Meredith Curtis of the ACLU of Maryland describes a case that should concern us all:
Maryland corrections officer Robert Collins approached the ACLU of Maryland late last year, disturbed that he was required to provide his Facebook login and password to the Maryland Division of Corrections (DOC) during a recertification interview. He had to sit there while the interviewer logged on to his account and read not only his postings, but those of his family and friends too.
On January 25, the ACLU of Maryland sent a letter (PDF) to Public Safety Secretary Gary Maynard on behalf of Officer Collins, concerning the Division of Correction’s blanket requirement that applicants for employment with the division, as well as current employees undergoing recertification, provide the government with their social media account usernames and personal passwords for use in employee background checks.
The demand for Facebook login information is not only a gross breach of privacy for Officer Collins and his friends, it raises significant legal concerns under the Federal Stored Communications Act and Maryland state law, which protect privacy rights and extend protections to electronic communications.
Read more about the case on the ACLU of Maryland’s blog.
h/t, The Atlantic
Update 2-22-11: Byron Acohido reports:
6 p.m. Eastern. Deborah Jeon, director of the ACLU of Maryland, says she has just received notification that Maryland is suspending this practice for 45 days pending a review.