The Issues with Schools and Would Be Employers Asking for Facebook Passwords

Some employers – including government agencies – colleges and K-12 schools have begun asking job seekers and students to provide their Facebook usernames and passwords so they can log on and dig around to see if there are reasons to not hire or accept an applicant, or find evidence to punish students.

What we’re seeing is further encroachment by organizations into private lives and while I’m no lawyer, I see clear grounds for legal action in this pursuit.

First, Facebook’s own terms of use require that You will not solicit login information or access an account belonging to someone else”. Presumably this means that everyone who asks for an applicant or student’s login information should be reported and kicked of the service – wouldn’t that be nice.

More importantly however is invasion of privacy and the very specific circumvention of the civil liberties. It was through hard fought battles in the 20th century that we gained a number of civil rights designed to protect every citizen from discrimination based on gender, religion, race, color, national origin, age, marital or family status, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, political affiliation, financial status, and more.

These prejudices remain, and by organizations, companies, government agencies, colleges and k-12 schools demanding access to accounts where this information has been shared, they are availing themselves of the very types of content that civil rights were established to prohibit access to.

The very act of asking for Facebook access is equivalent to asking questions made illegal through civil rights laws.

Learn more about how your rights are eroding through my blogs:


See recent news articles about organizations trampling of your rights to privacy and non-discrimination in these articles:

While the interest by schools, government agencies and employees is understandable, it is unacceptable. We’ve fought the battles to protect personal information offline, it’s time to demand the same rights online.



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