Controversy over employers asking for Facebook passwords sparks response from U.S. Senator

Over the past week the ACLU has been following a growing news story in the U.S. surrounding employers purportedly asking job applicants for their Facebook usernames and passwords. The story has been discussed at length here in Canada too, with many social-media users upset by the idea. In their most recent update, the ALCU reports that in response to widespread objections, Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut has announced that he plans to table a federal bill to ban the practice altogether.

The ACLU linked to a POLITICO article (here) with many comments from the Sen. Blumenthal. He feels that the requests amount to an unreasonable invasion of privacy, and should be outlawed along with practices such as administering polygraph tests to applicants. He goes on to say that the bill will be ready soon, but will not touch the ability of employers to seek out and view information that is made available to the public by social-media users. He is also looking into how the bill can address the needs of current employees as well.

The recent ACLU update also relays a point that was raised by their readership on the ACLU Facebook page. ACLU readers pointed out that giving your username and password to a potential employer would actually violate Facebook’s legal terms, which state: “[y]ou will not share your password, (or in the case of developers, your secret key), let anyone else access your account, or do anything else that might jeopardize the security of your account.