Bozeman demands Internet passwords of job applicants

Bozeman demands Internet passwords
By MATT GOURAS Associated Press

HELENA – Job applicants with the city of Bozeman are finding that those private Internet discussions and pictures may not be so private after all.

The city is asking job seekers for the user names – and passwords – to Internet social networking or Web groups they belong to. The decision is sparking an outcry from those who say the policy goes way too far.

“I liken it to them saying they want to look at your love letters and your family photos,” said Amy Cannata, with the American Civil Liberties Union of Montana. “I think this policy certainly crosses the privacy line.”


Asking for passwords is over the line,” Wiseman said. “I think that this notion opens up a whole new line of debate on privacy.”

The intense pressure generated in just a couple of days is hitting the city hard.

Bozeman City Attorney Greg Sullivan told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Thursday that the city may look at changing the policy so it could view an applicant’s social networking sites without asking for login information. One option would be to have an applicant add the city as a “friend” on such sites as Facebook.


Friend? Hah! Stalking peeping tom is more like it!

Why don’t they require that all applicants turn in their diaries, medical history and dating history while they are at it?

Reminds me of Honors English Comp my freshman year at the University of Montana.

Day one of class the Prof. asked the 20 of us to answer simple “get to know you questions.” He hated every thing about me that he learned including:
*being a native Montanan
*being from Anaconda
*having a job — with extra despise for my job being off campus and in a casino
*having a car
*the music I like
and probably more that I don’t remember now…

We had private meetings with him 3 times during the semester — two midterm and one final. At the first he informed me he disliked me intensely (exact words). I told him the feeling was mutual but that I expected his personal feelings to not be reflected in my grade.

His MO was to introduce a writing assignment on Monday or Wednesday which was due on Friday. He’d hand out a couple of the papers from students with names omitted on Monday for the class to critique. Nothing was ever graded.

Later in the semester, just before our second midterm meeting, he gave us the assignment to pretend we were applying for our first professional post-graduation position. The prospective employer, in this imaginary scenario, had asked us to write a story, relate a life event, etc — something that would allow the prospective employer more insight into us. However, it could not be a vanilla biography.

Well, having learned not to reveal anything personal to him and finding such an imaginary job application requirement incredibly intrusive, I turned in a refusal. It was a lengthy refusal citing law, principals, privacy, etc. It included a warning to the prospective employer that if my refusal was held against me I would seek legal remedy.

On Monday he walked around the classroom slamming copies of my paper (name omitted but everyone knew who it belonged to anyway) on everyone’s desk then asked the class if the student that turned it in had completed the assignment or should fail the class. 19 of 20 students thought the student had completed the assignment. It was not a biography and definitely gave insight into the applicant.

The following week we had the second midterm private meeting. When I walked into his office I was struck in the face with a balled up piece of paper. He had thrown it at me. He said “You gave me the bird in front of the entire class!” I responded that I had not — I had turned in a paper directly to him. If it was “giving him the bird” it was private between me and him — he was the one that handed it out to the class and took it public. That was a short meeting.

I never thought I’d see the day when such intrusive requests would actually be made by a city in its job application! I thought my professor was more than a bit loopy. Well, I guess he’s keeping company with the City of Bozeman these days.

(PS – Only our final, which was a research paper, was graded. The grade for that paper was our semester grade. I got an A)

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