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article imageCongress says 'no' to protecting your Facebook privacy

By Anne Sewell     Mar 29, 2012 in Internet
There has been much hype in the news lately about potential employers demanding Facebook passwords from interviewees. Much concern has been voiced against this invasion of privacy - two representatives took this concern to Congress without success.
Recently Digital Journal reported that Facebook had warned employers against demanding passwords from potential job applicants.
A number of employers and schools have been asking applicants to supply their Facebook passwords, warning that they would not receive the job or be successful in their application without this information. Facebook said that this is against their privacy policies.
Not only does this violate the privacy of the applicant, but it also violates the privacy of their friends on Facebook. Facebook posted that the company has “seen a distressing increase in reports of employers or others seeking to gain inappropriate access to people's Facebook profiles or private information.”
They added that this practice “undermines the privacy expectations and the security of both the user and users' friends.”
RT reports that the matter was discussed in Congress, and the House Republicans have stopped a measure that would prevent employers from demanding that applicants disclose their passwords.
Democrats had proposed legislation to stop this as part of a bill to implement new restrictions on the FCC rules, as many employers have been requesting access to social media accounts
Rep. Ed Perlmutter said: “What this amendment does is it says you cannot demand as a condition of employment that somebody reveal a confidential password to their Facebook, to their Flickr, to their Twitter, whatever their account may be.”
Perlmutter agrees with many Facebook users who say that these requests infringe on their privacy. “If an employer wants to pose or impersonate the individual who’s had to turn over their confidential password that employer I think will be able to reach into personal private information of the user,” he said.
He added: “And it only makes sense, because those that are using these kind of social media sites have an expectation of privacy. They have an expectation that their right to free speech or their right to free religion would be respected when they use these social media outlets.”
2 U.S. senators had asked Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate whether this request during job interviews are violating federal law. Troubled by reports about employers requesting passwords, Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut called on the Department of Justice and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to launch investigations.
According to, a social media expert, Anthony Juliano has been keeping an eye on the growing trend. “It's really not new, but it's getting people’s attention because it is controversial,” he said. Juliano also stated that this practice was more common in trades such as law enforcement.
During the hearing, this measure was refused with a 184 to 236 vote. No Republicans agreed with the amendment.
With an unemployment rate in the USA of 8.3 percent, this makes it harder and harder for people to find jobs. If they do not disclose the password when asked, there is just no chance of a successful application.
More about Facebook, Privacy, Interview, Job, applicant
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