Monday, March 26, 2012


From the Washington Post:

Senators want feds to look into employers asking
for Facebook passwords during job interviews

Two U.S. senators are asking Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate whether employers asking for Facebook passwords during job interviews are violating federal law, their offices announced Sunday.

Troubled by reports of the practice, Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut said they are calling on the Department of Justice and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to launch investigations. The senators are sending letters to the heads of the agencies.

The Associated Press reported last week that some private and public agencies around the country are asking job seekers for their social media credentials. The practice has alarmed privacy advocates, but the legality of it remains murky.

On Friday, Facebook warned employers not to ask job applicants for their passwords to the site so they can poke around on their profiles. The company threatened legal action against applications that violate its long-standing policy against sharing passwords.

More here.

And when I say "fatal flaw," you can be sure I'm not talking about civil libertarians.

No, I'm talking about the right-wingers who are just fine with people smoking pot and having gay sex, but hate government interference in virtually everything, especially commercial activity. Actually, mostly commercial activity. Indeed, Libertarians sort of co-mingle the notions of individuality and business such that, to them, it's all the same. Freedom for people, freedom for business, no difference. But, of course, there are differences between individual citizens and businesses, most notably money and power--business has power to control your life while most individuals don't. That is, the Libertarian Party, and others such as Republicans Ron Paul and his son (Ayn) Rand, and their followers, claim to be all about "freedom," but simply don't recognize that private business entities can be just as oppressive, and often more oppressive, than the government.

So it's a fucked up "freedom" that these people champion, an impossible self-contradictory "freedom" asserting that taking government out of the equation must always make us more "free." The reality, however, is that power abhors a vacuum, and wherever the government pulls up stakes, private business sets up shop.

That's exactly what's happened with this alarming rise in employers demanding prospective employees' facebook passwords as a condition for gaining employment. At face value, this is obviously a gross violation of individual privacy, and thank god we have a government, for now anyway, that takes this shit seriously. But in the perfect Libertarian reality, this solicitation of personal online material is nothing more than a private contract between citizens--if you don't like it you don't have to do it; you can always seek employment elsewhere. One thing with which the Libertarians never concern themselves, however, is what happens when such a practice becomes the standard, as happened with drug testing back in the 80s. Under such circumstances, you can't look for work elsewhere; you've just got to bend over and take it.

Some "freedom." But Libertarians are just fine with it all because it's not the government doing the oppressing. That's their fatal flaw: they think that government, and only government, can curtail your freedom. The reality is that government, and only government, can protect your freedom.

I wonder if any Libertarians appreciate the irony that American government in the 21st century is, by and large, owned and operated by private business. Probably not.