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27 Responses to US House declines to block employers demanding Facebook passwords

  1. mistersaxon · 1283 days ago

    I think if you simply point out to the prospective employer that the account contains personal family-only photographs of your children that they will not want to risk any insinuation that that is the reason they wish to access your account. You could even insist that anyone who wishes to access this information shows YOU a criminal records background check first so you know they aren't just some identity thief or worse.

    You might not get the job though . . .

    • Greenaum · 1282 days ago

      I'm not sure saying "You can't look because it has particular photos of my kids that I don't want people to see" is going to cut much ice, especially at the police station later.

    • Michael · 1282 days ago

      Very good point. The applicant would essentially be handing over his/her password to a complete stranger, who could potentially be collecting dodgy pictures of kids, committing identity theft, or whatever cyber-naughtiness. Just saying.

  2. RainforestBaby · 1283 days ago

    There is no need for a law to make this happen. Job applicants should decline to provide this sort of info to any potential employer. No reputable employer would make such a request.

  3. MikeP · 1283 days ago

    Simple solution. Don't have a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc account. So no login or password to hand over so you can't be compromised.

    • Elise · 1283 days ago

      I've heard that argument .. and the counter argument (and I'm not kidding...) is "Well if you don't have a social media account, you don't fit in here."

      • sarah · 1271 days ago

        if that was truly the company's attitude, I would be more than happy to walk away.

  4. Dan · 1283 days ago

    What this is really about is that Republicans don't want the FCC or anyone else to be able to put checks on big business at all. This kind of silly attitude that they have needs to end for the good of everyone!

    • Johann · 1283 days ago

      This is an uncalled for attack on republicans. Who said that republicans were even for or against this tactic? I am a business owner myself, and I bet that if I brought up this issue in a chamber or BNI meeting an overwhelming majority of the business owners there would be appalled by this tactic. The only way problems will ever get solved is by constructive discussion not by casting blame or name-calling.

      For the record, I am not a republican.

      • TJM · 1278 days ago

        "Republican-backed bill to reform the FCC"

        someone didn't read the article first... tsk tsk not wonder you not a republican ;)

    • Nigel · 1283 days ago

      Yeah, the Democrats are the great defenders of personal liberty. Gimmee a break.

      "...for the good of everyone" (aka "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one") is precisely the mentality by which both parties—Democans and Republicrats alike—have persistently and increasingly trashed individual freedoms in the U.S., and by which politicians elsewhere in the world have accomplished the same nefarious end.

      While you stand on your self-righteous sanctimony and fuel more pointless partisan bickering, EVERYONE's freedom is irrevocably being eroded via the kind of attitude your post represents. The laws you presume will necessarily "put checks on big business" already exist by the ton, and they haven't stemmed the corruption. Who do you think pays the big bux to get these political clowns elected?

      So, nice try, but Lisa's article nails it. This is just a case of routine political gamesmanship. Both sides play that game, and meanwhile the issue of privacy that the article addresses is neatly sidestepped by our elected delinquents.

  5. sharp · 1283 days ago

    I got 1 question. If it's supposed to be personal, why are you posting it on a website?

    But Walden is an idiot, and shows you his look on Democracy, and what they are attempting to do with the FCC reform, even though he attempts to act neutral.

    They want all your information open, because soon they will tell you where to go, what to eat, what to buy, and what your allowed to think. Anyone outside thier beliefs will receive unfitting concequences, as they take away your freedom of choice. These people just all need removed from office. Elect people who will work for the people, not work for the money and their own personal gain.

    As Walden states, he is worried about what you do, because he won't know about what you do or think, until it's too late for him or his team to create a half decent response.

  6. Pete · 1283 days ago

    I am not surprised at all. It proves that there are two entities in USA and there is no dialogue line between them. One are the politicians, which include the representatives in the House and the senators. The other are the people (We, the people) who are completely ignored by the first. The gap between the first and the second is bigger than the world. I don't know how long it is going to stay this way, but the second are giving signals of tiredness.

  7. Mrs. W · 1283 days ago

    This is a law that seems just plain unnecessary.

    Employers are not permitted to ask details like age. While many fields on Facebook are optional, birthdate is not. A Facebook profile would also be likely to answer a number of other questions employers are prohibited from asking, like marital status, religion, or whether you're pregnant.

    You have every right to decline based on these grounds alone. "I'm sorry, but my Facebook profile answers questions you're not allowed to ask."

    It would be great if we stopped layering laws on top of laws that already address these issues. . .

  8. Peter J Taylor · 1283 days ago

    The applicant should just point out that he or she will never in any circumstances break an agreement, such as the undertaking given to Facebook not to disclose one's password to anyone else.
    Any decent employer would prefer to employ someone of such integrity.
    Do Republicans seek to make such privacy agreements null and void?

  9. jerey · 1282 days ago

    Why on earth would anyone want to work for a company that asks for your password?

    • Greenaum · 1282 days ago

      Lack of choice. Do you think if McDonald's mandated it, they'd suddenly find themselves unstaffed? People take much worse shit than this from employers, because employees have the freedom to eat shit or starve.

      Good, honest unions would be an answer to this, had not politicians spent so much effort crippling them in recent decades. Tho some unions themselves had corruption problems, they're the only help ordinary people have. Because ordinary people aren't a lobby group, and there's little money in standing up for them.

  10. sharon · 1282 days ago

    Another point to consider is it is not just your profile they have access to. Anything you have access to on your friends account is now available to them. By giving them access to your account you are betraying your friends trust. Perhaps a compromise would be to friend the employer for a short time.

  11. Freida Gray · 1282 days ago

    Yes, most of the companies that CURRENTLY ask for social networking login & password information are law enforcement agencies.
    In one of the articles, a guard who had been away from his job due to a medical leave was asked to provide his password & login information in his re-entry interview.He offered to login to his account for his employer.Their response was..."No,we NEED your login & password ourself." WHY?What did they plan to do with his account later on ?
    I would think that someone in law enforcement would know the meaning of private information,but it appears that the prison system has no concept of that where their guards are concerned.If this had been a prisoner instead of a guard,I think that congress would have responded differently & it wouldn't have mattered whether the proposal had been made to be attached to the FCC bill or written as a seperate bill.

    • Michael · 1282 days ago

      If those agencies were entitled to access that information, they'd be able to anyway. If the login screen's such an obstacle to that, they're not authorised, entitled or have a legitimate need to know the information. Simple as.

  12. Jeff S. · 1281 days ago

    It is against Facebook user agreement and just good security practice to not give your password to others- period. In the day of cyber security issues, breaches, etc., why any employer would want a password is beside me? A tremendous liability in addition to morally wrong for anyone to ask for someone else's password.
    Jeff S.

  13. How about saying you don't have a FB account & just deactivate the account while you go thru the motions & change the profile pic for a few months afterwards, chance are there are about 60+ people with your same name. Let them go thru the hassle, to hell with it. Simple as that.

    • Azalea · 1279 days ago

      There is NO ONE on Facebook with the same name as me. There is no one else in the WORLD with my name.

      I have a very rare last name. My first name doesn't fit into my cultural background, and it is also spelled in a rarer manner, even for the language it comes from. With such a combination, I'm pretty easy to identify.

      (You can guess the name I have given here isn't my real name.)

  14. Azalea · 1279 days ago

    By failing to create laws against this blatant invasion of privacy, isn't the US then in direct violation of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights?

    Article 12 states, "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence... Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference..."

    Found here:

  15. freidagray54 · 1272 days ago

    Before I ever hand over any login or password I would require a written statement (in duplicate) from the employer stating in detail what that information will be used for.That way I would have what amounts to a legal contract to use if they decide to do such things as delete my account or change my password/s.

  16. houdini · 1228 days ago

    The answer is simple. Keep a public fb account with your name with only a few friends and a very sanitized page & a private one under an alias and never use the private one at work.

  17. sheryl · 1136 days ago

    My husband just got fired today for having ICP and other music on his personal fb page. A employee complained to corporate about it. They stated they don't want that image representing the company. He has worked there for 4 yrs. never have missed one day of work, always went in when someone called in, no criminal record (not even a speeding ticket).

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About the author

I've been writing about technology, careers, science and health since 1995. I rose to the lofty heights of Executive Editor for eWEEK, popped out with the 2008 crash, joined the freelancer economy, and am still writing for my beloved peeps at places like Sophos's Naked Security, CIO Mag, ComputerWorld, PC Mag, IT Expert Voice, Software Quality Connection, Time, and the US and British editions of HP's Input/Output. I respond to cash and spicy sites, so don't be shy.