BANGALORE: As privacy debates heat up across the world, Bangaloreans reveal the trend of employers asking job aspirants for their Facebook IDs and passwords has caught on here too. When Adil Pasha, 24, revealed at an advertising job interview that his main strength was creativity, his interviewers asked for his FB password to check his latest updates.
They rejected him, as he was going through a break-up and had put up song lyrics as his status message.
On the other hand, Sukanya Srinivasan, 19, got an internship chance at a leading IT firm solely based on her FB photo albums.
“A company recently rejected my application after looking at the number of people I’d blocked on my chat list. They thought I didn’t have good interpersonal skills. I might be a friendly, harmless flirt, but the company might think I could sexually harass women employees. If they see my photos at a party, they might think I’m an alcoholic,” said Kiran Giridhar (name changed), who has attended over 12 interviews in the last two months, where his social life mattered more.
Recently, Facebook chief privacy officer Erin Egan said they had seen a distressing increase in reports of employers seeking to gain access to people’s Facebook profiles or private information.
“The most alarming of these practices is the reported incidents of employers asking prospective or actual employees to reveal their passwords,” she wrote on the website’s privacy page.
The controversy is now being fought on moral and ethical grounds.
“This is a privacy infringement but there is no provision in the law (IT Act-2008) that prohibits employers from asking for personal information. This is happening with the willingness of potential candidates. If a person finds it unacceptable, he/she shouldn’t share the password. Background checks are common as some companies deal with sensitive information. So it’s not illegal, but intrusive. I think some power relationships can be abused if they cross the social networking barrier — like a boss-employee and teacher-student relationship. Corporate policy should prevent such things,” explained Sunil Abraham, executive director, Centre for Internet and Society.