US senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) have both requested that Attorney General Eric Holder investigate claims that some employers have started asking job applicants for their Facebook login details. Specifically, the senators want to know if this practice would violate the Stored Communications Act (SCA) or the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) — the SCA gives fourth amendment-type protection to online communications, while the CFAA prevents intentional access to information stored on a computer without authorization. Blumenthal appears particularly concerned about this issue: only a few days ago, he started drafting a bill that would prohibit such requests. Schumer and Blumenthal also said they were drafting letters asking the Department of Justice and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to launch full investigations.
Schumer and Blumenthal aren't the only ones concerned with this potential privacy invasions — Maryland and Illinois are both reportedly considering bills that would prohibit potential employers from asking for Facebook credentials, and senator Leland Yee (D-CA) also plan to introduce a bill to ban this practice. This story is only a few days old, but the government has already been moved to action — we'll see how quickly laws that ban this practice are able to be put into effect.
Senator Schumer's full statement to the Associated Press:
In an age where more and more of our personal information — and our private social interactions — are online, it is vital that all individuals be allowed to determine for themselves what personal information they want to make public and protect personal information from their would-be employers. This is especially important during the job-seeking process, when all the power is on one side of the fence