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  1. #1
    Senior Thread Terminator Aerithria's Avatar
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    Default Passwords required on job applications?

    US city wants job applicants to hand over passwords for Internet groups
    By Matt Gouras, The Associated Press, HELENA, Montana

    Job applicants with the city of Bozeman are finding that their private Internet discussions and pictures may not be so private after all.

    The city is asking job seekers for the user names and passwords to Internet social networking or Web groups they belong too. The decision is sparking an outcry from those who say the policy goes way too far.

    The issue has spawned hundreds of comments on Web forums and sharp criticism from legislators and the ACLU.

    "I liken it to them saying they want to look at your love letters and your family photos," said Amy Cannata, with the American Civil Liberties Union of Montana. "I think this policy certainly crosses the privacy line."

    The city argues that it only uses the information to verify application information - and says it won't hold it against anyone for refusing to provide it. City officials say such checks can be useful, especially when hiring police officers and others in a position of public trust.

    Bozeman officials have been hammered with emails and phone calls ever since KBZK-TV of Bozeman reported the policy on Wednesday, including an excerpt from the city application form that states "Please list any and all current personal or business Web sites, web pages or memberships on any Internet-based chat rooms, social clubs or forums, to include, but not limited to: Facebook, Google, Yahoo, YouTube.com, MySpace, etc."

    Bozeman City Commissioner Jeff Rupp said he was unaware city officers had implemented the policy, and expects the city commission will be talking about it. But Rupp said it is not as bad as it sounds since applicants are not scored negatively for refusing to answer the question.

    "I can tell you I would not provide it in an application I submit," Rupp said. "I have been told repeatedly it is not scored, and the application is not discarded if not provided."

    Rep. Brady Wiseman, a Bozeman Democrat, led the state's fight against the Patriot Act when the Legislature issued a harsh critique of the federal act, arguing it trampled civil liberties and put the government into a position of snooping on citizens.

    Wiseman said Bozeman now is going too far.

    "Asking for passwords is over the line," Wiseman said. "I think that this notion opens up a whole new line of debate on privacy."

    The intense pressure generated in just a couple days is hitting the city hard.

    Bozeman City Attorney Greg Sullivan told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle Thursday that the city may look at changing the policy so that they could view an applicant's social networking sites without asking for login information. One option would be to have an applicant add the city as a "friend" on such sites as Facebook.

    "We've already began that discussion," Sullivan said.

    Cannata, with the ACLU, said her organization has not found another government body that asks for such information. And even though the ACLU has not done a full legal analysis, she said the Bozeman policy doesn't pass the smell test.

    "It's one thing, and I think totally reasonable, if someone has a public profile to go check it out," Cannata said.

    But private groups and profile could reveal information employers could not legally base hiring decisions on, such as a person's religion, she added.

    "Are they going to go in and look at those things?" Cannata said. "And even if they don't intend to look at those things, it's still there for them to see."
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  2. #2

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    Wow. I can't imagine that they thought such a policy was going to go unnoticed. It's utterly ridiculous. And if people aren't going to be scored negatively for not providing the information, then why ask for it at all? It clearly can't be used to evaluate the merits of two candidates if one provides the information and one doesn't. Letting them ask at all is a problem, because people will feel pressured to provide it no matter the assurances.
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  3. #3
    full of love Kingfisher's Avatar
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    what happened to bozeman?
    it used to be such a cool laid-back mountain town. but i went back again last year and it was all built up and commercialized.

    i think asking for passwords is unnesecary, and a bad idea. a good interviewer shouldn't need to do this.

  4. #4
    ish red no longer *sad* nightning's Avatar
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    +1

    Not to mention the security risks because most people use the same/similar password for everything. It totally violates privacy for the individual. How can that even be asked?
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  5. #5
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    Bozeman officials have been hammered with emails and phone calls ever since KBZK-TV of Bozeman reported the policy on Wednesday, including an excerpt from the city application form that states "Please list any and all current personal or business Web sites, web pages or memberships on any Internet-based chat rooms, social clubs or forums, to include, but not limited to: Facebook, Google, Yahoo, YouTube.com, MySpace, etc."
    Who is gonna really give out that sort of information? It's no body's business if you have internet accounts or not. Don't put your full real name on them and don't give your main email address as a way to search. I would just have one seperate email account for job searching anyway and only conduct job searching with it.

  6. #6
    Minister of Propagandhi ajblaise's Avatar
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    When there is an increase in overqualified people looking for work, companies have more and more leverage to try and acquire private information, so they can further thin out the pool. Certainly there should be protections against these sorts of things.

    I'm sure the legalities of this are questionable. Let's go ACLU!! Do what ya do.

  7. #7
    Senior Member prplchknz's Avatar
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    Is it just me or does this make it seem like we're sliding even more to a mommy daddy state in this country? I mean think about it it's like oh we have to protect the citizens by getting rid of their rights, because they can't take care of themselves. Damnit I think we can just fine, and it's no one's business what I do on my free time, as long as I get what needs to be done and am a professional.
    In no likes experiment.

    that is all

    i dunno what else to say so

  8. #8
    Senior Member Shimmy's Avatar
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    I'm in a very melancholic world-weary mood tonight.

    KILL THEM ALL... If somebody would ask me that question I wouldn't want the job any more and just develop a to me perfectly normal loathing and hatred. I'd get sarcastic as hell or plainly walk away.

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