back to article Republicans shoot down proposed ban on Facebook login boss-snoop

US House representatives from the Republican party have shot down a Democrat effort to pass a law stopping companies from demanding access to jobseekers' and employees' Facebook accounts. Yesterday, Democratic Congressman Ed Perlmutter introduced an amendment to the Federal Communications Commission Reform Act in the House that …

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You don't need new laws

All you need are people with enough sanity to tell these employers to take a hike, problem solved.

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Re: You don't need new laws

True, but it would be helpful if they made a statement affirming existing laws apply to this case, that passwords must not be distributed, and that any employee asked to give up their passwords will immediately benefit from protection under whistleblower status if they report the incident as incitement to commit a crime.

As it is, left ambiguous, I'm sure these employers will continue to take the piss.

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Re: You don't need new laws

I'm inclined to concur, but in times when employment opportunities are relatively few, some people won't have the luxury of telling the prospective employer to Eff-right-off if they make such a request.

Whether a specific law is required or a current one fits the bill, my knowledge of US laws is far from good enough to know. I doubt one specific to Facebook is appropriate though.

Where does a request for personal information stop? "We need photographs of your wife naked in order to get this job".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: You don't need new laws

How's that unemployment working out for ya?

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Re: You don't need new laws

The logical conclusion of which is that in an ideal world you wouldn't need *any* laws or law enforcement because people would be capable of behaving reasonably without being legally forced to do so.

Obviously that's not the case.

I do agree that if something is covered by an existing law, AND it is clearly covered, AND it is enforced (or there is established legal precedent) then there is no need for yet another new law on the books. But one way or another, someone needs to make it very clear that it's a legal no-go area otherwise employers will continue to take these liberties.

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Holmes

Re: You don't need new laws

You don't need new laws, you need the current ones enforced. Off the top of my head, privacy, anti-discrimination in employment and computer misuse laws could all apply

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Tales of the unexpected

Anyone else remembering the one where the company isn't happy just to interview the husband for a top-level promotion, but insists on interviewing his wife as well in a social setting?

She comprehensively blows his chances.

Which is exactly what they want, because he's using his job to steal from the company!

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Re: You don't need new laws

Here in the UK, yes, and even more so in the EU. It's a USA story.

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Meh

Re: How's that unemployment working out for ya?

Twat.

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Holmes

Re: You don't need new laws

@James Micallef

It just takes ONE court case to set precedent within the framework of the existing laws, and that case apparently hasn't happened yet, but it will, and soon. If it doesn't set the precedent the lawmakers want, then they can change the laws to make sure it doesn't happen again. But adding law after law makes the legal code too cumbersome and filled with contradiction. I agree that asking for a password has to breach Privacy Laws. Even if it doesn't, the employer in doing so is assuming extra civil liability asking for potential lawsuit if there is ANY identity theft ever in that person's lifetime. Civil law instead of Criminal law. Whole different ball of wax there.

I think given enough time, Corporate Legal will tell HR to tell the managers to never, ever do that in an interview or face termination themselves on the first offence. Just right now there isn't guidelines on it, and Corp Legal is kinda slow at times to recognize new legal threats opened up by employee actions. I don't see a need for new laws just yet. Wait 6 months and see what happens.

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Re: You don't need new laws

"All you need are people with enough sanity to tell these employers to take a hike, problem solved."

Easy enough to say. What if you have to get a job to feed yourself and your family? Things become a little different then.

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Facepalm

Re: You don't need new laws

If one has to choose between keeping one's Facebook (as opposed to quit using it, not handing the pass) or get a job really needed, which one would be the logical course of action?

Oh yes! Staying on welfare and food stamps, of course. Silly me.

Carry on.

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@blem wit: You don't need new laws

Problem with killing your FB is that it's increasingly being used to look for jobs in the first place. For many jobs, no FB = not knowing jobs exist *to* get. It's a nice little Catch-22

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Big Brother

Re: You don't need new laws

"Off the top of my head, privacy, anti-discrimination in employment and computer misuse laws could all apply"

Add blackmail to that list, ie "give me the password or you don't get the job"

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Re: You don't need new laws

This vote was completely predictable. The Republicans in the US are of the upper one percent, by the upper one percent, and of the upper one percent. They will side with money and management over the workers one hundred percent of the time.

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Unhappy

Re: You don't need new laws

Whoever thumbed down henrydddd, show me three examples of the Republicans collectively going AGAINST money and management interests on behalf of the employees. They bust unions, setup laws for easier outsourcing, and would withhold unemployment benefits for everyone just to insure the continuation of their wealthy folks tax breaks. You down voted him as if what he was saying wasn't true, but it was. You must be thinking of the Republicans from before the 1980's, they were different, but they have been gone for a while.

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Did you actually read the House link to which you connected?

Of COURSE the amendment was defeated. It wasn't an amendment to change the bill, it was an amendment to, and I quote:

"QUESTION: On Motion to Recommit with Instructions"

Which means it was an attempt to send the bill back to committee, not change it. had they actually offered a clean amendment it might have passed.

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Re: Did you actually read the House link to which you connected?

Your facts may be right (I really don't know), but your tone is entirely wrong.

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Flame

Re:Tone is wrong

What, calling out an obviously biased Democrat flack posing as an objective journalist about an American piece of news has the wrong tone?

That dog don't hunt no more. It took me all of 30 seconds to determine that the heart and soul of his post is WRONG, biased, and I expect, were charges brought against him in Old Blighty, would wind up with him being fined. Frankly, I'm not in favor of fining him, but I will call him on bias shielded by intentional ignorance.

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Re: Re:Tone is wrong

Charges? Charges for what? Last time I checked we were free to write things that are wrong, biased and misleading.

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Re: Re:Tone is wrong

There's even a special Journal for publishing such articles - It's called "The Daily Mail"

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Re: Re:Tone is wrong

Couldn't agree more

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Facepalm

I looked at the final vote results for the amendment, and just as I expected my local Congresswoman voted in the "noes" column. Had I known that this amendment was going to be voted on so quickly I would have mailed her a letter or at least sent her an e-mail informing her of my desire for her to support it. Not that it would have made a difference though-- I don't think my local Congresswoman and I see eye-to-eye on much of anything. I wrote her a letter once to support a pro-Net Neutrality bill many years ago, and she actually wrote me a letter back to explain to me how wrong I was. Naturally, for that reason and many others I have voted for her opponent every time that she has come up for reelection, but for whatever reason my distaste for how she votes seems to be in the minority opinion in my district, as she still gets reelected every time. *sigh*

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Stupid Consequence #1 of modern "democracy".

You are voting for a person, who votes for what you AND THOUSANDS OF OTHERS want.

Stupid Consequence #2:

Voting for someone because of the party they are in when they clearly have NONE of your issues at heart and don't care about it.

If they write back to TELL you that you are wrong, that means you should never have voted for them in the first place. But you did. And put them in power. Which makes them more likely to get into elsewhere and stay in power again.

Modern democracy just means that it's impossible to find someone who's worth voting for. I've never voted precisely because of this. There is not one single person on the voting slip that I have even HEARD of, let alone met, let alone know intimately, let alone feel confident in trusting with handling the majority of issues I feel strongly about.

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Pirate

"I've never voted precisely because of this"

"Modern democracy just means that it's impossible to find someone who's worth voting for. I've never voted precisely because of this."

Then you can do us all a favor (and I mean this without sarcasm or malice), vote for the little independent guy who's never going win.

If all the non voters spread their votes across independents that would help encourage more people to stand with non party alliances. It would also encourage more narrow minded voters to believe they can vote outside the mainstream options and not support this two party race.*

A greater abundance of independents in turn fosters candidates that are more representative of their area and less likely to be career politicians.

I'm not trying to provoke you. If you really don't want to vote then don't. That's your right and I support it. But you can use your vote to help effect a different type of change.

[* I'm coming from a UK perspective, so maybe that's a "two and half party race"]

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WTF?

@Lee Dowling: Icon for your Reading Failure.

While I disagree with the poster's political position, poster clearly indicated he did NOT vote for the incumbent.

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Coat

Obliterate the US Political parties and start over

Stupid consequence#3: I'm sick of the whole shooting match.

Seriously starting to wonder if a Parliamentary system wouldn't do better... Or at least returning the Senate to being seated by the State Legislatures instead of direct elects. (it was supposed to be modeled after the House of Lords after all, not House of Commons part Deaux) That would at least keep the Dem/Repub bickering to the House and Executive and keep the Senate out of it.

Right now the House, Senate and Presidency are all essentially bribed by whoever puts up the money for their campaigns. Unions, Corp, PAC's whatever. The individual gets totally LOST in that shuffle. So no, your Representative or Senator is going to ignore you because you don't pay the bills, and who else would you elect anyway? It certainly wouldn't be from the other party... I'd love to get the Senate off the defacto bribery rat race of election campaigns, but I doubt that would happen.

But this is going wayyyyyy off topic...

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@Lee Dowling -- Correct "it's impossible to find someone who's worth voting for."

"Modern democracy just means that it's impossible to find someone who's worth voting for."

Today, if you become president or prime minister or even a member of the legislature it puts you ABSOLUTELY apart from the average person. Just to get into office means that you have to be a privileged, motivated and highly-driven go-getter with scruples that can quickly change from moment to moment, situation to situation. You have to be one who is prepared to do all sorts of deals, shady or otherwise--a person who can easily have temporary liaisons and allegiances with people or organisations you don't like or believe in, and you have to be capable of breaking promises or changing direction or axing longstanding friends and colleagues without any qualms or feelings of quilt.

If this is not your type of personality of if you don't accept this as part of the process of getting into office then you'll never ever make it into the position. These are essential prerequisites for the job, and you MUST have this kind of personality to carry the job out successfully!

Clearly, this is not an environment for normal ordinary people, which means they're automatically excluded from standing for 'democratic' office. If democracy requires a peculiar breed of person to stand for office then it means democracy isn't a level playing field and it simply doesn't work as advertised. With so such inbuilt hypocrisy, it's little wonder those on whom we try to force democracy reject it.

Most of us know this instinctively, and most of us know we can do little about it, hence the widespread cynicism of politicians and the political process amongst Western citizens.

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Anonymous Coward

No new laws needed, as soon as they access the account they are breaking laws..

If the US can extradite a Brit for hacking when the offence took place on UK soil, then I am sure they can convict an American on their own soil for illegally gaining access to someones account...

Just because they ask and get your password, does not mean they are not breaking laws..

I for one would push for conviction! Stockades sound like a good punishment to me....

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Anonymous Coward

Well said...

... some will argue that no laws are being broken because the individual volunteered the information on request, I would say that in the context of a job interview that is gaining information under duress, which then throws this whole issue into the illegal field again.

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Pint

Re: Well said...

I concur with your assessment. There are two issues at play:

1. Being coerced under duress to provide confidential information in either and existing employment situation or job interview situation for purposes that are nefarious at best and illegal, at worse..

2. Being coerced into willfully violating Facebook Terms of Use policies, which will result in the bullied individual's account being terminated.

The assumption by the bullied individual being that they will not be considered for the job or be fired from an existing job, is an employer taking advantage of the economic condition to force private information from an individual that has absolutely nothing to do with the job, irregardless of the lies and excuses employers tell to try to justify it. I haven't and will not friend any of my coworkers on any social network and will not press like or interact with any employer based Facebook site from my personal account. Existing legislation covers it, hence why this bill was shot down. No worries. Employers aren't going to win this one, this time. POWER TO THE PEOPLE.

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Re: Well said...

@Gil Grissum

I agree with you completely. Point 2, the Facebook T&Cs state:

3.5: "You will not solicit login information or access an account belonging to someone else."

3.12: "You will not facilitate or encourage any violations of this Statement"

4.8: "You will not share your password, (or in the case of developers, your secret key), let anyone else access your account, or do anything else that might jeopardize the security of your account."

So, the user is breaking the T&Cs if they provide their login details to their employer. If the employer (or the person within the organisation asking for their info) is on Facebook, they are also breaking the T&Cs by soliciting the login details and encouraging them to violate the T&Cs.

However, I cannot fully support your post due to your use of "irregardless". One of my pet hates, it's "regardless of the lies".

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Re: Well said...

Please don't come to Philadelphia - One of our mayors coined the word "disirregardlessly". Our hospitals may be good but ....

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Facepalm

GOP Voters = Turkeys Voting for Xmas

I know it's the party of the willfully stupid (viz: G. W. Bush), but the strength of that will never ceases to amaze me ..

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FAIL

Re: GOP Voters = Turkeys Voting for Xmas

Unfortunately it's not *just* the GOP voters that are stupid. For those of you that don't live in the good old US of A (this is a British rag after all) elections here work roughly like this. A large proportion of Democratic voters wouldn't vote for the GOP candidate regardless of his or her policies even if the Democratic candidate popped in on election day and set fire to their dog. There is equal intransience on the GOP side such that extremely safe districts exist where the politicians are never held to account and so they do what they want, pandering to the extreme wings of the party, the party itself and their own benefit and mostly doing nothing for those of us that pay taxes. For goodness sakes take your head out of your arse and vote based on performance and proposed policy and not the colour of the lapel pin and then we might get something done every now and then.

I know this happens in the UK too but the polarization here is of idiotic proportions

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Coat

Voters = Turkeys Voting for Xmas

"I know they're all willfully stupid, but that will never ceases to amaze me .."

There, I fixed it.

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Re: GOP Voters = Turkeys Voting for Xmas

You forgot the 'floating vote' who will vote for whoever has the bigger budget for adverts to smear their opponent and lie their smarmy heads off.

Unfortunately there are a great many people who do vote on party lines. In the UK I have voted for both 'new' labour, the tories and the other yellow one that never does very well ;). {Or me in the US, it isn't so much the policies (both the middle right democrats and the ultra far right republican parties have mostly good ideals) they just have mostly terrible candidates who cannot effectively implement their policies. Obama couldn't get some laws past his own party and the GOP honor roll makes me cry (Palin, Bachmann, Bush 2.0, Santorum et al), I don't care which side the next POTUS is from, I just want one with half a brain who can keep his or her party in line, keep their religion out of their politics and their johnson out the interns. I expect to be dissappointed.

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Re: GOP Voters = Turkeys Voting for Xmas

"I know this happens in the UK too but the polarization here is of idiotic proportions"

I don't think 'idiotic' fully captures the problem. Perhaps 'unimaginably idiotic' would be more appropriate. Or maybe just 'terminally stupid'. The gulf between the extremes and the abandoned, desolate wastes of the political ground between them are so bad that contemplating it causes me real despair.

For the record, I'm writing in Mickey Mouse come November. Who's with me?

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Alert

Re: GOP Voters = Turkeys Voting for Xmas

Actually, I don't care if they put their Johnson into a willing adult. Just do the rest of the damn job, and don't waste your time on the NCAA brackets.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: GOP Voters = Turkeys Voting for Xmas

The problem is herd mentality of any right wing supporters. They all have to go with the herd without thinking. The communities where they live would punish them socially if they went against the common belief system.

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Facepalm

Re: GOP Voters = Turkeys Voting for Xmas

Now apply that to left wing voters and point out the fact that the majority of media outlets are left leaning and you got yourself a slightly more accurate picture.

BTW Vote for Ron Paul if you care about upholding the U.S. Constitution.

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Stop

I'm pretty sure your agreement with the site prevents you from sharing your credentials. If the company expects you to break that agreement, then they should not be surprised if you break your agreement with them (i.e. your contract of employment).

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In Canada

MP's have explicitly stated that both federal and provincial privacy legislation protects people against similar actions. The laws are already in place, and people just need to follow them. There simply are questions that employers cannot ask of job applicants, such as place of birth, religion, etc. Job-seekers in all countries, especially those with less experience, should learn what their rights are before they go to the job interview.

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Flame

Are we actually surprised?

"US House representatives from the Republican party have shot down a Democrat effort to pass a law stopping companies from demanding access to jobseekers' and employees' Facebook accounts."

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Anonymous Coward

I would change my password to 'Fuck you"

OK, now what's your password?

Etc....

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Pint

Re: I would change my password to 'Fuck you"

Unless I can obtain the interviewer's spouse's pet name for their kit, I guess I would have to go with "Fuck You", but I would not entirely rule out the shock value of a best-guess retrofit after a perusal of your new friend's page. For example ... Dear Mr. Pencilneck, etc. etc, etc. As a token of affection for an occasional friend, I have agreed to change my FB password to kermit_the_love_stallion. I apologize in advance for any inconvenience etc, etc, etc.

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WTF?

What is "the GOP" ?

Those of us who do not live in the US may not be familiar with your esoteric political terms.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What is "the GOP" ?

An American acquaintance of mine some time ago, helpfully explained that it stands for "Grand Old Party", a common nickname for the Republicans.

Don't you just love the way that even non-American media use this acronym constantly, and assume that their readership will know (a) what it stands for, and (b) what it refers to?

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IT Angle

Re: What is "the GOP" ?

Perhaps Beneficent Google can help you.

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MJI
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Re: What is "the GOP" ?

Group Of Pictures, found in MPEG encoding

Starts with an I frame.

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