Friday, June 19, 2009

CITY OF BOZEMAN STRIPS EMPLOYEES OF INTERNET PRIVAC

UPDATE: BOZEMAN CUTS BACK ON EMPLOYEE SPYING PLANS

Fox News - A flood of criticism has prompted a Montana city to drop its request that government job applicants turn over their user names and passwords to Internet social networking and Web groups. The city of Bozeman abruptly suspended the practice Friday, saying it "appears to have exceeded that which is acceptable to our community.". . . "I liken it to them saying they want to look at your love letters and your family photos," said Amy Cannata of the Montana ACLU. . .

ORIGINAL STORY

Montana News Station -
Applying for a job with the City of Bozeman? You may be asked to provide more personal information than you expected.

That was the case for one person who applied for employment with the City. The anonymous viewer emailed the news station recently to express concern with a component of the city's background check policy, which states that to be considered for a job applicants must provide log-in information and passwords for social network sites in which they participate.

The requirement is included on a waiver statement applicants must sign, giving the City permission to conduct an investigation into the person's "background, references, character, past employment, education, credit history, criminal or police records."

"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 City form states. There are then three lines where applicants can list the Web sites, their user names and log-in information and their passwords.

Article 2, Section 10 of the Montana Constitution reads "the right of individual privacy is essential to the well-being of a free society and shall not be infringed without the showing of a compelling state interest.". . .

Another concern the applicant raised was that by providing the City with a Facebook user name and password the City not only has access to the applicant's page but also to the pages belonging to all of the applicant's Facebook "friends."

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