Squeezing your First Amendment rights

June 23rd, 2009 by Olga Koksharova

In the city of Bozeman (the US) it is…pardon, was “acceptable” to require user credentials to your personal mailboxes and other social networking accounts, when applying for a job. What for? For “a thorough background check”. Have a look at their press release:

http://www.bozeman.net/bozeman/upcoming%20events/Background%20Check%20Press%20Release%20June%2019%202009.pdf
Fortunately, they understood their error and removed this inappropriate requirement. I’m still curious what made them think people would reveal their passwords? Difficult conditions amid unemployment situation? Would you give away your Gmail credentials to let your employer dig into your emails, pictures, or whatever you have in there? :)
EFF attorney Kevin Bankston says (*)"I think its indefensibly invasive and likely illegal as a violation of the First Amendment rights of job applicants". To remind you of the First Amendment: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution
In the UK, bloggers are now obliged to reveal their names, as decided by the High Court. A blogger under a nickname NightJack (a detective constable Richard Horton in real life) had to close his blog where he used job materials and discussed colleagues and showed “no respect to the legal system or anybody working in it”(*).
I agree with the judge that “blogging is essentially a public rather than a private activity”, in fact, when I was young one good man warned me that nothing about Internet can be private, and life vividly demonstrates that. I’m not against court decision (I don’t know all the facts and I suppose it was reasonable), but it is a legal precedent and so can be judged the others.  
‘Nice’ tendency … It looks like governments try to minimize (or maybe regulate?) your right for privacy.
*Source: CNET
*Source: TIMESONLINE
 

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