ACLU objects to Maryland DOC request for employee Facebook logins

How would you like it if your boss listened in on your private, off-hours phone conversations or peeked into your bedroom as you engaged in whatever it is you do in there, I ain’t judging? Is the below scenario very much different, all things considered?

Facebook is a bit of an information sieve, dripping images and details about you onto the world wide web whether friends-locked or not, but the one on one and direct stuff is generally still considered a private, mostly unleakable thing. Like the messages you might send a friend with similar medical concerns or a child as unruly as yours. Or the totally legal, above board but perhaps embarrassingly intimate flirting in which you might engage. Permissible and understandable pursuits all, but would you like your current or future employer sifting through your private Facebook interactions? Is there any question that users are entitled to keep their private information private, especially being as information only accessible with a password to the account is not generally broadcasted across the internet unless the account is breached?

Not for the first time, an employer is demanding job candidates and current employees turn over their Facebook login information so superiors can skim through the personal details of their accounts, including private transmissions with friends, significant others and spouses. Yes, you read that right- employers are beginning to feel entitled to violate not only your privacy, but that of the people who cannot consent and are exposed merely by merit of associating with folks whose bosses have such designs. So if you were considering sharing your innermost deep, dark secrets with someone employed by or contemplating employment with the Maryland Department of Corrections, you may want to rethink that decision. Imagine being in the shoes of corrections officer Robert Collins, required to turn over his login during a re-certification interview and sit there while his supervisor scrolled through his Facebook page. One wonders if it’s frowned upon to change your password shortly thereafter, or if any forewarning precedes the practice at all.

Thankfully, the ACLU is stepping up and trying to arrest this practice in its infancy. Nationwide outcry occurred when the city of Bozeman, Montana attempted to pull the same shenanigans on employees, but the town eventually backed down and stopped trying to intrude on workers’ private, online interactions. An online petition over at the ACLU’s website points out that such egregious privacy violations are illegal under the Federal Stored Communications Act, but the scary part is that it hasn’t stopped two state agencies from attempting access the info.

Would you turn over your Facebook password to your boss or a potential employer? Do you think this request will become more common in hiring and spying on employees?

[ACLU via AllFacebook]