Social Media Privacy Issues

Can employers demand social media logins

In the News:
The Maryland Department of Corrections has instituted a new policy demanding social media logins and passwords from all job applicants. The ACLU calls this a frightening and illegal practice."

I caught this article in the news a few days ago and I considered it an appalling overstep of reasonable boundaries. I suspect that its only a preview of things to come as social media becomes a more acceptable part of our lives.

Social media is now the frontier for privacy advocates. Over the last decade the normal concerns of privacy and the fear of Big Brother have taken a back seat to social networking at supersonic speed. Within minutes a novice Internet user can find more information about you than you would care to share with strangers. Even if you don't use the Internet your home address, phone number, occupation, and credit rating are public knowledge. Personal information is routinely gathered and shared or sold.

Employers, creditors, clients, and business associates can now invade your most private domain. Clues about your health, habits, preferences, personality, religion, education, work experience and your cognitive and communication skills can be gathered from your account profiles.

Digital networking has become an essential part of the modern job search and the working environment, but without due diligence it could become your worse nightmare. The golden rule is: Don't say anything or post anything to your profile that you would not want any stranger to know. Far beyond that there are still some questions to ask and some boundaries to protect.

Should employers be allowed to eavesdrop into your social media conversations? Should you be required to furnish your social media login information for a background check? Should you be asked to open your account for inspection during a job interview? Should you be pressured to include employers into your circle of friends?

Information technology is advancing much faster than the legal process and you may find yourself compromised in a struggle to protect your most personal data. There is a high probability that you could be rejected, passed-over or fired because of some seemingly insignificant personal data, comment or status update.