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Congress Prevents New Facebook Access Law Meant To Prevent Snooping

Posted on by Gareth

There have been numerous reports in recent weeks of potential employers requesting that candidates provide their Facebook login details. Senators, lobbyists, and even Facebook itself has come out and condemned such action and it caused such a stir that the Democrats drafted a law that would prevent such actions from taking place. However, the law was shot down by US House representatives who vetoed the passing of the law by 236 votes to 184 although this may be because such actions should be prevented by an existing law.

Facebook Requests

Facebook has long been used as a tool by potential employers to vet candidates. Photos and status updates have been snooped on and used by recruiters as a means of determining the efficacy of a candidate for a role according to their personal life. More worryingly, though, has been the number of reports that companies are now asking for login details to snoop more heavily on a user’s details.

Why Recruiters Demand Facebook Access

Recruiters have said that this access to Facebook accounts can provide invaluable and highly useful information. Access would allow them not only to view friend lists and status updates, as well as photos, but to see private messages, and the level of interaction and usage of the network. Many have complained that such information is private and companies should not have the right to access it.

Facebook’s View

Facebook joined the argument, siding with individual users and stating that according to their terms and conditions, members are not allowed to share their passwords with others and that recruiters that demand such information are breaking their terms and conditions and forcing others to do the same. The amendment, which was put forward by Democratic Congressman Ed Perlmutter that would have provided the Federal Communications Commission with the power to stop such demands being made by prospective employers.

The Law

It is believed that one possible reason for the amendment being rejected is the fact that demanding such information may already be deemed as illegal as part of the Stored Communication Act or even the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. In which case, further legislation shouldn’t be required.

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