Ok, this is a really worrisome thing if it becomes a trend. In this economy when people are struggling to find jobs, it is really unfair that they are asked to turn over this level of privacy… Isn’t it also against Facebook/MySpace Service agreements to give out your password like this? I don’t know. Like most people, I never looked…
“Please list any and all, current personal or business websites, 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.” the form reads. But Bozeman isn’t simply interested in finding out where to look for potentially embarrassing personal details; the city wants full disclosure, since the form demands username and password information for each. City employees will apparently be able to dig through any information applicants have put online, regardless of whether it’s accessible to the public.
This actually goes well beyond a startling invasion of privacy in a state that has a reputation for a strong independent streak; it provides a serious risk of running afoul of employment law. Employers are typically prohibited from digging into an applicant’s ethnic or religious background. An Internet search already runs the risk of picking up photos or text that can reveal these sorts of details; opening a person’s social networking accounts would seem to make the discovery of these details almost inevitable.