Washington Gets In On The Facebook Password Debate

Last week a huge privacy issue came out involving Facebook and the protection of user accounts. According to reports from a man in Baltimore Maryland and another from New York, employers are requesting Facebook login credentials from employees and prospective employees.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has gotten involved defending the rights of people against employers asking for private information. The ACLU likened the practice of asking employees and prospective employees for their Facebook credentials to asking to open their private U.S. mail.

The ACLU also pointed out that the practice by employers was a violation of Facebook’s terms of service.  Facebook concurred and posted a lengthy statement to their official blog page denouncing the practice and reminding users to keep their login credentials protected.

More after the break

Several pundits have said that Facebook could seek legal action against the two companies, one includes the State of Maryland, for violating their TOS. They would also be able to seek legal action against other companies that are discovered doing the same thing. Now though, Facebook may not have to do anything at all as Congress has officially gotten involved.

Senators Chuck Scumer of New York and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut said they are calling on the Department of Justice and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to launch investigations.

“In an age where more and more of our personal information — and our private social interactions — are online, it is vital that all individuals be allowed to determine for themselves what personal information they want to make public and protect personal information from their would-be employers. This is especially important during the job-seeking process, when all the power is on one side of the fence,” Schumer said in a statement.

Maryland and Illinois are considering bills that would bar public agencies for asking for this information. California has also introduced a bill that would prohibit employers from asking employees and job applicants for their social media user names and passwords. The California law, if passed, would bar employers from requiring access  to their social media content.

source: Associated Press


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