Facebook May Take Legal Action Against Employers Who Demand Passwords

  • Facebook is not happy. After news reports began circulating of a trend in employers asking for their employees passwords, the social network’s Chief Privacy Officer, Erin Egan, penned a strongly-worded letter (er, Facebook note) about Facebook’s extreme opposition to such practicing, and a subtle threat they may take legal action against such employers. The note begins:

    In recent months, we’ve seen a distressing increase in reports of employers or others seeking to gain inappropriate access to people’s Facebook profiles or private information. 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.

    The legal powers that be are already taking Facebook’s side. When the Maryland Department of Corrections wanted potential employees passwords, the American Civil Liberties Union took action. Since then, according to The Atlantic, they have ceased the practice.

    Others report that Senator Richard Blumenthal has announced he will draft a bill to prevent employers from coercing passwords out of their employees.

    What do you think? Can Facebook or Congress stop the trend?