Maryland Corrections Agency Demanding All Social Media Passwords Of Potential Hires
from the privacy? dept
You may recall back in 2009 that we wrote about how the city of Bozeman, Montana was requiring people who applied for jobs with the city to cough up all of their social networking usernames and passwords, so that city employees could log in and look around. Beyond being positively ridiculous, this seemed like a huge invasion of privacy. After an awful lot of public ridicule, the city (wisely) decided to drop the requirement, and claim the whole idea had been a “mistake.”
Apparently not everyone in local government was paying attention.
The ACLU is apparently taking on the case of a Maryland man who applied to be “re-certified” for a job with the Maryland Department of Corrections, after he had taken a brief leave. As a part of the interview process, he was required to hand over his Facebook password. Apparently, the Department of Corrections is now requiring all social media account info, including passwords, as a part of their “background check” process. In at least this case, the guy in question was told not to change his password for a few months — leading to all sorts of questions about what private info state officials might look into while logged into his account. The ACLU sent a letter (pdf) to the Maryland Corrections Dept. noting that it believed the policy was “a frightening and illegal invasion of privacy,” and a clear violation of the Stored Communications Act. The ACLU letter also demanded that the Maryland Department of Corrections rescind this policy.
It appears that Maryland’s response to all of this has been to totally ignore the letter. The ACLU waited three weeks, and after receiving no response at all, has gone public with the story. I would imagine that a lawsuit will soon follow.