It isn’t uncommon for companies to scan through the Internet looking for information on potential hires. Young job seekers, however, have found ways to avoid having prying eyes find private data by applying a wide-range of privacy settings to their Facebook accounts. Now, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday that numerous employers are asking potential hires to hand over login credentials to their email accounts, social networking websites and other online services. The ACLU immediately blasted the practice, calling it “an invasion of privacy” and insisting that “people are entitled to their private lives.” Sen. Richard Blumenthal echoed these concerns and is now drafting a bill to make such actions illegal. Read on for more.
The Connecticut Democrat spoke with Politico and said such requests from potential employers are an “unreasonable invasion of privacy.” Like other banned employment practices such as administering polygraph tests to screen applicants, Blumenthal believes that requiring access to a person’s private accounts should be illegal. “I am very deeply troubled by the practices that seem to be spreading voraciously around the country,” Blumenthal said, adding that an “employer has a lot of ways to find out information” about potential new employees.
While state regulators begin to examine the issue, Blumenthal said that he is drafting legislation that will be ready “in the very near future” to outlaw such practices. The bill would not prevent businesses from searching for what is publicly available about applicants, of course.