Once again, as a result of this week’s reading, I’m slightly overwhelmed by the amount of data I likely produce. Some of it is (potentially) for the greater good, like the example of GPS tracking as an aid in medical research or to track one’s carbon footprint. A lot of it though, focused on the negative, like a potential employer requesting your Facebook password.

Despite the use, there was a consensus in this week’s reading that privacy laws need to address the issues of personal data in the mobile and social media era. Most of it revolved around the idea of consent, which I can get behind. I think at this point none of us are naive enough to think that any of our information on the internet is totally private. My Twitter profile is open to the public, and I use Facebook check-in more than any person should. As a general rule though, I don’t put anything out there that I would be ashamed to have someone see, whether it is an employer or my grandma. I think as internet-users, we need to have an understanding that nothing is really private. Do I think it is appropriate for an employer to ask for someone’s password? No way. However, it is totally appropriate for them to view what you are putting out there for the public to see.

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10 Responses to Privacy

  1. I agree. Its the back room/front room thing. If a candidate for a job is reckless enough to post bad information or photos of themselves, it should play into the hiring process. At least for how they handle confidential and private information, if nothing else.

  2. alanyskpl says:

    I believe they can see your Facebook page if they wanted to, however, a password gives out access to your account and your privacy. This could potentially open up to letting employers see your settings and who you are blocking for personal reasons. This is definitely overstepping the line for me. I don’t have anything to hide from my employer, but I also don’t want them to see that I have blocked certain family members and judge my character because of that, not knowing the real reasons why.

  3. As a teacher, I am uber-sensitive about what I post, and how I say things. It gives me an extra filter. I think that we produce and send an overwhelming amount of personal data, but if we are responsible about what we post, we should be okay. Can we help it if our friends’ friends post photos of us that one night we can’t remember? No, but we can be vigilant to clean up our indiscretions. I understand an employer being concerned about the image employees portray, but there is a limit to their control and infringement.

  4. naseemspeaks says:

    Emily, I don’t actually think posting to one’s Facebook page is quite putting it out there for the public to see, as you put it. That’s more like a blog or public discussion forum online in my opinion. If Facebook users add people selectively (people they know and trust) and ensure their privacy settings are set to the highest level, they should be able to post what they’d like to without repercussion from potential or current employers as the content is not meant for their eyes (assuming they are viewing an applicant’s profile by gaining password credentials).

    • Emily Davis says:

      You’re right, it is not technically “public” as I put it. For me though, I’ve had so many co-workers and people I’ve networked with in the community friend me, that I wouldn’t want to rock the boat. Given the size of the town I live in, there is always someone who knows someone that sees what you put on Facebook. Of course, I don’t actually have any radical activities to post on there anyway but you get my point. So I guess that is what I meant 🙂

  5. I like what Naseem said and it’s okay to assume that you have controlled your facebook as much as you can but you have to know that by mutual friends or sneakiness that an employer or individual can access your account and make whatever judgements they like, especially if they’re hiring someone that they’ll be working extremely close with. Despite the fact that you post stuff for just your friends to see, you have to be okay with the fact they might show it to someone else.

    • naseemspeaks says:

      Totally with you, Kristin and Emily–in a better world, our Facebook content would stay within our close circles. However, the reality is that it can be accessed through a variety of channels as you both stated.

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