Bozeman, Mont. has stopped its controversial practice of asking city job applicants to share their login/password to social networking and other Web sites as part of HR background checks.
This is smart, because the practice is on sketchy privacy grounds and can easily lead to identity theft. One of the basic Internet security tips given since computers and Web sites first had passwords is never share your password.
The city’s release:
The City of Bozeman believes we have a responsibility to ensure candidates hired for positions of public trust are subject to a thorough background check. The extent of our request for a
candidate’s password, user name, or other internet information appears to have exceeded that which is acceptable to our community. We appreciate the concern many citizens have expressed
regarding this practice and apologise for the negative impact this issue is having on the City of Bozeman.
Effective at 12:00 p.m. today, Friday June 19, 2009, the City of Bozeman permanently ceased the practice of requesting candidates selected for City positions under a provisional job offer to provide user names and passwords for the candidate’s internet sites.
In addition, until further notice, the City will suspend its practice of reviewing candidate’s password protected internet information until the City conducts a more comprehensive evaluation of the practice.
Since the initial media inquiries, the City of Bozeman has been reviewing the practice of requesting user names and passwords to access a candidate’s internet sites. Today’s decision to
terminate the use of passwords and usernames in this process reflects the City’s commitment to reconsider this practice. In addition, today’s decision to suspend the practice of inquiring into a candidate’s password protected internet sites demonstrates a continued commitment to ensure the City’s hiring practices comply with state and federal law and protect the safety of Bozeman residents.
Chris A. Kukulski
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