Just days after the ACLU
took up the case of Robert Collins
, a corrections officer from Maryland who was asked to provide his Facebook password during a job interview, the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Corrections Services has temporarily suspended its policy
of requesting such information. Rick Binetti, the Department's director of communications, told The Atlantic that there have been misunderstandings about the policy, saying that the department does not "demand" login information from applicants, but merely "asks if an applicant would provide this information." Login details are provided "voluntarily," he says -- and, if an applicant refuses, "it is not held against them."
It's maybe a bit misleading, though, to say that merely requesting social networking account information isn't at all coercive. With an economy in which many are still struggling to find work, employment-starved applicants might feel obligated to turn over any information requested by an interviewer.