With several reported incidents of employers asking job applicants for their Facebook passwords in recent months coming to light has sparked angry reactions from all quarters. And finally Facebook has broken its silence. Facebook’s chief privacy officer Erin Egan has announced that Facebook will fight to stop employer’s from requesting access to their potential employees’ private accounts.
“This practice undermines the privacy expectations and the security of both the user and the user’s friends…. It also potentially exposes the employer who seeks this access to unanticipated legal liability.” – Erin Egan wrote on the Facebook Privacy blog.
Earlier it has been widely reported that some universities have demanded student athletes to submit their Facebook passwords so that universities could keep a tab on their Facebook accounts. Such an act goes directly against Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilties. Several incidents of employer’s asking for applicant’s passwords have already created quite a stir in industry corridors and bodies such as the ACLU have already taken a strong stand against such invasion of privacy. This is the first time that Facebook has openly acknowledged that they take it as a serious issue and are willing to go overboard to protect the privacy of their users.
I can’t believe some people think it’s OK to do this… Maybe it’s OK if you live in a totalitarian regime, but we still have a Constitution to protect us. It’s not a far leap from reading people’s Facebook posts to reading their email. … As a society, where are we going to draw the line?” – said Erin Egan.
And then he dropped the bomb, a statement which could be taken as a stern warning for the employers –
“We’ll take action to protect the privacy and security of our users, whether by engaging policymakers or, where appropriate, by initiating legal action, including by shutting down applications that abuse their privileges”.