Montana City Wants Your Facebook Information

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Montana City Wants Your Facebook Information

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People applying for jobs with the city of Bozeman, Montana, are now being asked to list their memberships in online forums and social networks, and to provide all user names and passwords required to access their accounts.

Along with the usual paperwork, the city requires all job applicants to sign a waiver giving it permission to check "background, references, character, past employment, education, credit history, criminal or police records." Nothing terribly unusual about that, but it gets a bit sticky soon after.

"Please list any and all, current personal or business websites, web pages or memberships on any Internet-based chat rooms, social clubs or forums, to include, but not limited to: Facebook, Google, Yahoo, YouTube.com, MySpace, etc.," the waiver reads. It also provides three lines so applicants can list URLs, user names and passwords for any social networks or similar sites they may belong to.

City attorney Greg Sullivan defended the demand for the information, saying that while Bozeman takes privacy rights "very seriously," it also has to ensure that its employees are men (and women) of high moral fiber. "We have positions ranging from fire and police, which require people of high integrity for those positions, all the way down to the lifeguards and the folks that work in city hall here," Sullivan said. "So we do those types of investigations to make sure the people that we hire have the highest moral character and are a good fit for the City."

He also offered assurances that the city wouldn't be looking at any information that it's not supposed to have access to and can't Constitutionally make use of. "One thing that's important for folks to understand about what we look for is none of the things that the federal Constitution lists as protected things, we don't use those," he explained. "We're not putting out this broad brush stroke of trying to find out all kinds of information about the person that we're not able to use or shouldn't use in the hiring process." He added that nobody had ever removed their name from consideration for a job because of the request.

Nothing to worry about, then. It's good to know that this isn't actually a gross invasion of privacy because for a minute there I was a little disturbed by the idea of handing over that sort of information to a faceless, powerful government entity. Silly me.

Source: Montana's News Station, via Boing Boing

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Ok I can sort of see usernames maybe? not really? but passwords there is no way in heck that I am giving them passwords to any of my accounts. If you want to look at my facebook page go for it but I am not giving you access to my account there is no reason for anyone other then me to give out my password. In fact don't most websites have policies about giving out passwords to your account.

There's no way that can be legal. And if you give them your password they could log in and change your information, or worse delete your account.

If people find out things because of your Facebook (like drinking) because someone found it, that's one thing. Actually giving them permission to check on things like that is very much another.

Usernames & websites are ok.
Passwords? Hell no.

Bad, Montana!

TheTygerfire:
There's no way that can be legal. And if you give them your password they could log in and change your information, or worse delete your account.

If people find out things because of your Facebook (like drinking) because someone found it, that's one thing. Actually giving them permission to check on things like that is very much another.

The thing is, you've got to be stupid enough to post on facebook about what you did. There was a policman here who got sacked because his status was "is looking forward to beating the shit out of some hippy G20 protesters".

Yet another reason to lie to your government...

That's the solution, just say you don't have anything. Given that everyone (with any sense) keeps their internet profile under aliases how would they ever prove otherwise?

Malygris:
"So we do those types of investigations to make sure the people that we hire have the highest moral character and are a good fit for the City."

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I'd jsut pretend I'm a hermit who has no online accounts.

I wonder if your X-Box Live account is included in that.

I was under the impression that sharing your account details and allowing people to assume your identity and password was against the 'Terms of Use' of a lot of websites and groups that you make accounts for.

Basically, to prove that you're a trustworthy employee, they're asking you to break multiple contracts before they'll give you a work contract... It seems a bit like 'robbing Peter to pay Paul'.

You could even (If you have the time) set up a series up accounts that all brown-nose one you've made up for your job... (I'm not serious)
Seems like a breach of privacy there. And not everyone will have them anyway though. And things on Facebook and things at work are entirely different. You may post pictures of yourself drinking on Facebook but that doesn't mean that you'll come into work drunk.
I can understand usernames maybe names but passwords...

Cpt_Oblivious:
Usernames & websites are ok.
Passwords? Hell no.

my thoughts exactly.

Hiring managers asking for Facebook or MySpace accounts has been going on for a long time now, but passwords? I just have a feeling we're talking about a policy that was made by people who don't understand how the sites work.

Malygris:

City attorney Greg Sullivan defended the demand for the information, saying that while Bozeman takes privacy rights "very seriously," it also has to ensure that its employees are men (and women) of high moral fiber. "We have positions ranging from fire and police, which require people of high integrity for those positions, all the way down to the lifeguards and the folks that work in city hall here," Sullivan said. "So we do those types of investigations to make sure the people that we hire have the highest moral character and are a good fit for the City."

Mmmm...moral fiber.

Lame joke/pun/thing aside, just because someone doesn't belong to any website doesn't mean they aren't a bloody psycho that's going to abuse their position if they happen to obtain it.

Now, I understand where they're coming from, they're checking the profiles of the applicants, I can understand that, but they seem to be making a huge damn deal about it, like, they're getting too many appilcants so it's bogging them down...lies.

If they want to speed things up, they shouldn't have the facade of the whole damn "equal-employment" thing. No, instead of telling everyone else to "buzz off, we already found someone we want for the job." they let people waste their time applying so the company gets good PR.

One more thing...mayhap they should look into complaints that are filed against city employees more thoroughly...y'know, the people filing them might be onto something.

Nnnngh....must...stop...ranting...and get off...s-soap box..

Wow, just wow. Well I'd just say I don't have any online accounts set my profile to private and take down a profile picture. I'm sure there is a lawsuit somewhere in this.

Or use this to your advantage and create a "work" account that shows you have a "high moral fibre" and are the best for the job.

Status update: Brian is looking forward to serving the great people of Bozeman Montana! After he raises money for sick babies in Africa!

I knew a guy who got fired from a place we were both working cause he called in sick and one of the managers checked his facebook which said "Party Tonight, Getting fucked" hahaha.

How can you trust the people you give your username and password to? It would be like me giving a gun to a murderer and hoping he would not shoot me.

We all know some employer would most likely check very private information because they think they have that right.

And this is the problem with having "online" profiles. If there is one huge con to say about the invention of the internet it is that getting people employed just got a while lot harder and colder experience.

Careerbuilder and monster and other online job engines just make the person looking for work a number which employers get to pick up that number and look to see if they are qualified.

The point of the interview is to guage their social abilities and attitude to see if the candidate would fit not only the job but with co-workers.

This is taking that interview part to the extreme. Sure some people are clean but even having one political view or religious view that the employer does not like and bam your name is out of the application bin. I do respect background checks to ensure that candidates are not or have not commited any felony crimes but this is going beyond a background check. Also with if this does become a trend and more and more of this generation is required to give out their facebook info and the like so employers can judge candidates are of "high moral fiber" then be prepared to fire people en masse and watch how the United States just eats itself alive with unemployment.

Is this only for people who are applying for city/state jobs? (i.e. cops/firemen/city hall workers)

Either way, that's going a little too far. But I guess in some respects, it is the same thing as a background check.

I don't have one so I don't really care. Wait do I have one? Oh well, I'm never on it.

I should look into that...

If this is true, I'm waiting to hear about that City Lawyer getting fired, IMMEDIATELY. And hoping this madness isnt about to spread to other cities in Montana.
Nobody has any business asking for your password, NOBODY. Not even Jesus Christ or Mohammed. (Would think those two would know anyway)

Step 1: you and friends make new social networking profiles
Step 2: use said profiles to extol each others' virtues and clean moral fiber
Step 3: profit

Alternately:

Step 1: make social networking profile that closely resembles one of these idiots who thinks everything on the internet is true.
Step 2: fill profile with tales of embezzlement, petty theft, vague references to illicit, or even illegal, activities.
Step 3: profit

The vast majority of employers do searches on facebook, myspace, etc. AFAIK, this is the first one with the audacity to demand your password.

If you have ever applied for a decent job and haven't gotten it even though you were qualified, check to make sure you don't have any "incriminating" stuff on any social networking sites. There are a lot of people out there who got turned down for good jobs because they put up videos of themselves getting drunk and acting stupid.

It's one of the reasons why I don't get involved with any of those sites in the first place.

paulgruberman:
Step 1: you and friends make new social networking profiles
Step 2: use said profiles to extol each others' virtues and clean moral fiber
Step 3: profit

Alternately:

Step 1: make social networking profile that closely resembles one of these idiots who thinks everything on the internet is true.
Step 2: fill profile with tales of embezzlement, petty theft, vague references to illicit, or even illegal, activities.
Step 3: profit

Step 1: join social networks
Step 2: write usernames and passwords on underpants
Step 3: hand over underpants when montana asks for it
Step 4: PROFIT!

Wow, this is highly facistic...

I love how America keeps going further and further down the path to 1984.

hey, while you're at it, why not give us your credit card, bank card and pin numbers too.

Gee, what an easy under the table way to find out whether or not your applicants are homosexual, what religion they belong to, their age. You know, all those things you're not allowed to ask.

Why would they need to give them there password as well?

That's just stupid.

Don't worry, guys, it's okay! Because governments are paragons of data security!

Anyone else want to apply for jobs there now? When asked for all my information, I would be need another piece of paper to finish listing everything. And after they spend all their time looking through my Internet history, they would have wasted a lot of money and man-hours for nothing since this is the only site I ever use.

paulgruberman:
Step 1: you and friends make new social networking profiles
Step 2: use said profiles to extol each others' virtues and clean moral fiber
Step 3: profit

Alternately:

Step 1: make social networking profile that closely resembles one of these idiots who thinks everything on the internet is true.
Step 2: fill profile with tales of embezzlement, petty theft, vague references to illicit, or even illegal, activities.
Step 3: profit

Step 1: Move out of Montana City and away from the fascist weirdness
Step 2: ???
Step 3: Profit

It's not legal, end of story.

You simply never tell your employer you have an account with any of the sites they list and make sure your username isnt connected to you in anyway. my username is a perfect example, Jasoncyrus is no where close to my real name =P

No, I'm not giving you my password. Nice try. I'll work somewhere else, thank you.

Hand over passwords? That must be illegal.

Tenmar:
And this is the problem with having "online" profiles. If there is one huge con to say about the invention of the internet it is that getting people employed just got a while lot harder and colder experience.

Careerbuilder and monster and other online job engines just make the person looking for work a number which employers get to pick up that number and look to see if they are qualified.

The point of the interview is to guage their social abilities and attitude to see if the candidate would fit not only the job but with co-workers.

This is taking that interview part to the extreme. Sure some people are clean but even having one political view or religious view that the employer does not like and bam your name is out of the application bin. I do respect background checks to ensure that candidates are not or have not commited any felony crimes but this is going beyond a background check. Also with if this does become a trend and more and more of this generation is required to give out their facebook info and the like so employers can judge candidates are of "high moral fiber" then be prepared to fire people en masse and watch how the United States just eats itself alive with unemployment.

Well said.

Mrsnugglesworth:
I don't have one so I don't really care. Wait do I have one? Oh well, I'm never on it.

I should look into that...

Note the word "Forum":

Malygris:
"Please list any and all, current personal or business websites, web pages or memberships on any Internet-based chat rooms, social clubs or forums, to include, but not limited to: Facebook, Google, Yahoo, YouTube.com, MySpace, etc.," the waiver reads.

To paraphrase what many others have said already, the problem arises when they ask for passwords. Up until that point, they are asking you to provide the information necessary for them to find you, but they have to figure out on their own how to access it. When you provide a password to them, not only do you give them an extraordinary amount of control over your personal accounts, but you also give them free access to anything anyone has said to you in confidence on any of those sites. That's a betrayal of personal trust, and for many people it will probably involve breaching some contracts.
To simplify: asking for a username lets them look at what you've said, which is questionable but probably within the bounds of acceptability. Asking for passwords gives them access to everything anyone has said to you, which is not okay.
And then of course, there's always this:

The Rogue Wolf:
Don't worry, guys, it's okay! Because governments are paragons of data security!

Giving them permission to view my Facebook? No problem, happy to oblige.

Giving them my Facebook password? Not on your life.

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