Want a Job? Give us Your Facebook Password

Nick Fishman

The Maryland ACLU is advocating on behalf of a Maryland corrections officer who objects to the state’s demand that he provide them with his Facebook account password as a condition of employment. Now, we know that it is becoming more and more common for employers to check out their candidates’ and employees’ Facebook pages as part of the background check process, but their passwords?

This didn’t work out so well for the city of Bozeman, MT a couple years ago. In fact, they had so much negative publicity when it came to national media attention that they abolished the practice shortly thereafter.

Check out the USA Today story below.

Worker Objects to the Use of Facebook for Background Checks

The American Civil Liberties Union is championing the case of a Maryland corrections officer, Robert Collins, who does not believe his employer should have the right to scour his personal Facebook account as a condition of employment.

The ACLU’s Maryland chapter sent this letter to state officials on Collins’ behalf. According the ACLU, the Maryland corrections division has a “blanket requirement” that job applicants, as well as current employees undergoing recertification, provide the government with their social media account usernames and personal passwords for use in background checks.

The ACLU in this blog post calls the policy “a gross breach of privacy” and a violation of state and federal law “which protect privacy rights and extend protections to electronic communications.”

As of late last week, the advocacy group had received no response from the state.


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