Bozeman backs off of the snooping (followup)

Following up on a previous story:

Not surprisingly, the city of Bozeman, Montana, decided to back off on requiring social networking site passwords for hiring.

CNet reports that the city sent out a press release on Friday with an update to the policy, where they also mention EFF attorney Kevin Bankston had some choice words for the city government:

I think it’s indefensibly invasive and likely illegal as a violation of the First Amendment rights of job applicants… Essentially, they’re conditioning your application for employment on your waiving your First Amendment rights… and risking the security of your information by requiring you to share your password with them… Where does it stop? How about a photocopy of your diary?

The Register updated their original story with information that Facebook itself has taken issue with its users passwords being collected. As well they should. I’m surprised more sites have not followed.

I personally believe even a requirement to add an official account as a friend on Facebook or similar sites goes over the line. (I saw this mentioned somewhere when reading up on the news today but can’t find it now.) Any background check on someone should only be based on public information tied to that person under an identity that can be confirmed as theirs. Even some blogs should be off-limits if they are written under pseudonyms.