Facebook Privacy Controversy – Employers Asking Job Applicants for Facebook Logins

Facebook privacy - employers asking for Facebook passwordsBeen looking for a job? Then you know it’s not easy out there, even though there are more online job resources than ever to help you, like the Careers section of My.EarthLink.net.

One more recent complication to the job search? Some employers have started asking job applicants for their Facebook usernames and passwords so they can log in and snoop around. Really.

The ACLU denounced this practice as “an invasion of privacy,” saying it is “out of bounds” to look through a person’s private social media accounts.

Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer Erin Egan issued a strongly worded denouncement, calling this an “alarming” practice that “might jeopardize the security of your account or violate the privacy of your friends.” She also reminded users that “it is it a violation of Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities to share or solicit a Facebook password.”

On the legal and legislative fronts, Senators Charles Schumer of New York and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut have called for investigations by the U.S. Justice Department and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and said they are writing a bill to fill in any privacy gaps in existing laws.

In the U.S. House of Representatives, Democratic Congressman Ed Perlmutter already proposed a Facebook user protection amendment, but it was voted down yesterday 236 to 184, mostly on party lines (only one Republican voted for it, only two Democrats voted against it).

EarthLink reminds all of our members that sharing online passwords compromises your privacy and is a great security risk. Our members are required to take full responsibility for keeping their EarthLink passwords confidential and reporting any unauthorized use of your account information.

Expect more news about the investigations into this issue and additional attempts at national or state legislation to prevent employers from asking job applicants for personal and private social network logins.

Working From Home: Top Tips To Help You Get the Job Done – Part 2

Benefits of working from home

With telecommuting and home office work on the rise, we posted last week about the top 5 things you’ll need to work from home effectively. As we promised, here are the next 5:

6. Ergonomic Home Office Setup

In addition to getting a comfortable, adjustable chair, you’ll want to make sure you have everything else set up right to minimize discomfort and maximize productivity. Learn about ergonomic mice and keyboards, how to eliminate eye strain and monitor glare, and get pain-free typing tips and laptop advice in this

CNet feature on how to build an ergonomic home office.

7. Computer Security: You should already be using an antivirus security program to protect your computer, but security is even more important when you have important work-related information on your PC. There are many good choices in this area. EarthLink members can download our all-in-one security suite called Protection Control Center for free. Or sign up for Norton 360 all-in-one security with a free 30-day trial.

8. Computer Backup: Hard drives die (mine did two years ago), computers can be stolen (mine was last year) or damaged (just waiting…). So, you have to back them up to safeguard all your important information. A local backup disc is better than no backup in case your computer dies, but remote backup is much more secure. After all, if your computer is stolen or damaged in a fire or flood, your backup disc may also be stolen or damaged. EarthLink Online Backup offers automatic, secure backup of multiple computers and other devices; you can also use it to share files with colleagues when you work remotely.

9. Easy Access to Your Files: Google Docs is a free service that allows you to create all kinds of office docs (word documents, spreadsheets, presentations, etc.) online and to store them online for easy access from any online computer. You can also import docs created offline (such as with Microsoft Word). Another popular choice (and a favorite of mine) is Dropbox. Download Dropbox (free for Windows, Mac, Linux & Mobile) and you can create a folder on your computer at work, your computer at home, even your iPad, iPhone or Android device. Any file you save in one folder is automatically synced with the other remote folders It’s a seamless and simple way to have access to all the stuff you’re working on from any computer or device.

10. Instant Messaging/Chat: Make sure you’re set up with an instant messenger/chat program that works with what your coworkers are using. That may be Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, AIM, Google Talk or another service. Probably your best choices are the lesser-known Trillian (Win, Mac, Mobile), Digsby (Win, Mac, Linux), or Pidgin (Win, Linux) because they are “universal” IM clients that are designed to let you connect to friends and coworkers who use many different chat services.

Read last week’s top 5 working from home tips here.

Good luck with your home office. And let us know what’s working for you in the Comments section.