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Bozeman’s Facebook password grab
Is the Montana city’s request for job applicants' blog and Facebook passwords an invasion of privacy?
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ozeman, Mont., is a lovely town, but its city hiring officials “have apparently lost their minds,” said Terrence O’Brien in AOL’s Switched. The job application for any city job asks, among other things, for your login name and password for social-networking and other personal websites, including Facebook, MySpace, Google, and Yahoo. This is clearly a “full-fledged invasion of privacy.”

Bozeman officials say they don’t throw out applications that leave that section blank, said Liz Wolgemuth in U.S. News & World Report. But the fact that Bozeman feels it can be that invasive “speaks to the challenges facing the unemployed in this market.” Bozeman’s method may be “extreme,” but it’s by no means the only novel or stringent trick employers are using to winnow down the “piles of résumés for fewer openings.”

Asking for “pointers” to an applicant’s public blogs and Facebook pages is understandable, said Lisa Hoover in Computerworld, if somewhat lazy on Human Resource’s part. But passwords? Look, “what my Google search history holds, what I’ve watched on YouTube, or what my Facebook inbox contains is no one’s business but my own.”

That’s why Bozeman is reviewing its policy, said Amy Farnsworth in The Christian Science Monitor, and will probably only ask that you “friend” city officials on Facebook, for example, so they can see your profile. But Bozeman’s “application curveball” is a reminder to watch what you post—your future potential employer is probably watching.

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