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Senators chime in on employers’ Facebook snooping

May break federal laws, say Blumenthal and Schumer

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The row over employers’ demanding the Facebook logins of staff has widened further, with two US senators asking whether such demands would break federal laws.

Senators Chuck Schumer and Richard Blumenthal have asked the Department of Justice and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to launch a federal investigation into the practice of employers demanding access to the Facebook names and passwords of job applicants.

“A ban on these practices is necessary to stop unreasonable and unacceptable invasions of privacy,” Blumenthal said in his release.

The practice emerged last week, with the Associated Press identifying specific instances of interviewers making the demand.

Facebook has responded with a vague threat that it could possibly respond to this behaviour by dumping accounts or via legal action.

The Blumenthal-Schumer letter to the EEOC says that “by requiring applicants to provide login credentials to social networking sites, employers will have access to private, protected information that may be impermissible to consider when making hiring decisions and may be used to unlawfully discriminate against otherwise qualified applicants.”

The senators also urge the DoJ “to investigate and issue a legal opinion as to whether requesting and using prospective employees’ social network passwords violates current federal law.” ®

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