the ACLU, and a couple of senators asking the Justice Department to look into the matter. I'm talking about real people worried about being asked to give up their personal information and privacy. The only way you're going to get their Facebook password is to pry it from their cold, dead hands.Not to beat a dead horse, but there are a lot of people out there who are very, very upset at the idea of sharing their social media logins with employers or potential employers. I'm not talking about
At least that's the impression I got from the 24 comments on my earlier post (When Your Boss DOES Have the Right to Your Facebook Password) as well as dozens more culled from lively discussions on a number of LinkedIn groups.
Admittedly, the comments on LInked in groups like SMB IT Connection and Publishing and Editing Professionals are most likely coming from a self-selected group of Web leaders and technology and content professionals. That's who reads ReadWriteWeb, and that's also who belongs to the LinkedIn groups where I posted my original story. I don't disagree, but it's ironic that the most sophisticated techies, the ones most involved in pursuing their business and personal lives online, are the most adamant that the two never, ever get mixed.
Comments range from "NO!!!" to "only when they give me theirs." Others wonder where the privacy invasion will stop: at personal email accounts, rifling though your snail mail, PIN numbers, house keys, phone records and so on.
Many folks worry that giving employers access to your social media accounts also exposes your friends. A common compromise was to let employers "friend" you for access to your accounts, while others simply refuse to use Facebook in the first place.
On the other hand, these folks know that employers of writers, marketers and other "influencers" increasingly make hiring decisions based on the power of the applicant's social media networks, and services like Klout exist to help them measure that.
And that's the real issue here. For a variety of reasons, increasing numbers of people mix their personal and business identities online. Compartmentalizing your life is getting more difficult all the time. And in that environment, employers asking for social media passwords is only one of many unforeseen consequences. Companies, individuals and government agencies are still trying to figure out where the lines should be drawn -- even as the social networks and how people use them continue to evolve. That's why the Internet is having this moment of angst.
Finally, there's another element to consider. From a security perspective, it's a bad idea to share your password with anyone. For any reason.
Even if the person you share with is legitimate, once the password is out, you can never put it back in the bottle or know exactly who else will get access.
And as Mike Loukides notes on O'Reilly Radar, phishing techniques are all about convincing people to give up their passwords. And from the employer's perspective, if someone gives you a password, it has to raise the question of who else are they giving their passwords to? Can you really trust that person to maintain your company's security protocols?
Turnabout is fair play, of course. Do you really want to work for a company that would ask for your passwords?