂

    .-= Tumblemoose´s last blog ..What It Takes to Make It Writing Children’s Books =-.

  51. LisaNewtonNo Gravatar says:

    I vote NO to passwords. Plain and simple!!
    .-= LisaNewton´s last blog ..We Built this City =-.

  52. TipsyNo Gravatar says:

    This is absurd. What right do they have to ask for data like this ? I can understand if Obama wants to know whether people working for him are moral people and e.g. haven’t written a racist article 20 years back that the media could dig up and use against him. But that’s a completely different issue.
    I’d sue them. And win.
    .-= Tipsy´s last blog ..Pazurki od Eweliny =-.

  53. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi again Tom – That’s a great point you bring up about having to deal with employment before self employment should be considered. It not only teaches us what we don’t want to be doing, but can give us empathy for our own employees.

    Hi Chris – It sounds like you made a wise move. Now you can use that creativity in ways that will benefit yourself as well as others.

    That’s true. Many employers do face cyber attacks with the internet being such an easy place to voice opinions.

    Hi Janice – Yes. Requiring passwords takes the whole “need to know” to a much higher level.

    Hi George – That’s a great point. As much as employers want to know who they are hiring, we should also do our own homework and check on who might be hiring us. We might be shocked if we Googled them.

    Hi Lisa – Thank you for your vote. From reading all of the comments, even those who did say they would give passwords, said they would then change them immediately.

    Hi Tipsy – Its funny you should mention suing them, as that was brought up in the comments of the above mentioned articles. I’m guessing by now, their policy to ask for passwords has probably changed,

  54. johny2shoesNo Gravatar says:

    when i read this i was like no way! it is totaly against one`s privacy, i dont think it should reflect on a job position.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Johny – You and many others feel the same way. I’ll be curious to learn what happens in this case.

  55. MichaelNo Gravatar says:

    I agree with Miguel De Luis:

    “arrange a compromise: I’ll give you my password on youtube if you give me yours in paypal”.

    I can understand why a prospective employer would want your online profile info/link, but login info, especially passwords, is going way too far.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Michael – Yes. Asking for logins and passwords is really pushing the envelope. And like others said, with passwords and logins so easy to change, having that information may be useless.

  56. VincentNo Gravatar says:

    I sympathize with the list of requirements made by then president-elect Obama, for they recognize the power of online publication to breach confidentiality and gossip in an impolite way. Like most people I live in a community, and would be very cautious in for example blogging about my neighbours. When I work for an organization I am often inspired to tell anecdotes indirectly related to my experience. I was working as a volunteer with an organization helping the elderly as an odd-job man visiting their homes. I decided that under no circumstances would I blog anything about the experience, not anything at all, because it would be a breach of privacy, even if names and so forth were changed completely. At a large corporation I worked at for eight months (coming out of retirement to take on a contract) I did describe some experiences there, but changed all names (the company, the town, the co-workers) and made sure that even if in some future time anyone might identify who I had written about, there would be nothing remotely disrespectful, and that the people referred to would be honoured to have inspired the posts. I gave them names like Al Pacino and Beethoven from physical and psychological resemblance.

    I feel that some bloggers may be cruder and less respectful in airing their opinions and comments on people and organizations whose guests they have become, and it’s not at all surprising that organizations fight back
    .-= Check out Vincent´s awesome post: Out of Jail =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Vincent – What you’ve described is a common problem many bloggers face. Do we or do we not write about encounters with others, what others say and/or do, etc. For some they have no problem naming names, others are more cautious and don’t, and still others do what you do and change the information so drastically, no one could figure it out (hopefully).

      You’re right. Many organizations do fight back because of what those who came before did. What’s that saying? “Burn me once, shame on you. Burn me twice, shame on me.”

      When I think about the political scene, anyone who is even remotely inclined to get into politics would be best to stay off the internet and keep their nose clean…in a perfect world. 🙂

  57. VincentNo Gravatar says:

    Well, I don’t know about political people staying off the internet. Blogs have become a very powerful anti-corruption tool over here, exposing shameful secrets as well as smearing the innocent. Our leading politicians are using the internet as a public platform to good effect.

    I would want to say that the prime rule about blogging is to be conscious that you are publicly speaking to the whole world. Don’t expect that you can hide under a cloak of anonymity. Don’t take it for granted that you can delete your posts when things get hot for you. Others may have taken copies and there is nothing you can do to stop them.

    I have to admit that if my own blog ever were to get popular, I’d be tempted to stop publishing it. Success is not what I seek. If my writings were good enough I’d want them in an old-fashioned book, through an old-fashioned publisher.
    .-= Check out Vincent´s awesome post: Out of Jail =-.

  58. I wouldn’t share any of this for a position; though I can see how it might be necessary in politics, being so sensitive.

    However, the town asking for logins? Huh? Surely that is overruled by dozens of privacy laws?
    .-= Check out Bathurst Hotels´s awesome post: Knickerbocker hotel website launches! =-.

  59. BingoNo Gravatar says:

    Honestly, this just infuriates me. They take it too far! Are social groups online like political parties or something?? If I was taking part in an extremist forum, MAYBE, but the rest of it…
    .-= Check out Bingo´s awesome post: Players love summer’s new bingo sites =-.