Login requests infringe on privacy

Re: “Job seekers asked to provide Facebook logins” Trail Times Mar. 21.

Re: “Job seekers asked to provide Facebook logins” Trail Times Mar. 21.

As Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia, I am very concerned about employers requesting social media passwords from job seekers.

My office recently investigated such a case, when a B.C. political party asked its leadership candidates to provide their social media passwords as part of the screening process. Our investigation found that this practice contravened B.C. privacy law – organizations can only collect personal information that a reasonable person would consider appropriate in the circumstances.

There are lessons to be learned here: employers must think very carefully about the privacy implications of asking job candidates for social media passwords.

These requests can reveal sensitive personal information such as political beliefs, sexual orientation, as well as personal information about the candidate’s friends and their activities. This is information the prospective employer has no right to know.

My office will continue to educate the public about their privacy rights, and provide tools and practical guidance to help public and private sector organizations comply with the law.

Elizabeth Denham

Information and Privacy Commissioner for B.C.