Would you give your Facebook account and password to get a job or get into your first-choice college? Several government agencies and colleges are now asking applicants to do just that.
We first wrote about the trend last year, when the Maryland Department of Corrections and Public Safety made it mandatory for new hires to give Facebook accounts and passwords to check for gang ties. An employee tipped off the ACLU and the state suspended the practice. However, the state is still getting the information because although the information is only voluntary, virtually all applicants agree to it out of a desire to score well in the interview, MSNBC reported.
Increasingly at colleges, student athletes must "friend" a coach or administration compliance officer so their social media messages and photos can be monitored.
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Is this a violation of First Amendment rights? At least one lawyer said so, calling the new policies OK for totalitarian regime but not one protected by the U.S. Constitution.
Of course, the new policies ignore one simple fact: that sharing one's password is against Facebook's terms of service. No word yet on what that means (and Facebook had no comment), but until people are willing to protest giving up privacy to government agencies or colleges and support laws to halt the practice, it will continue. These groups have gotten away with it so far, so why stop now?