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March 28, 2012 08:52 PM UTC

Perlmutter Draws The Line At Your Facebook Password

  • by: Colorado Pols

Worth noting, from Rep. Ed Perlmutter’s press release yesterday:

More and more employers want to access your Facebook and social media accounts with your password for job screening purposes.  Not so fast, says Rep. Ed Perlmutter (CO-07) who introduced a provision that would prevent employers from requiring current and prospective employees to hand over their personal passwords as a condition of either keeping or getting a new job.

Perlmutter said, “People have an expectation of privacy when using social media like Facebook and Twitter.  They have an expectation that their right to free speech and religion will be respected when they use social media outlets.  No American should have to provide their confidential personal passwords as a condition of employment. Both users of social media and those who correspond share the expectation of privacy in their personal communications.  Employers essentially can act as imposters and assume the identity of an employee and continually access, monitor and even manipulate an employee’s personal social activities and opinions.  That’s simply a step too far. ”

Unfortunately, House Republicans voted 236-185 against the amendment, which was included as part of the FCC Reform Act (HR 3309).  If passed, the amendment would not change the overall impact or intent of the FCC Reform Act.

This reminds us of the recently killed Colorado Senate Bill 3, Sen. Morgan Carroll’s “Employment Opportunity Act,” which would have restricted the use of consumer credit information in making hiring decisions in most circumstances. If anything, employers requesting your private social media account password is a much clearer-cut invasion of privacy–tantamount in every way we can think of to an employer asking to open personal mail.

And look at the other similarity–party-line votes to kill! We’d say that provokes a logical question for Rep. Perlmutter’s GOP opponent Joe Coors, Jr. Does Coors think you should give up your Facebook password, as a precondition to working for his former company if he’d wanted it?

We have to think there are some CoorsTek employees who hope not.


37 thoughts on “Perlmutter Draws The Line At Your Facebook Password

    1. There are statutes that apply to unauthorized access to internet stuff. However, I am sure the republicans would say that by giving your access password you authorized the invasion.

    1. That’s what all of their legislation in every state seems to revolve around.  Jobs? Economic issues?  They couldn’t care less. Treat women like idiots, the unemployed like criminals, and force those 86 year olds who no longer drive but have voted all their lives and have the voter roll records to prove it to scramble with expense and transportation issues in order to get the documentation they need to get a photo ID. Their priorities are obvious and don’t reflect well at all on their honor.

      1. I happen to work for like minded conservatives, but I would do that if my employer asked. They’d see is what you see, though, wouldn’t they? Once again your paranoia gets the best of you.

    1. illegal searches.” I don’t care.  I have nothing to hide.”  Well, whether you personally think you have anything to hide is irrelevant.  The question is are we to be a society where no one has the right to any privacy at all?  I don’t see how demanding your password is any different than demanding the key to your home for the purpose of entering and searching. Not even the state can do that arbitrarily, much less a private employer. I don’t think our founding fathers, the ones you people claim to hold in such high esteem, would look too kindly on that kind of invasion. Sounds pretty fascist for a supposed worshipper of personal freedom as you righties like to style yourselves except when you’re shoving your ideology and theology down other people’s throats.

        1. post and then fail to engage with any of those who respond but lately that habit is more pronounced than ever. Can’t blame him though.  He’s got nothing.  Especially as a Romney supporter, a subject on which ArapG has been particularly silent lately. To be fair, Romney does make it harder and harder for his supporters every time he opens his mouth, a past editorial is resurrected or one of his spokespersons says something.

          The picture they collectively paint is of  Romney with an Etch A Sketch head and pants on fire, sitting in his car with a dog strapped to the top, in the elevator of one of his palatial homes, making a list of people he’d enjoy firing and another of what he should stock a bomb shelter with in case the Russians, still our number one enemy in the year 2012, launch a nuclear attack on us. The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming!  Still a fun movie, though.

          Never thought anyone could be less qualified than GW. Just goes to show…never say never.  Poor ArapG.

          1. Makes Romney look even more like an idiot.  

            I really thought Romney could have got some traction with this, but again he just totally fucks it up…

            1. I might have said “as if that were possible” but apparently it is.  Kind of goes with the “never say never” thing.

              And hey, Fidel…how did your meeting with the Pope go?  

    2. “I don’t mind showing off my entire life to someone I never met, so anyone who does must be guilty of something.”

      I think I may have a new sig line.

    3. Show me the constitutional or statutory basis for your claim that a company has a right to protect itself from its employees having private lives.

    4. Companies already have ample means to protect themselves against the occasional bad apple employee.  

      As you already noted, this is an “At Will” state.  In addition to being able to fire anyone for cause, companies have many legal remedies — civil and/or criminal — to punish the former employee.

      On the other hand, individuals, especially in today’s job market, usually don’t have the economic freedom to refuse unreasonable requests from potential employers.

      So balancing the employer’s ability to protect themselves vs. a job candidate’s constitutional right to privacy should be a no-brainer.

      So your point ArapaGOP, seems to be that we should gladly cast aside the wisdom our Founding Fathers bequeathed us — to jealously guard our individual freedoms.  Correct?  

  1. I would give them the “Did you just ask if there was a rabbit on my head?”-look.

    It’s completely out of line to ask for something like that. Imagine if, before the internet, prospective employers asked for you to bring in your answering machine or told you that you have to bring them to your favorite hang-out spot so they can watch how you act.

    It’s fucking stupid that some employers think this is an ok thing to ask.

    1. I would ask him/her for the company’s policy on sharing passwords to company sites. Would they appreciate a new employee who showed no compunctions about violating company policies — such as the Facebook Terms of Service.While I concede that I wouldn’t get the job, I would hope that they see the parallels to their own operations.

  2. and the righties want to throw in the towel.

    Agop, ellbee, and the rest of those folks will never get it.

    At the risk of invoking Godwin, it is instructive to take a close look at the British/French/Czech dynamic in the face of the German National Socialist Party under Hitler in September 1938.

    Yes, Chamberlain takes the historical burden in history, but the story is much deeper.

    Not one of us should acknowledge defeat or give ground to state/corporate control.

  3. I have the same reaction to this as I did watching the Colorado Springs City Council approve surveillance cameras for downtown streets:

    If anyone had suggested this when I was growing up in the most conservative county in Nebraska in the 50’s and 60’s, they would have been called a dirty pinko commie.

    I never bought into the “commie under every bed” scares, but I did object to invasions of privacy. My objections have not changed, but the conservative reactions to invasion of privacy have changed.

  4. Why would ANYONE work for someone who wanted to see your facebook page?  If you want to see it see it “Friend” me and i will decide if i want to be “friends” with you.

    Since the job most are applying for is not “friend” why would you need to see my Facebook?

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