Woodrow Hartzog writes about an increasing concern: entities requesting – or worse, demanding – access to a person’s online communications as part of a hiring process or other process:
The practice of asking for access to other’s online communities is not new. City governments and high school cheerleading coaches have requested access to social media profiles. Even the Florida Bar Association has indicated that certain applicants, such as those with a history of substance abuse, might be required to provide access to their social media profiles.
The commentary on these activities has been critical. From a security angle, asking for usernames and passwords is always tricky because individuals notoriously use the same username and password for everything. Someone’s Facebook login credentials could also provide access to their online banking and e-mail account. Some critics have also noted that once someone else is in possession of an individual’s username and password,they have the ability to lock out the individual by changing the password.
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