Had I been in Officer Robert Collins’ shoes, nervously answering questions whilst I sat in Maryland’s Department of Corrections office, the blood would’ve rushed to my head if asked for my Facebook password. Not because I have anything to hide, but that’s beside the point.
It’s no wonder that the American Civil Liberties Union is backing Collins up in what they call a “frightening and illegal invasion of privacy.” I mean, COME ON. Five years ago, can you imagine a prospective employer asking you to hand your mobile phone over, so they can read through your texts? Twenty years ago, would you have allowed them entry to your house, so they could rifle through your post? Not on your nelly!
So why did the Department of Corrections feel justified in asking for the usernames and passwords for any social media accounts Collins may have, when he was applying for recertification? According to the ACLU, Collins “had to sit there while the interviewer logged on to his account and read not only his postings, but those of his family and friends too.”
The ACLU is calling on the Department of Corrections to change their methods of going all 1984 employment background checks, but in my opinion, that’s not good enough. If any employees actually acquiesced to their demands, they are owed one big, fat apology at the very least. [ACLU via The Atlantic]