Feeds

US city demands FaceSpaceGooHoo log-ins from job seekers

Data protection and privacy...we've heard of that

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Updated If you apply for a job with the City of Bozeman, Montana - a mid-sized burg halfway across these United States - you're forced to surrender usernames and passwords for every account you've set up with websites of the "social networking" variety.

According to the City, that includes everything from Facebook and MySpace to YouTube to, well, Yahoo! and Google.

"Please list any and all, current personal or business websites, web pages or memberships on any Internet-based chat rooms, social clubs or forums, to include, but not limited to: Facebook, Google, Yahoo, YouTube.com, MySpace, etc.," reads a waiver form that allows the City to investigate a job applicant's "background, references, character, past employment, education, credit history, criminal or police records."

Then it asks for usernames and passwords.

With most websites, sharing log-in information is verboten. "You will not share your password, let anyone else access your account, or do anything else that might jeopardize the security of your account," reads the Facebook EULA. "You will not transfer your account to anyone without first getting our written permission."

And then there's the question of whether the City of Bozeman has overlooked the great American right to privacy.

Speaking with a local Montana TV news station, City attorney Greg Sullivan says Bozeman takes privacy seriously. But he defends the burg's log-in grab. "So, we have positions ranging from fire and police, which require people of high integrity for those positions, all the way down to the lifeguards and the folks that work in city hall here. So we do those types of investigations to make sure the people that we hire have the highest moral character and are a good fit for the City," he said.

Ah, but if I hand over my Facebook user name and password, I'm also handing over an endless stream of information posted by my Facebook "friends."

"You know, I can understand that concern," Sullivan said. "One thing that's important for folks to understand about what we look for is none of the things that the federal constitution lists as protected things. We don't use those. We're not putting out this broad brush stroke of trying to find out all kinds of information about the person that we're not able to use or shouldn't use in the hiring process."

Sullivan did not respond to our request for comment. Talking with the news station, he said that the City would consider changing its policy so that job seekers would only be required to sign up the City as a "friend" on sites like Facebook. And he said that no job seeker has ever rescinded their application after reading the wavier form.

But that's because people rarely recognize a threat to their own privacy. Even if the City claims that privacy will be respected, you're handing your usernames and passwords to individual City workers. And individual workers have minds of their own. ®

Updated

Facebook is not pleased with the Bozeman situation and plans to contact the City. "This is a violation of Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, which received feedback from users and was ultimately approved in a site-wide vote," the company tells us. "Our policies prohibit those who use the service from soliciting login information or accessing an account that belongs to someone else. In addition to violating Facebook’s policies, we think this practice violates personal privacy, and we plan to reach out to the City of Bozeman to discuss it with them."

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Online tat bazaar eBay coughs to YET ANOTHER outage
Web-based flea market struck dumb by size and scale of fail
Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes
Etailer plans to undercut rivals with low transaction fee offer
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.