Bozeman City Officials Hire Investigator to Look Into Password Disclosure Policy

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The Bozeman City Commission called a special meeting last night to decide whether the city should hire a third party investigator to look into the hiring practices of the city’s human resources, police and fire departments after the city drew worldwide criticism for requiring job applicants to provide passwords to social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook on their job applications.  Needless to say, the vote culminated in a unanimous yes.  Personally, I think a negative vote on this move would have resulted in more criticism for the city.

Since this story broke, we have been all over it like bees to honey.  And we will continue to follow it in anticipation of the outcome.  The use of social networking sites as a background screening tool is a very hot topic for hiring professionals and the result of this inquiry could ascertain its level of appropriateness, if any, in the decision making process.

Stay tuned…

Investigator to look into Bozeman “social media” policy

Montana’s News Station – June 30, 2009

UPDATE, Monday evening: An in depth audit will begin into Bozeman’s former background check policy that called for job applicants to disclose their social networking sites’ usernames and passwords.

Bozeman’s City Commission voted unanimously during a special meeting Monday night to hire a third party investigator to conduct a thorough investigation into the controversial policy, which drew criticism from around the world when news of it broke earlier this month. The investigation will look into everything from how the practice was started to how voluntary the request was.         

The vote was prompted by an employee email that accused city staff of providing inaccurate information on the policy.

“I want to know if there were distinctions between the departments. Were there standards developed for what was considered appropriate content on someone’s personal page, how the applicants were told when the review of their sites would occur and for how long they could expect the city to access those sites,” Commissioner Eric Bryson said.

Commissioners say they were unaware the city was asking for the login information from job applicants.

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