Uhh.. asking employees for their Facebook username and password?

This falls in the category of something that someone did in HR, where you just shake your head and wonder.
The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) asked an employee for his facebook username and password before reinstating him from his leave. While they say the ask was purely voluntary, this just makes you shudder. While there may be some speculative interesting reasons that shouldn’t make it past the water cooler, there are some very real concerns that should stop the idea from ever getting traction:
1. Security / Privacy : Why would an organization receive an employees username and password to a personal online presence. I am sure that information was stored in a manner that would hold up to any of the security standards the states have passed.
2. Liability around employer access: A situation around access by the employer is definitely a problem now that social media sites logins are being used as OpenID’s to other sites. So the employee not only gives you the keys to their facebook, but a lot of other sites too (e.g. financial, medical, email)
3. Potential discrimination claims: There are absolutely things somebody could learn via facebook that could later be used as a discrimination lawsuit.
4. Obviously the PR damage around doing such an outlandish thing.
If you read the article you will see that it took them 45 days to decide to stop asking for information.

(Source: Here’s the memo on Facebook – again «)

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