Last time I checked, there is actually still something called The Constitution, and we actually don’t
live under the rule of an oppressive, dictatorial regime. But don’t tell that to folks like the ones at the Maryland Correction Agency (MCA), who recently began demanding its employment applicants’ social networking passwords as a condition of their potential hiring.
No, I’m not kidding. I mean, who needs privacy? Pshh.
Maryland Corrections officer and nursing student Robert Collins told his story about being required to submit his Facebook login and password to his employer, as well as being told not to change his password “for a few months.” You can watch the video for yourself here. In the video, Collins explains his position of being able to appreciate that the MCA wants to monitor its corrections officers for any untoward activities – but that he also feels violated by this immense intrusion into his personal space and personal accounts.
We all know that negative effects can ripple outward from our social media activities. In a Microsoft survey, 37% of those surveyed had either lost out on a job or been fired from a job because of their social media habits. Another 15% were turned down for a mortgage, while 16% lost their health insurance and 14% lost out on the college they wanted to go to. So yes – if you haven’t gotten the memo yet, you need to be careful about what you’re putting “out there.” And maybe give it some good thought before you accept your boss’s “friend request” on Facebook.
An employer demanding an interviewee’s passwords and unlimited access to their personal social networking pages is inappropriate and goes beyond the boundaries of what employers really have a right or need to know. If we allow this kind of forceful intrusion, what’s to stop employers from demanding access to employees’ medical records, email accounts, journals, their homes…even their bedrooms? What’s to stop them?