Friday, June 19, 2009

"My blog and Facebook account are private"

... or are they?

Government officials in bozeman, Montana are requiring job applicants, on their application, not merely to list their social networking sites, but also their passwords.

“Please list any and all, current personal or business websites, web pages or memberships on any Internet-based chat rooms, social clubs or forums, to include, but not limited to: Facebook, Google, Yahoo,, MySpace, etc.,” the City form states. There are then three lines where applicants can list the Web sites, their user names and log-in information and their passwords.

I have been somewhat careful to speak well or neutrally about my workplace and seldom mention it by name at all.  This blog is not found by searching for me by name.

I think I would be comfortable with an employer or prospective employer reading this blog, but I would have to think about it before posting it on my resume, for example.

Facebook is another story, and especially with my password.  With my password, you can visit the pages of all my friends so it isn't even my privacy I would be concerned about.  Although I would be concerned about that as well.  Readers of this blog and visitors to my Facebook profile can easily see my thoughts on religion, although no student learns of them except occasionally after a direct question.

Cory Doctorow at Boingboing is up in arms and a Google search seems pretty full of relevant links.

UPDATE: Here is a link to the form - which may soon change, I suspect.


marcuspeddle said...

Can that even be legal?

kwandongbrian said...

I don't think so, and particularly don't think it would be in Canada. I can't decide if this would be legal in Korea. Mandatory health checks with no explanation or guarantee of confidentiality seem to be okay here.

thedakotakid said...

WOW, I find that quite shocking for Montana, as most of their fine citizens believe and revere the Constitution/Bill of Rights...I wonder how many people know about this in Bozeman???