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If you think privacy settings on your Facebook and Twitter accounts guarantee future employers or schools can't see your private posts, guess again.
Employers and colleges find the treasure-trove of personal information hiding behind password-protected accounts and privacy walls just too tempting, and some are demanding full access from job applicants and student athletes.
In Maryland, job seekers applying to the state's Department of Corrections have been asked during interviews to log in
While submitting to a Facebook review is voluntary, virtually all applicants agree to it out of a desire to score well in the interview, according Maryland ACLU legislative director Melissa Coretz Goemann.
Student-athletes in colleges around the country also are finding out they can no longer maintain privacy in Facebook communications because schools are requiring them to "friend" a coach or compliance officer, giving that person access to their “friends-only” posts. Schools are also turning to social media monitoring companies with names like UDilligence and Varsity Monitor for software packages that automate the task. The programs offer a "reputation scoreboard" to coaches and send "threat level" warnings about individual athletes to compliance officers.
Previously, applicants were asked to surrender their user name and password, but a complaint from the ACLU stopped that practice last year. While submitting to a Facebook review is voluntary, virtually all applicants agree to it out of a desire to score well in the interview, according Maryland ACLU legislative director Melissa Coretz Goemann.
.....scattered incidents are gaining attention from state lawmakers. The blog Tecca.com last year showed what it said was an image of an application for a clerical job with a North Carolina police department that included the following question:
"Do you have any web page accounts such as Facebook, Myspace, etc.? If so, list your username and password."
And the state of Illinois has followed Maryland's lead and is considering similar legislation to ban social media password demands by employers.
But Shear says a patchwork of state laws isn't good enough when the stakes are this high.
"We need a federal law dealing with this," he said. "After 9/11, we have a culture where some people think it's OK for the government to be this involved in our lives, that it's OK to turn everything over to the government. But it's not. We still have privacy rights in this country, and we still have a Constitution."
...if a company asks about social media and wants information on your private life, they aren't a trustworthy company and nobody should be working for them.