Libertarian Perspective: Employers that Demand PasswordsSubmitted by Jao171 on Mon, 03/26/2012 - 15:32
Remember joining Facebook? No, neither do I, but yet I cannot imagine life without it.
It is difficult recall the exact moment that I decided to sign up for the world's most popular social networking site. Actually, I would be hard pressed to remember the year status updates entered my daily routine and my group of "friends" increased more than I had ever dreamed, or wanted. Facebook has irreversibly altered the social landscape for all ages, from teenagers to grandparents. Without Facebook I doubt I would ever wish anyone happy birthday (on time) and surely would know a heck of a lot less about hundreds of people that I barely know.
These days even a marriage engagement is not considered official, until it has been confirmed via Facebook. Many Facebook users post information intended to only be viewed by "friends". This content could be very embarrassing or even personally damaging if viewed by a possible future employer. This is why the stories circulating last week regarding companies demanding access to Facebook user passwords is so shocking and disturbing. From a libertarian perspective I see this issue from two distinct perspectives. The deplorable behavior by the hiring companies' by violating personal privacy needs to be addressed, but we need to allow the market and rule of law regulate or eliminate these abhorrent practice. The Federal Government should absolutely not get involved.
Imagine how uncomfortable it would be if a prospective employer asked a potential employee to bring personal photo albums and private letters to a job interview. There cannot be many people who would agree to work for a company that has such a blatant disregard for personal privacy. Personally, if I ever found myself in a situation where an employer requested private information that I was uncomfortable sharing I would politely decline and no longer entertain accepting their offer of employment.
Defenders of this interview practice have compared the stipulation of supplying a Facebook password to the requirement, imposed by many companies, of providing a urine sample for drug testing. Both practices are a violation of privacy. Drug testing prior to gaining employment has become standard procedure in our society. This is due to the fact that most people do not take offense to the fact that the government or corporations are free to determine and monitor what you place in your body. Unless the people change their views on this subject the market will continue to encourage these practices.