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Usually, it takes far-reaching government bills or the mention of DRM to prod geeks into picking up their proverbial torches and pitchforks and expressing outrage en masse, but Wednesday's news of employers asking job applicants for their Facebook passwords caused a crapstorm of Netflix-price like proportions. Turns out, everyday folks aren't the only ones angry about it: a Connecticut Senator and Facebook itself whipped out threats of legislation and lawsuits, respectively, if the privacy-invading practice continues.
“For an employer to ask to have a password or login information is like asking for the keys someone’s home so as to be able to rummage through drawers or files. There’s simply no justification for it,” Senator Richard Blumenthal told CBS earlier today. The Senator also said he is writing a bill that would outlaw employers asking for applicants' social media login information.
Erin Egan, Facebook's Chief Privacy Officer, addressed the issue head-on in a message on the social network this morning. Besides pointing out the fact that companies that rifle through applicants' social profiles could be opening themselves up to potential discrimination and information protection liabilities, Egan also threatened the wrath of Zuckerberg on any company that asks for users' login credentials:
We’ll take action to protect the privacy and security of our users, whether by engaging policymakers or, where appropriate, by initiating legal action, including by shutting down applications that abuse their privileges… it is important that everyone on Facebook understands they have a right to keep their password to themselves, and we will do our best to protect that right.
We're guessing any company would tremble at the thought of losing their Facebook account in these social media-crazy days, but do you think new laws should be put on the books to make employer login-mining illegal?