ACLU Challenges Employer Asking Staff To Share Their Facebook Logins

By Jorge Cino Comment

Should prospective employers be allowed to look through your personal Facebook page prior to hiring or recertifying you? Maryland’s Department of Corrections seems to think so.

Maryland’s DOC has a policy allowing them to obtain Facebook login information from prospective employees and current staff undergoing re-certification; the policy allows the employer to read the entirety of their account, including wall posts and messages from friends and family.

A challenge to this started last January; the American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter to the Maryland’s Public Safety Secretary Gary Maynard, on behalf of corrections officer Robert Collins. During a re-certification interview, he was required to share his Facebook login ID and password, and had to sit there while his supervisor skimmed through his page.

The ACLU so far hasn’t received an official response to the letter asking the Maryland DOC to stop applying the policy. The legal rights organization said:

Maryland DOC requiring full disclosure of an employee’s Facebook page is no different from your boss looking through your diary, personal emails or home videos. The demand for Facebook login information is not only a gross breach of privacy for Officer Collins and his friends, it raises significant legal concerns under the Federal Stored Communications Act and Maryland state law, which protect privacy rights and extend protections to electronic communications.

For the most part, Facebook is a vehicle for private communication. Privacy settings are there to let individuals choose just how public you want the information on their profile to be. But that is up to each individual. Should state employers — or any other employer whose business relies on a good reputation — be allowed to preemptively monitor or limit your Facebook activities?

Let us know in the comments section what you think of Maryland DOC’s practices. And if you agree with the ACLU’s stance, click here to sign an online petition.