Update: Facebook reponds, threatens legal action against employers who seek passwords

Yesterday evening I posted about one U.S. Senator’s response to the issue of employers asking job applicants for their Facebook usernames and passwords. Today, Facebook has responded, with Chief Privacy Officer Erin Egan warning that employers who solicit Facebook passwords could open themselves up to legal action. Coverage can be found on the Globe and Mail online here, and the ACLU has a new posting here.

The ACLU’s update also contains more examples of employers that have asked for this information. They also applaud Facebook for taking this matter seriously, and hope that Congress takes notice. The Globe and Mail’s coverage contains an interesting remark from internet-privacy specialist Lori Andrews, who is a law professor at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. She raises the point that even asking for applicants to volunteer the information is coercive, as there is a large amount of pressure on people who are seeking employment to land the job.

Hopefully with all of the attention this issue is getting it can be swiftly resolved. As of this writing I have yet to hear of any Canadian examples, but the Ontario Human Rights Commission issued a strong response to the issue a few hours ago that can be viewed here.

News coverage summary: