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Facebook to Employers: Stop Demanding Passwords

Company warns of possible legal action
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 23, 2012 5:57 PM CDT

(Newser) – Facebook has taken note of the recent trend of employers demanding that prospective or current employees hand over their passwords, and it issued a clear warning to such companies today: Knock it off. "As a user, you shouldn’t be forced to share your private information and communications just to get a job," writes Facebook privacy chief Erin Egan in a blog post. "We’ll take action to protect the privacy and security of our users, whether by engaging policymakers or, where appropriate, by initiating legal action, including by shutting down applications that abuse their privileges."

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Egan added that employers might invite unanticipated legal trouble if they go poking around, notes TechCrunch. "For example, if an employer sees on Facebook that someone is a member of a protected group (e.g. over a certain age, etc.) that employer may open themselves up to claims of discrimination if they don’t hire that person." Meanwhile, Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut is drafting legislation to make it illegal for bosses to ask job-seekers for access to their accounts, notes Politico. (Read more Facebook stories.)

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