Yesterday’s amendment to a larger FCC reform bill that would make it illegal for employers to ask for employee’s social media passwords failed to garner the votes it needed.
This is a good thing.
Don’t get me wrong, my montra remains the same: “Don’t give your passwords to anyone.” By anyone I include boyfriends, girlfriends, spouses, children, or employers. That being said, I don’t see this as the kind of issue that must be transformed into law as there is nothing inherently dangerous about giving away a Facebook password, and there are other ways of getting at the information in one’s Facebook profile beyond demanding access.
Personally I won’t work with obviously unethical people. I rather like the idea of telling a potential employer to piss off because they demand something that they have no business asking for. I see the fact that an employer can ask for my passwords as a layer of protection for me. It’s a simple red flag system, as I will loathe working for or with people like that.
It’s fine if they ask me for my password, and it’s my right to tell them that I don’t work with unethical people.
The Other Side of the Argument
Now some of you are already thinking, “David, you don’t have a family to think about.” And you’re damn right. I don’t. At that point, you’re putting a value on your privacy. It’s your choice. We place a value on our privacy every time we signup for an online service like Google or Facebook. What’s wrong with doing the same for employment? With regards to your potential employer, ask yourself:
- How badly do you want that job?
- Do you honestly believe that the (largely imagined) job security you seek is really going to come from the jerk who demands your passwords?
- Are you ok with working for a micromanager? Because that’s who asks for your passwords.
What To Do If You Turn Over Your Password
- Tell the potential employer that your password will change by the end of the day. This is a personal security issue, and you can’t knowingly have a compromised password in the wild for more than a day.
- If you reuse passwords (which you shouldn’t), you need to change the password on all accounts that use that compromised password. Do it as soon as you get home.