Employers should not seek Facebook passwords

Public information floating through cyberspace is open game, but asking for passwords goes too far.

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When you post your thoughts or a photo on the Internet, you should expect the world -- and prospective employers -- will see it.

But it is outrageous, as well as creepy, that some employers are asking job applicants to provide their Facebook password so they can scour their site. Others are asking applicants to log on to their account on a company computer while some are demanding applicants "friend" them on Facebook to look for some inside info.

This should not continue.

Employers should not be able to ask applicants for private information, which would include passwords, nor should they be allowed to mandate who applicants must "friend."

It does, however, seem reasonable for applicants to expect employers to comb the Internet to see what public information is in cyperspace.

The distinction between public and private is not always clear on the Internet because security breaches are common. Therefore, if what was private information goes, as they say, viral then that information is fair game for employers. It is out there and it's never going back in the vault.

This is why those who post on Facebook or any place else on the Internet should assume that someday that information could be made public. Think before you post anything to even one other person. The same goes for email or tweets that can easily be forwarded around the globe.

Having to give access to your personal information by giving out a password or logging in to a private Facebook page is as intrusive as asking to search your house, your car or your personal financial statements.

And, aside from being intrusive, allowing someone to go through your computer files too easily opens up a person to identity theft or financial fraud.

A line needs to be drawn in employment law. Looking at public information on the Internet is fine, but seeking to look at private information in most cases should not be allowed.

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