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Montana City Asks Potential Employees to Hand Over Personal Passwords

Officials in the city of Bozeman, Montana have apparently lost their minds. An anonymous tipster alerted local media that upon applying for a job with the city he or she was asked to hand over log-in credentials for any social networking sites with which they had an account.

According to the local CBS affiliate, in addition to a clause permitting a standard background check of education, employment, and criminal history, the application includes a section that reads:
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,, MySpace, etc.,
The form (warning: PDF) then has lines for filling in the Web site address, user name, and password.

This has, of course, rankled privacy advocates, who believe this request crosses the line between a request for useful information and a full-fledged invasion of privacy. And visitors to the Montana News Station Web site seem to agree, with 98-percent voicing opposition to the policy in an online poll.

City attorney Greg Sullivan defended the requirement to local news, saying:
...we have positions ranging from fire and police, which require people of high integrity for those positions... 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.
You should always be careful about what you post on sites like Facebook or MySpace, lest it cost you your job. But the government (or any employer for that matter) demanding access to your private communications is clearly going too far. Not to mention a violation of Facebook's Terms of Service (check item 6 under "Registration and Account Security" and item 3 under "Safety"). [From:, via DailyTech]

Tags: employment, government, privacy, social networking, SocialNetworking, top



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