Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Overheard in the Office:

So I can hear the TeeWee in the other room and there's a couple of talking heads discussing the whole "zomg some employers are asking for Facebook passwords as part of the interview process!" thing, which is the current backup distraction from the economy in the unlikely occasion of the zeitgeist suddenly going amnesiac on the Zimmerman/Martin thing.

The woman being interviewed said "What's next? Your medical records?"

I blew up.
"Dammit, your employer can make you take a physical. They can run a credit check. They can make you urinate in a Dixie cup. They can make you wear orange spandex short shorts and a crop top, and you're worried that they might see those pictures of you naked at that pool party with a lampshade on your head and shotgunning Ernest & Julio's best straight from the spigot on the box?

Honey, thirty seconds after you put those pictures on the internet, some teenager in Latvia was wanking to them and /b/tards were using them to make lolcats. The privacy horse is out of the barn, down the road, over the horizon, and the Visigoths have burned the barn, and NOW you're worried about it? Just for that, you ought to get a groping AND a porn-o-scan the next time you're at the airport!"
How does she even remember which end of the spoon goes in her mouth?

Of course the solution with this, like everything from the guy in the next car texting to the airlines charging you for an extra suitcase is to run to daddy government and tug on his sleeve 'til he passes another law. And people wonder why I'm a misanthrope...

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

Now, now.... there's no use getting that worked up this early in the day.

There's at least 10 hours more of rampant stupidity that will come across your TeeWee screen today... you need to save some bile to deal with it.

Dave said...

"run to daddy government and tug on his sleeve 'til he passes another law."

That horse may be long down the road too. I've seen fairly convincing arguments that the computer fraud and abuse act is written so vaguely that it can be used to prosecute password sharing and other TOS violations.

Tam said...

Dave,

"I've seen fairly convincing arguments that the computer fraud and abuse act is written so vaguely that it can be used to prosecute password sharing and other TOS violations"

Yes, but that won't get any vote-garnering appearances on the news shows, so they'll need to pass a new law with a catchy acronym that makes employers asking for passwords DOUBLE SECRET ILLEGAL!

taylor said...

Hey, im sure the /b/tards can come up with something MUCH more creative to do with those pics than just make lolcats out of them. Such low-brow humor is the domain of farkers and reddit.

Do not anger /b/

Weer'd Beard said...

Fucking Visigoths!

We need Common Sense visigoth control!

Tam said...

taylor,

It was supposed to be kind of a double entendre, see...

taylor said...

I prefer the euphemism "feeding Domo"...

Mike W. said...

Actually, I'm pretty sure that this would be a violation of Facebook's EULA.

Can employers / prospective employers compel you to violate it?

http://www.facebook.com/legal/terms

See "registration and account security" #8.

Les Jones said...

There are limits on what employers can do. All hope isn't lost.

Even if you post an item on Facebook there's some expectation of privacy. That's the difference between posting an item to Facebook and posting it to a blog or Twitter.

Too, not everything on Facebook is visible. Facebook has a private message function. If a potential employer has your password they can rifle through those private messages just as easily as they can go through your status updates.

perlhaqr said...

Or, if a potential employer asks you for your MyFaceTwit password... say no.

It's not rocket surgery, people.

jetfxr69 said...

^^^
|||

This.

Bram said...

Do I have to sign up for Facebook to get a job? I have no interest in sharing all the none of your business with the world.

SGB said...

I'd prefer to pee on Facebook and drink from a cup.

Anonymous said...

Google+

Erin Palette said...

I don't understand why people just don't say the following:

"According to anti-discrimination laws, you are barred from asking me questions such as my age, my marital status, where I was born or what children I may have. Giving you access to my Facebook account lets you know all of these things. So not only will I refuse to give you my password, if you refuse to hire me because of it I will sue you for discriminatory practices.

I bet those magic word would make those in HR take notice tout de freaking suite.

Anonymous said...

facebook? what is facebook?
ohhhhhhhhhhhh, wait, that's what it is...
nope, no acct, never had one, never will...

Kristopher said...

perlhaqr:

Saying NO to an employer at a job interview will usually result in him saying NO.

What is not being examined here, as Tam pointed out, was why in the fuck are you posting embarrassing stuff on the internet under your real name?

I have an gmail account just for employers, banks, and other official stuff. My nearly blank "official" facebook page is tied to it, as well as my employer friendly LinkedIn page.

I am more than willing to let an employer see the low security password I use for the nearly blank facebook page.

perlhaqr said...

Kristopher: Sure, but why would you want to work for an employer that wants to climb that far up your ass anyway?

The world would be a better place if people would object to this sort of jock-sniffing behaviour on the part of employers and authorities themselves, rather than screeching "there oughtta be a law!"

Les Jones said...

Kristopher, who says what I have on Facebook is necessarily embarrassing?

What I have on Facebook is private, to be shared with the people I've hand-selected to share it with as I choose.

- I make my photo albums viewable by everyone. Others only allow their Facebook friends (and in some cases, their friends) to see their photos.
- My status updates are only visible to my Facebook friends.
- My private messages are only visible to the people I've addressed them to and no one else.

I created that content with those expectations of privacy, just like I have conversations in email with certain expectations of privacy.

Tam said...

"The world would be a better place if people would object to this sort of jock-sniffing behaviour on the part of employers and authorities themselves, rather than screeching "there oughtta be a law!""

/thread

John A said...

I am no longer .ooking for a job, being rather old and disabled as well.

But I do feel this is a bad, and probably illegal, thing: even law enforcement has occasionally been told by the courts that they may not forcibly get yout password[s] from you.

Medical/credit? In my experience, they may do these AFTER you have been hired. The medical to get company insurance and/or to check that you did not lie about being physically capable of doing the job. Credit checks probably need the SocSec mumber: while there is usually a place on job applications for this number, it is illegal to require it until after you are hired and the company is financially involved with you, i.e. withholding FICA.

Alas, it is expensive to try to prove you were not hired because of not giving info, and not all that easy to start up a class-action suit either. Proof is almost impossinle: that the potential employer asks for the info does not prove that it is actually the basis for not hiring someone.

Drang said...

How does she even remember which end of the spoon goes in her nose?
FIFY.

Les Jones said...

I'm having a hard understanding why this would be a bad law to have. Protecting the sheep from the wolves and all.

And it isn't like it would be an onerous law for employers to comply with. We're not talking about paperwork and taxes. We're talking about a don't do that law.

Granted, politicians are so stupid they can break a hammer, but if employers keep this crap up it may came down to passing a law to stop this sort of nonsense. If they can get a password for Facebook now they can get a password for your email next. We exist digitally now.

Anonymous said...

"They can make you wear orange spandex short shorts and a crop top..."

But...but...that wouldn't look good on me at all!

Mike James

Anonymous said...

I'm retired. My "Employer" is the Gubmint! Ohhhh shit!!!!!!!.

Sigivald said...

The key takeaway is "don't work for a place that does that".

They're giving you a vital piece of information about how they see you, as a potential employee - and it's a great warning.

(Contra John, however, I see no legal issue. The police may not force you to give them a password - but a potential employer is not using compulsion.

"A job" is not some legal right they can't withhold; they can make stupid and unreasonable demands like "your Facebook password".

And you can tell them to get stuffed.)

Zendo Deb said...

There is an easy way to preserve some privacy.

Don't Use Facebook.

I have a facebook account. It is suspended/disabled/whatever they call it when I ask to have it done.

Just so no one can impersonate me.

jimbob86 said...

The woman being interviewed said "What's next? Your medical records?"


I'd bet she's just fine with the dotGov keepin' those for her, as well as deciding what treatements she will receive .... because the Gubmint would neverevernever abuse such absolute power..... right?

Single Payer, here we come. :(

Les Jones said...

"There is an easy way to preserve some privacy. Don't Use Facebook."

And what if the next thing is to ask for your email password?

"The key takeaway is 'don't work for a place that does that'."

Just to be the devil's advocate, what if they all started demanding passwords for Facebook, email, etc.?

"'A job' is not some legal right they can't withhold; they can make stupid and unreasonable demands like 'your Facebook password'."

There are already restrictions on what kinds of information employers can ask you about in an interview - marital status, age, etc. Giving them free reign to snoop through your online accounts would give them that info and a heck of a lot more.

For some reason technology-literate, libertarian-leaning folks (of which I consider myself one) tend to just assume that employers can do damn near anything and have all the power. They can't and don't. You have rights.

Tango Juliet said...

I do not wonder why you're a misanthrope.

DaveFla said...

One of the best things about reaching my mid-forties has been the discovery that I now do The Hard Stare very well. In this case, I'd probably pair it with a curt "thanks for your time" on my way out of the building...

(New product: wrist bands imprinted with "What Would Heinlein Do?")

Kristopher said...

Perlhaqr:

This kind of HR crap bubbles out once in a while. It speads from HR department to HR department. It continues until people learn how to game it, and then it ends.

Lots of folks no longer use their real name on the internet, so Google Ego searches, last decade's big HR weeding tool, no longer works well.

People will learn to deal with this latest bit of HR privacy invasion as well. The sooner they do, the sooner it will stop.

Kristopher said...

Perlhaqr: and if you want to really fight this, and get really medieval on them, post the answers to the questions on this page:

http://www.hrworld.com/features/30-interview-questions-111507/

And then put in bold letters on the top of the page: THESE ARE THE ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS THAT CANNOT BE LAWFULLY ASKED BY EMPLOYERS DOING JOB INTERVIEWS

Then tell them that if you don't get hired, you will be contacting your lawyer.

Since you don't want to work for someone who wants to see your facebook page, you aren't losing anything by threatening legal action.

Anonymous said...

I was once a teenager in Latvia. No really. Pre-internet, but still...

Windy Wilson said...

Kristopher, Perlhaqr and Les Jones. Erin Palette said it first and best.
You are forbidden by law to ask about my age, my marital status, where I was born or what children I may have or intend to have. Giving you access to my Facebook account lets you know all of these things. So not only will I refuse to give you my password, if you refuse to hire me because of it I will sue you for discriminatory practices.
And any further questions in this direction may induce me to change my name to "PLaintiff" and seek others for a class action.
I may lose, but in the interim you'll have to pay some fancy-dan lawyer beaucoup bucks, which you doubtless have other plans for spending.
Besides, this won't look good on your annual review.

Saying that, you definitely won't get the job, but once word gets around, they'll stop this -- nonsense (you know what word I was going to use).