As I noted yesterday in an update to the original blog entry, the Maryland Department of Corrections has issued a 45-day moratorium on asking employees and applicants for their Facebook login after the Maryland ACLU went public with the situation and the story got spread far and wide.
Alexis Madrigal, who had helped call attention to the ACLU case, reports:
Days after the American Civil Liberties Union went public with the story of a Maryland corrections officer who was asked for his Facebook login information during a job interview, the state’s Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) has suspended that practice.
In an e-mail to The Atlantic, the department’s director of communications Rick Binetti wrote that he thought the ACLU letter and press release had created “misperceptions” about the organization’s policy.
Binetti said that it was not policy to “demand any personal social media information from applicants.” However, he did admit that the organization does ask for that information during interviews. Here’s how he described what was supposed to happen:
During the initial interview, or recertification processes, DPSCS does not require correctional officer applicants to provide any information related to social media. An applicant is asked if they are active users of social media. If so, the Department only asks if an applicant would provide this information. If any information is provided by an applicant, it is done so voluntarily. If an applicant does not provide this information, it is not held against them and the interview process moves forward.[…]
Read more in The Atlantic.
As far as I’m concerned, the agency shouldn’t be asking at all – even if it is “voluntary.” Given how many people believe that “If you have nothing to hide…” any refusal to provide a “voluntary” login could still be viewed suspiciously or influence hiring or recertification decisions.