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News

Employer Requests For Facebook Logins Undermine Privacy

Sophos : 28 March, 2012  (Technical Article)
Sophos comments on reports that US emergency services personnel are being asked for Facebook login parameters, a move seen as undermining privacy expectations
Employer Requests For Facebook Logins Undermine Privacy
In an online poll conducted by IT security and data protection company Sophos, 91% of 3699 readers of the Naked Security website think it should be illegal for companies to request access to personal Facebook accounts.  The poll comes in response to recent media reports that applicants for emergency services roles in the US had been asked to provide Facebook log-in information as part of the interview process.

Facebook itself has responded to the reports, with its chief privacy officer, Erin Egan, stating:  “This practice undermines the privacy expectations and the security of both the user and the user’s friends.  It also potentially exposes the employer who seeks this access to unanticipated legal liability.”

Sophos has long campaigned around Facebook privacy and security, and is concerned that users should be asked for access to private information.

“One can understand that companies want to do everything they can to ensure that candidates will be a good fit and won't jeopardize the company, but asking for the keys to personal Facebook accounts is many, many steps too far,” said Carole Theriault, senior security consultant at Sophos.  “It’s certainly a worrying case on privacy grounds, but Facebook users should be careful about what they share online regardless – ensuring that you have carefully configured your privacy settings is a good start, but it is wise to not post anything online that could cause problems for you at a later date.”

Sophos has provided some tips for Facebook users concerned that use of the social network could compromise job applications, including adjusting settings on the ‘How You Connect’ page under Facebook's privacy settings and carefully sanitising accounts before starting to apply for any jobs, removing any potentially questionable messages, pictures and wall posts.
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