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 …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You don't need new laws

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

    1. crowley

      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.

    2. Flugal

      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".

      1. Nigel 11

        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!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You don't need new laws

      How's that unemployment working out for ya?

      1. Blitterbug
        Meh

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

        Twat.

      2. blem wit
        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.

        1. DJ Particle

          @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

    4. Paul RND*1000

      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.

    5. James Micallef Silver badge
      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

      1. Nigel 11

        Re: You don't need new laws

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

      2. admiraljkb
        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.

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        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"

    6. Stuart Castle

      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.

    7. henrydddd
      Thumb Down

      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.

      1. MacGyver
        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.

  2. Tom 13

    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.

    1. Sir Cosmo Bonsor
      Thumb Down

      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.

      1. Tom 13
        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.

        1. tybalt

          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.

          1. Ian Bush

            Re: Re:Tone is wrong

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

            1. tybalt
              Thumb Up

              Re: Re:Tone is wrong

              Couldn't agree more

  3. Hoagiebot
    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*

    1. Lee Dowling Silver badge

      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.

      1. Bakunin
        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"]

      2. Tom 13
        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.

      3. admiraljkb
        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...

      4. Graham Wilson
        Flame

        @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.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    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....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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.

      1. Gil Grissum
        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.

        1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

          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".

          1. Anonymous Bosch

            Re: Well said...

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

  5. SiempreTuna
    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 ..

    1. TangD
      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

      1. Rampant Spaniel

        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.

        1. Ty Cobb
          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.

      2. sisk Silver badge

        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?

    2. Captain Save-a-ho
      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.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      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.

      1. Paulson
        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.

  6. Chris Hills
    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).

  7. Ken21

    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.

  8. Arctic fox
    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."

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I would change my password to 'Fuck you"

    OK, now what's your password?

    Etc....

    1. Gannon (J.) Dick
      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.

  10. SYNTAX__ERROR
    WTF?

    What is "the GOP" ?

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

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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?

    2. jubtastic1
      IT Angle

      Re: What is "the GOP" ?

      Perhaps Beneficent Google can help you.

      1. SYNTAX__ERROR
        Happy

        @ Jubtastic

        You may notice that when one attempts to find the meaning of a three-letter initialism through web search or similar means, one typically finds many potential answers and it can be difficult to determine the correct one.

        Although in this case the Google results were unusually helpful, it is accepted convention in writing to explain abbreviations and such when first introducing them. This avoids forcing the reader to go out-of-band in order to understand the intended meaning.

        1. MJI Silver badge

          Re: @ Jubtastic

          Well from lots of use of MPEG encoders for home videos I learnt about I B P frames and GOPs.

          I do like TMPGENC, but not much use now I have gone HDV

    3. MJI Silver badge

      Re: What is "the GOP" ?

      Group Of Pictures, found in MPEG encoding

      Starts with an I frame.

  11. John70

    Few Questions

    1. What if you don't have a FaceBook account? Will you still be in the running or will the Employer just "file" your application?

    2. Can the prospective employee sue the company for not giving them a job because they didn't hand over their FaceBook account details?

    3. Does the company have a policy of telling users not give out their passwords?

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Sir

      I can just imagine the scenario in my line of work.

      They insist on my FB password (I don't have one but that's irrelevant at this point) - fine.

      Once they give me all their passwords and IP addresses to their systems I'll post them on Facebook as a reminder to myself what they are.

      I can see them being impressed by the logic of that :)

    2. TheRealRoland

      Re: Few Questions

      So... My people inform me zat you don't hav a FaceBook account... Don't worry. We hav ways to make you talk.

      But, what I really don't get: people no longer get upset when they have to tell world+dog their Social Security Number as part of the interview process?

      Shudder...

  12. Turtle

    Privacy And Social Media: Something is wrong here...

    "'People have an expectation of privacy when using social media like Facebook and Twitter.' Perlmutter said in a canned statement."

    Look, I'll try to make this as simple as possible: Anyone expecting PRIVACY while using SOCIAL MEDIA is an idiot. The whole POINT of SOCIAL MEDIA is PUT YOURSELF and your WHOLE TEDIOUS LITTLE LIFE on DISPLAY.

    (Note please that I have used CAPITALS to EMPHASIZE the IMPORTANT WORDS.)

    Out of curiosity: Could employers demand that employees "friend" them on Facebook, or whatever it is they do to get access to all the trivia of someone else's trivia life?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Privacy And Social Media: Something is wrong here...

      "Out of curiosity: Could employers demand that employees "friend" them on Facebook, or whatever it is they do to get access to all the trivia of someone else's trivia life?"

      I'd say no, as in the UK there is an expectation that employees are allowed to separate themselves from their employer when not working, hence why work hours have set breaks and after long shift patterns give employees a certain amount of time away from the company (I think that is based on mental health grounds/sanity of the employee). If an employer insisted on you friending them, then I think they move from 'employer' into 'oppressor' and the law will be on your side.

    2. Scott Broukell
      Pint

      Re: Privacy And Social Media: Something is wrong here...

      "Privacy" thing, I couldn't agree more. In fact I would go further and include the entire internet.

      But isn't there a way around this - Just create another FB account designed solely to impress and influence current / future employers. You could link "friends" with other peeps in the same areas of work who have also created their own alto-ego FB accounts. Then they could indulge in lots of mutual back slapping and congratulatory whatever to give the best impression. I dunno, just a thought.

  13. Deano2099

    HR drones are human beings too, most of them likely have Facebook accounts that they use. They're also breaking Facebook's terms the second they login with someone else's password. A few banned HR personnel and this will blow over...

    1. Jimbo 6
      Devil

      Re : HR drones

      Do they do anything *apart from* use their Facebook accounts ?

      (Read 'Hello' and paint their nails, I suppose...)

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thanks GOP

    So according to the GOP, employers force me to given them access to my facebook account, doctors can lie to me so I keep the child I am carrying instead of aborting it and if I do decided to abort it, I have to be raped with a probe to have it done. This is from the party that believe in 'freedom'. Freedom for who is the question....

    1. InsaneGeek
      Mushroom

      Re: Thanks GOP

      I'd suggest you read the amendment first (it's literally a paragraph long)... it was way over reaching and removed much of the power from the legislature and gave it to the FCC... as such it *should* have been dumped like the DMCA, not a completely horrible idea but a completely horribly written law.

      It was giving the FCC additional power to create rules over *all* privacy matters, not just job seeking social network passwords. It didn't even say that the FCC had to prevent it, it was all about giving the FCC direct power to make rules about online privacy without the need of any congressional oversight and if the future they were to make a rule it could possibly include one about social media passwords and the legislature couldn't do anything about it no matter how bad or good it is. Having seen how messed up the FCC is about showing a nipple on TV, I'm not ready to give them that power; not sure why any sane person would want to give them that power either. Granting power to groups of the government (especially one that isn't voted in by the people) needs to be *explicitly* stated instead of wide sweeping grant of power to regulate all of something. With this amendment, the FCC could make a requirement that everything needs to go through a "great wall of US" firewall to protect the privacy of US citizens from other countries, extreme example yes, but this amendment would allow them to do that completely legally and there really would be no person to vote out of (or into) office about it.

      1 SEC. 5. PROTECTING THE PASSWORDS OF ONLINE USERS.

      2 Nothing in this Act or any amendment made by this

      3 Act shall be construed to limit or restrict the ability of

      4 the Federal Communications Commission to adopt a rule

      5 or to amend an existing rule to protect online privacy, in

      6 cluding requirements in such rule that prohibit licensees

      7 or regulated entities from mandating that job applicants

      8 or employees disclose confidential passwords to social net

      9 working web sites.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Thanks GOP

        The usual BS from the GOP. It was all a conspiracy to give more power to the FCC / government. The same as for the health care bill, all a socialist conspiracy to give the goverment more power ARGH....

        All the time real people are having real problems which are not being helped by the GOP's standing up for non real made up issues. GOP SOP....

        1. InsaneGeek
          FAIL

          Re: Thanks GOP

          Maybe if the writers would actually write a good bill people would vote for it.

          I'd vote for an amendment saying that "individuals can not be required or coerced to disclose personal account or password information to current or prospective employers".

          I would not for vote an amendment saying that "Congress will give FCC the power to regulate privacy on the internet which also includes the ability to make rules about mandating disclosure of passwords by job applicants ".

          If you can't understand the difference between the two than you are simply an idiot. Write a good law to begin with and people from either party will vote for it, write a poorly drafted one even if it has good intentions behind it and (smart) people will not vote for it. What part of that is hard to understand for you?

          Really, do you want another poorly written DMCA type law on the books? Because that's what this amendment is another crappy reaction that has basically good intentions but written horribly, how hard would it be to re-write that paragraph to contain what I wrote vs the broad sweeping crat that was actually in the amendment... but I guess you are all for DMCA type laws based on emotion rather than intelligence. Me, I prefer to have a well written law that explicitly says employers can't look at my stuff rather than saying if the FCC decides to in the future do something they can but they don't have to.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Thanks GOP

            Ah, so the republicans are protecting us from having more legislation like the DMCA bill. And who sponsored the DMCA bill again? Oh, yeah a republican, passed by a republican house and senate. So that is ok with the GOP to help out their buds in big business.

            Now when it is something to help out the little guy stand up to their buds in big business, the GOP are suddenly worried about a badly worded bill, because it requires action from the FCC. The FCC who are in place to regulate communication and the internet (the hint is in their name). I may not be the biggest fan of the FCC, but unlike the GOP, I don't live in a fantasy world where we can just do away with it in an instant. They are what there is at the moment and what they have to work with.

            Let's not forget the GOP want the FCC gone so they can have a non neutral internet. But guess who are first to call for FCC action when there is something offensive on the TV, oh yeah family values GOP voters.

            So the usual hypocrisy from the right.

            1. InsaneGeek
              FAIL

              Re: Thanks GOP

              Why do you think I'm a member of the GOP? Oh I get it in your world anybody who is against something is automatically a member of the GOP... a closed minded political bigot. Good to know.

              I find it very interesting you intentionally forget to mention that it was unanimously passed in the House, and unanimously passed in the Senate and signed into law by Clinton... but it was only one party who is responsible. It's not like the current VP of the US was invited to a special event by the RIAA/MPAA to honor his and 3x other members of the legislature on getting it through or anything. Oh sure it's just the GOP, not like everybody or anything; oh to be able to live in your black and white world....

              On net neutrality have you read the law (also do you know it was sponsored by both GOP & DEM)? I have a similar problems with it... it doesn't do what most people think it does. It only protects lawful data (paragraph 64), so if you are downloading some content not available in your country via an in country proxy net neutrality doesn't protect you at all. Additionally there is no real prevention of degrading service, they can't degrade your torrent download/ netflix stream to where it's unusable but they can make it run at less than a MB legally (paragraph 66). ISP's are still allowed to degrade the service of people who use more than others (paragraph 73), don't get me started on how bizarre they are applying rules to mobile internet. Again like the idea, like most of it, but there are some real problems in the FCC rules.

              http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2010/db1223/FCC-10-201A1.pdf

              We should *always* be worried about badly worded bills from both parties, I still don't understand why you seem think that a poorly written bill is just "peachy keen".

              As I'm a registered independent who has an open mind and willing to call both parties out, I'm not getting into your whole GOP is evil and Dem are just fine (emphasized by your intentional lack of any complaints about them). But I will disagree in your supposition in that this amendment was good, it was bad, very bad period.

  15. AnonymousNow

    Every move made by the GOP and Obama over the last decade has brought us one step closer to fascism. Of course the GOP wants corporations and governments to freely access all your private communications. Too bad the same thing is happening to you Brits. Even as you pretend that the only issue is with America, you are in the process of losing everything, including your "democracy." Join the party.

    1. Paulson

      The United States is s democratic republic, not a democracy.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Would-be employers can already pay for infromation about us that isn't widely available, it's only a small step for Facebook etc. to offer a paying service that lets them see what they want without having to ask for your password.

  17. M Gale

    I would have thought the simple answer is...

    ..."I don't have a Facebook account."

    Doesn't have to be the true answer.

    1. Nigel 11
      Thumb Down

      Re: I would have thought the simple answer is...

      Possible, even probable, grounds for dismissal if they later find out that you lied to them.

      I *really* don't have a Facebook account.

      1. admiraljkb
        Thumb Down

        Re: I would have thought the simple answer is...

        I don't have a Facebook account either. Wayyyy too open for my tastes. Without easy to use Access Control Lists to keep people separated, eeeeeeeeeek. Lets face it, some of my buddies make comments that I'd rather my mother, wife, sister, daughter, nieces, etc not see.

        Thanks to G+, I can still "friend" the HR Drone and put them in a circle by themselves so they don't see anything other than what I share with them and what's already public. The issue with the Google account though is they'd have access to a lot more valuable information than just whats on Facebook.

        Going along with that, the Google accounts have the option of two factor authentication, so having the password won't do them any good unless they've got your phone as well to generate the secondary code necessary to log in.

        If Facebook would enable two factor authentication as well it would cut down on this. Of course it then means that people have to enable it, and then go through the frustration of two passwords, one being random from the phone. Most non-security oriented folks won't go through the hassle...

      2. M Gale

        Re: I would have thought the simple answer is...

        Possible, even probable grounds for dismissal?

        Perhaps. However, around here, unless you're working for some fly-by-night shysters, that tends to involve tribunals. You can bring witnesses to tribunals.

        My witness will be a journalist from the local rag.

        (and no, I don't have a Facebonk account either)

    2. Steve Evans

      Re: I would have thought the simple answer is...

      Or two seconds of tapping on the smartphone to create a new, empty profile.

      Although I'm pretty sure my answer would be "Sure, you can look round my activities the day you hand me the keys to your house so I can do the same"

  18. Nigel 11
    Devil

    I still don't get it.

    I still don't get it. Why do people feel a need to store every embarassing detail of their private lives in a huge database owned by a for-profit corporation, and then expect to keep it private?

    As an old proverb says,

    "Don't make love by the garden gate / Love is blind, but the neighbours ain't!"

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So...

    A congressman is paid for by the country, so you could claim they work for you, so hand 'em over!

  20. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Joke

    Um, what's a Facebook?

    Potential answer if you really do not want the job

  21. blem wit
    Thumb Up

    Good. That's none of Washington's bussiness

    Solution: don't take the job / walk off of it OR delete FB/Twitter.

    Employers will take the hint very quickly.

    Simple.

    Moving the legislature behemoth (and untold millions in resources) to step in when individuals don't have the balls to do take action themselves in something personal as this is the death of the republic.

    I wouldn't be surprised if the proposed bill included the creation of a Federal Bureau of Compliance And Fairness for Social Media Activity and Accountability, that initially would name a Social Medias Compliance Czar in a lean and mean 3000 strong employees bureaucratic body, twittering up a storm whenever Rush Limbaugh tweets something.

    Once that is in place, and the mean and vicious employers have been reigned in back into passivity, this bureaucratic leviathan would then "extend" it's activities to monitoring and regulating the tweets of mean 13 years old schoolgirl bullies. Why, we all know they are so mean they can actually cause classmates to commit suicide. What kind of caring and compassionate society would we have if don't regulate them into compliance with the norms of caring and compassion?

    Right? Right?

    1. Tom 13

      Re: Good. That's none of Washington's bussiness

      I don't necessarily think Congress shouldn't pass a law to protect the privacy*. But contrary to the claims of the author, this amendment didn't even do that. What it did was transfer law-making authority away from Congress and to unelected twits, plus refer the bill back to committee where it could rot for a few more weeks while Dems blamed Reps for failure to take action on a critical issue.

      *The devil is in the details, and I would want to see the details before giving my personal approval, but I can conceive that it could be written and receive my approval.

    2. SYNTAX__ERROR
      Mushroom

      Re: "Delete Facebook"

      Believe me, if it were that easy, I would be more than pleased to oblige.

  22. Andrew Stevenson

    Using coercion to gain access to a secured computer system is not a legal practice.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I for one......

    Welcome our facebook snooping, privacy invading, neo-nazi facist bullyboy overlords and invite them into my life with open arms.

    AC because this is clearly sarcasm.

  24. Graham Wilson
    Mushroom

    It's absolutely extraordinary that this topic had ever appeared.

    I find it absolutely extraordinary that this topic had ever appeared.

    If my employer ever wanted to search my Facebook account then he'd have a very difficult time.

    I. I don't normally use Facebook, it's puerile trash--the sort of thing you normally grow out of after kindergarten. For me, why people use it absolutely defies logic. I see no reason whatsoever to be involved with it. No one has ever given me an even vaguely satisfactory reason why you'd bother. The best I can do is that it's some sort of lemming effect--a dangerous meme that's infected a certain sector of the population!

    2. If I *have* to create a Facebook account, which happens from time to time as I'm in IT, then:

    3. I create and account under an alias using a disposable email address.

    4. I always use a different IP address to do so.

    5. Even the disposable email account is created with a different IP address.

    6. I never link anyone that may be in one account/group with another other.

    7. I never contact friends or associates that use Facebook using Facebook. (I never even look them up in case two separate groups may be linked by my temporary connection--even though I'm using an alias.

    8. If for some extraordinary reason I had to use two Facebook accounts from the same machine within a short period of time, then the browser is cleaned of cookies etc. Just to be sure I'd use Opera for one session and Firefox for another. Between sessions the IP would be changed by disconnecting from the ISP and reconnecting and checking to see the IP has actually changed. (Normally, I'd use two separate machines) using different ISPs and IP addresses.

    Oh BTW, I always log-in to El Reg using my real name and never post anonymously, so I'm hardly paranoid when it comes to the internet. This should tell the reader how little trust I have in social media sites. (And this report proves that I'm on the correct course.)

    Even with Google I clean cookies between searches, use multiple machines for different searches and change IP addresses. I do not want a Google profile to build up every time I do a search.

    I can't believe most of the world doesn't follow these simple rules. Banks don't normally close and their staff go home whilst leaving the front and safe doors open. All I do is straightforward internet security basics.

    Why others don't do the same simply defies me!

    1. Dinky Carter

      >No one has ever given me an even vaguely satisfactory reason why you'd bother

      Perhaps nobody can be bothered to justify their leisure activities to such a misery guts.

      1. Graham Wilson
        Happy

        @ Dinky Carter

        Just to show I'm not as miserable as you might imagine, I've given you a 'thumbs up'.

        I do what ZenCoder does--use the phone. Actually, I prefer to be with others in person--I've found no realistic electronic substitute for that as yet.

        For me, PCs and iPhones etc. are still a long way from being real humans, they're not friendly, warm and personable and immediately responsive as real humans are.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's absolutely extraordinary that this topic had ever appeared.

      You may find that the use of Mailinator will help you to reduce the effort in those precautionary steps.

      However, I don't believe the bit you mentioned about connecting using a different ISP. It seems probable that you are referring to a consumer-grade ADSL connection if it uses a dynamic IP address as you suggest. As far as I am aware, it isn't normally possible to have ADSL service from multiple providers active on the same line.

      Methinks maybe a few of your statements are somewhat hyperbolic.

  25. Stuart Castle

    How far?

    This concerns me a little. I am not specifically concerned with work colleagues, or even my boss, accessing my facebook data. I'm not. I have most of my work colleagues and my boss as friends.

    What I am concerned about is how far this is going to go. OK, so they get access to my facebook account. Where will it stop? In a few years, will they demand access to any personal email accounts I hold? Will they demand that the phone company pass them any phone numbers I dial? Check with my ISP for what sites I visit? Check with the post office who I mail?

    We actually already have protections in law for privacy invasions such as this. I don't personally see why they can't apply to new forms of communication (social networks, IM etc). I am not querying companies checking what their employees are doing on the company networks (on the contrary: I believe companies have a responsibility to do this), but what employees do in their own time, on their own hardware/software is their business.

    1. Graham Wilson
      Thumb Up

      Re: How far?

      2nd para -- Precisely!

  26. ZenCoder

    It also violates all your friends privacy.

    Anyone logging in as me not only violates my privacy, but also gets access to chat logs of confidential conversations of my close friends.

    I actually prefer to talk to my friends in person or on the phone, but at least half my friends use facebook for Instant messaging and as a replacement for email.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They don't need new laws

    They need people with a brain. Just say NO to social media.

  28. Dave Taflin

    Which companies are involved?

    I'd like to see public shame heaped upon the guilty companies. Has anyone listed which companies are doing this?

  29. Jimmy John

    The best way to contact your representative

    is by phone, next by email, next by fax, last by snail mail.

    Keep the call simple "NO TO H.R. xyz 'The ABC ACT' IN ITS CURRENT FORM"

    That's all.

    Cheers!

  30. Anon-engy

    2 solutions

    (1) If you are about to go job hunting, delete your facebook account. Then you can honestly say, I don't have a FB account.

    (2) Facebook creates a new feature to the account that's called "job hunting", that will allow you to block your account from any access until your job seeking is completed. og

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 2 solutions

      Real solution: Get a life.

  31. Talic
    FAIL

    solution

    "I don't bow to peer pressure, so I do not have a Facebook"

  32. skeptical i
    Devil

    "Just kidding, we need to weed out those daft enough to have a Facebook account."

    I can dream, can't I?

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