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June 19, 2009

Overnight Open Thread – “1984” or Much Ado About Nothing? (genghis)

“Just because you’re paranoid it doesn’t mean they’re not after you.” (From “Stuff Jefferson Said: The Oral Histories”, 3rd Printing, Limited Human-Leather Bound Edition, Necronomicon Publishing)

CBS News covers a story about a municipality that has added some new requirements for job applicants:

”(CBS) If you're planning to apply for a job with the city of Bozeman, Montana, be prepared to hand over much more than your references and résumé.”

“The Rocky Mountain city instructs all job applicants to divulge their usernames and passwords for "any Internet-based chat rooms, social clubs or forums, to include, but not limited to: Facebook, Google, Yahoo, YouTube.com, MySpace, etc."

"Before we offer people employment in a public trust position we have a responsibility to do a thorough background check," Chuck Winn, Bozeman's assistant city manager, told CBSNews.com in an interview on Thursday. "This is just a component of a thorough background check."

"Shame on us if there was information out there available about a person who applied for a job who was a child molester or had some sort of information out there on the Internet that kind of showed those propensities and we didn't look for it, we didn't ask, and we hired that person," Winn said. "In many ways we would have let the public down."”


Shockingly enough, not everyone agrees:
”An attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights group based in San Francisco, questioned Bozeman's choice to ask for usernames and passwords.”

"I think its indefensibly invasive and likely illegal as a violation of the First Amendment rights of job applicants," said Kevin Bankston, an EFF attorney. "Essentially they're conditioning your application for employment on your waiving your First Amendment rights ... and risking the security of your information by requiring you to share your password with them... Where does it stop? How about a photocopy of your diary? Or a copy of all the comments you’ve ever made in the overnight open thread?"”


(It’s quite possible that I added that last sentence myself.) Bankston goes on to list a couple of other reasons why this is a really bad idea. So there ya’ go. Fight it out in the thread if you want (or ignore it if everyone is 100% on one side of this argument.) CBS story and link found at Dori Monson’s blog.


Notice: Posted by permission of AceCorp LLC. Please e-mail overnight open thread tips to xgenghisx@gmail.com. Otherwise send tips to Ace.

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posted by xgenghisx at 10:42 PM

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