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Patriot Act Bypasses Facebook Privacy 562

Geoffreyerffoeg writes "An article from the National Association of Colleges and Employers contains yet another horror story about a prospective hire's Facebook being checked — with a different twist. The interviewee had enabled privacy on his profile, '[b]ut, during the interview, something he was not prepared for happened. The interviewer began asking specific questions about the content on his listing and the situation became very awkward and uncomfortable. The son had thought only those he allowed to access his profile would be able to do so. But, the interviewer explained that as a state agency, recruiters accessed his Facebook account under the auspices of the Patriot Act.' How can a 'state agency' use the Patriot Act to subpoena a Facebook profile?"
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Patriot Act Bypasses Facebook Privacy

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  • by heinousjay ( 683506 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @03:36PM (#15700472) Journal
    How can a 'state agency' use the Patriot Act to subpoena a Facebook profile?

    What kind of crappy 'Ask Slashdot' is this? They just do it.
    • by gd23ka ( 324741 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @05:33PM (#15701537) Homepage
      "Very well, Herr Klein so you've decided to apply for membership in the SS. I see you have a very good athletic record,
      your certificates of racial purity appear to be in order.. and you have served in the Reichswehr during the war, Herr
      Gefreiter. You're almost 2 meters and 10 centimeters tall, you have blue eyes and blonde hair and you have won multiple
      contests both military and private in marksmanship. I'm sure a carreer awaits you in the Schutzstaffet but there is a
      matter which still has us .. puzzled .. Tell me, Herr Klein, what do you do every wednesday night?"

      "Herr Standartenfuehrer, I go to a club where we listen and dance to music but I can assure you this has nothing to do
      with my dedication to our Fuehrer and the Reich."

      "Oh? But I am afraid it does, Herr Klein, I'm afraid it does. You listen to American music! You listen to music created
      by jews and enacted by blacks, isn't that so?? You seem to like that kind of music, eh? We had you followed! We saw you
      dance with a Fraulein and above all, did you know that Fraulein is also half jewish??! We followed you then to your appartment
      where you sneaked in with your "Fraulein" and had sex with her. Our investigator listened at your door and made a personal
      of what perversions you were living out with that "woman". You had sex with a half-jew and outside of marriage at that and
      believe me you're going to hear from the Staatsanwaltschaft (state prosecutor) for this."

      "What, Himmel Herrgott! You had me followed??! You spied on me??" You spied on me sex-life??!?

      "Quit acting so surprised Herr Klein. The SS lives up to high standards and we are legally bound by order of the
      Reichsfuehrer-SS Heinrich Himmler himself and by various laws enacted by the Reichstag to investigate the backgrounds
      of all our applicants. You Herr Klein are certainly not the kind of person we're looking for. If you want to make an issue
      of it, be my guest. If you want, you can use my phone to call the Gestapo.
  • If the job... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by CRCulver ( 715279 )
    If the job required a security clearance, he probably agreed to such invasive examination in applying.
    • Re:If the job... (Score:5, Informative)

      by toleraen ( 831634 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @03:43PM (#15700550)
      It's not likely they'd do that thorough of an investigation, unless the job required Top Secret (unlikely for an internship). Something tells me a bored manager was going through google (or some other web crawlers) caches of facebook profiles, since the article stated he had only very recently put a block on his site. There was likely a cache somewhere on the web. Also, it stated he knew someone in the office. Could have been possible that the boss required he (or the friend willingly did so) show him his facebook. /shrugs
    • Re:If the job... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by pete-classic ( 75983 ) <> on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @03:45PM (#15700570) Homepage Journal
      If he agreed to it why would they have to invoke the PATRIOT [sic] act.

      • Re:If the job... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Vo0k ( 760020 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @04:22PM (#15700945) Journal
        because that's a one-liner cut-off of any discussion.

        Why do you want my ID? PATRIOT ACT.
        Why do I have to spend night in jail? PATRIOT ACT.
        Why do I have to undergo full anal search? PATRIOT ACT.
        Why are you keeping me in Guantanamo for 4 years without right to a lawyer? PATRIOT ACT.
        Why did you kick my kitty and took $10 from my wallet? PATRIOT ACT.

        And if you're going to question it and disagree, they will invoke the PATRIOT ACT and lock you up in Guantanamo. Under charges of anti-american activity (undermining authority of the PATRIOT ACT) which is terrorism.
    • Re:If the job... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Irvu ( 248207 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @03:48PM (#15700610)
      But the use of "The Patriot Act" as a justification is still a bit Sketchy. If he had agreed to it then the interviewer should have said so. If however he had not agreed to it explicitly then what is the Patriot Act doing being used in that way. The stated purposes of the act are to deal with suspected terrorists and for the purposes of national security investigations not job interviews.

      If he is the subject of a national security investigation then what are they doing revealing it during an interview? If, however he is not then what the hell are they doing using the Patriot act for that? In theory (yes theory) that should be illegal although it would come as not surprise to me to see them abusing it.

      In either case, if the story is true, this raises really troubling issues. Does that mean any applicant to the DMV will have "The Patriot Act" invoked, what about private-sector jobs?

      • Re:If the job... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by andrewman327 ( 635952 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @04:20PM (#15700920) Homepage Journal
        I highly doubt that PATRIOT act allowed the prospective employer to do this. Government officials are well known for claiming power through the PATRIOT act even when the act has no such provision. For example, photographers are often told that they cannot photograph things because the PATRIOT act says so, even though a law office tells me there is no such clause.
    • Only probably? (Score:4, Informative)

      by jd ( 1658 ) <> on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @03:52PM (#15700668) Homepage Journal
      Have you ever seen the paperwork for a secret clearance? Yeesh! They want everything - and I mean everything - for the past 5 years. 7 if it's top secret. IIRC, the form not only asks about you, but also about your relatives, your friends, your bosses... They'll randomly track down and interview former neighbors. Those applications are thorough. Stupid but thorough. If you're dual-citizen, it can take two years plus for them to process the paperwork, they're that paranoid.

      So what would said paranoid individuals do, when confronted with a blocked personal site? Ignore it? Yeah, right. I don't agree with what they look for - it seems questionable as to whether it has any relevance to whether the individual can be trusted - but it's blindingly obvious they'd investigate obviously hidden data.

      For "confidential" clearances, the rules are different. There, a fingerprint check with the FBI and a routine background check seems to be sufficient. That can take a week or two, but it's nothing like as extreme.

      • Re:Only probably? (Score:3, Informative)

        If you're dual-citizen, it can take two years plus for them to process the paperwork, they're that paranoid.

        If you're a dual-citizen then you can pretty much forget about getting a secret clearance. DoD policy (as of about 2 years ago) states that dual-citizens (regardless of what other country they are a citizen of) will be denied clearances unless they give up their non-US citizenship.

    • Re:If the job... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by voice_of_all_reason ( 926702 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @03:56PM (#15700700)
      You can't "agree" to something like that without authorizing it on the ISP's end. Otherwise the following would be a reasonable course of action.

      Govmt: "AOL, this is the department of sanitation. Can we see Joe Smith's password-protected website?"

      AOL: "Woh, I dunno. That sounds kinda private"

      Govmt: "Nah nah, it's okay. He said it was all right."

      AOL: "Oh, in that case, here you go!"
    • No (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sterno ( 16320 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @04:10PM (#15700823) Homepage
      Facebook is a private company that, so far as I know, does not sell the personal information of the people who visit the site. If they sell their information, which isn't suggested in this article, then what I'm about to say is moot. Even for a security clearance, the investigation does not involve issuance of subpoenas or other extraordinary searching. The clearance involves interviewing the person, their friends and family, and thoroughly scouring public records. In some cases it might involve a polygraph test.

      What really disturbs me though is how the article just glazes over the fact that Patriot Act was being used to investigate an intern for a government job. They just go on about how you should be careful what information you put out there. That's not the issue. Here we have a situation where information is on a public service but is kept private and it has been obtained through the Patriot Act for purposes clearly not realted to a terrorism investigation.
  • by BlackCobra43 ( 596714 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @03:37PM (#15700490)
    I'm glad a good number of the so-called sunset provisions were recently extended indefinitly. I'm sure a lot of terrorists are plotting the next 9-11 over

    Yes, that was sarcasm.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @03:37PM (#15700491)
    After all, if he isn't a terrorist, he doesn't have anything to hide...... right?
    • by Kaenneth ( 82978 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @03:45PM (#15700572) Homepage Journal
      Except the furry diaper porn.

      I knew my roommate was into the furry scene (modified stuffed animals, lavicious fox desktop background, funcon attendance, furrymuck player...), but when I altavista'd (pre-google) our shared phone number, I found his personal ad on a diaper fetish site...

      There are some things you just don't want to know about the guy you share a kitchen with.
    • Perhaps he doesn't want people he doesn't know having access to his information...

      Perhaps he doesn't want his prospective employers (or people he doesn't know) seeing pictures of him drinking tequila and wearing a lampshade on his head.

      There are perfectly good reasons to hide information. The "the innocent have nothing to hide" argument is a slippery slope I don't like going down. It's this kind of argument that can be used to do the following...

      Police: "Open up. We want to make sure you're not doing any
      • by Rude Turnip ( 49495 ) <{valuation} {at} {}> on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @04:05PM (#15700780)
        "Police: "Open up. We want to make sure you're not doing anything illegal."
        Guy: "You can't come in without a search warrant."
        Police: "Why not? If you're innocent, you have nothing to hide!""

        No one ever includes the last line of this dialogue. Do I have to do everything?

        Guy: That's right, I have nothing to hide, so quit wasting my time, your time, my tax dollars and fuck off unless you have a warrant.
        • by voice_of_all_reason ( 926702 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @04:16PM (#15700880)
          You missed the part where they bash down the door and arrest you for "interfering with an investigation", start wailing on you, then throw in "resisting arrest" for good measure.
          • You missed the part where they [...] start wailing on you

            "Now see here, guy," said the voice on the loud hailer, "you're
            not dealing with any dumb two-bit trigger-pumping morons with low
            hairlines, little piggy eyes and no conversation, we're a couple
            of intelligent caring guys that you'd probably quite like if you
            met us socially! I don't go around gratuitously shooting people
            and then bragging about it afterwards in seedy space-rangers
            bars, like some cops I could mention! I go around shooting people

          • by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @05:36PM (#15701547) Journal
            Been there, done that. Have the arrest record to prove it, though I was found "not guilty" in a court of law. My lawyer said, because I was white, I couldn't sue. Had I been a minority, I could have sued for false arrest.

            Yes, it was that bad. During the arrest, I asked "what am I being arrested for", they said ... "Drunk in Public". Mind you, I was in a PRIVATE residence, and not intoxicated.

            So, I said to the arresting officer .. "I'm neither drunk, nor in public". And after that, I said NOTHING.

            The final charges were assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest. Now mind you, I am 6'5" and very much had an athletic build of 225 lbs, brown belt in Judo, so if I had "resisted" arrest, I would have seriously injured me, or them or both. In addition, it seems that resisting a false arrest is completely legal, and as the police officers described it, they were arresting me when the so-called assault occured, not before.

            Then, realizing their mistake, they said I threw a (can/bottle/cup) of beer on them. Notice that there are THREE answers given, which doesn't look good. Cup of beer is not assault, can and bottle might be, but the cops said there was a Keg at the party. The lying bastards couldn't get their story straight. I had cup, can and bottle at a kegger ... yeah right a three fisted drinker!

            The jury elected a foreman, and on the first vote found me "not guilty". And people wonder why I hate cops.

            The funniest thing, was during the selection of the jury, one of the prospective jurors was asked why they couldn't sit on the jury. She said she had dealings with one of the arresting officers and said "He's an asshole". Truly hillarious. All the other jurors heard it too. Priceless.
        • Police: "Why not? If you're innocent, you have nothing to hide!""

          No one ever includes the last line of this dialogue. Do I have to do everything?

          Guy: That's right, I have nothing to hide, so quit wasting my time, your time, my tax dollars and fuck off unless you have a warrant.

          Actually, i think this is more appropriate:
          Guy: I have lot of things to hide from you and from the rest of the world. All of it quite legal. That is why we have laws protecting us from nosy police without warrants.

          I reall

      • Perhaps he doesn't want his prospective employers (or people he doesn't know) seeing pictures of him drinking tequila and wearing a lampshade on his head.

        Then it is really simple: Don't publish it on the internet. It is not like they broke into his house and went through his photo albums, they simply accessed what he put up for the world to see. I for one do not see why anyone with half a brain would trust facebook's privacy controls. They can decide to turn them all off tomorrow and you could not do shit a
        • Yes, but what legal agreements are in place between facebook and it's users? (I personally do not know, don't use facebook, if someone knows buzz in anytime). One should be able to trust facebook's privacy controls since it states that they are a licensee of the TRUSTe [] organization. The service provided is a supposedly private place to collaborate with classmates on a social level, where privacy is restricted by the user. It seems pretty clear to me, based on facebook's own policies, that a user should ha
          • by finkployd ( 12902 ) * on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @04:53PM (#15701218) Homepage
            By posting Member Content to any part of the Web site, you automatically grant, and you represent and warrant that you have the right to grant, to the Company an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, perform, display, reformat, translate, excerpt (in whole or in part) and distribute such information and content and to prepare derivative works of, or incorporate into other works, such information and content, and to grant and authorize sublicenses of the foregoing.

            That is in the TOS for facebook. In short, anything you put on their is theirs, and they can do whatever they damn well feel like with it.

        • by tinkerghost ( 944862 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @04:28PM (#15701001) Homepage
          If it's declared private, and protected as private under relevant TOS & municiple code, it shouldn't matter if it's on the internet or not. Military sites are on the internet, and even though some are open - no password - going into them to look for things is criminal computer tresspass - remember they are extraditing the UK UFO nutjob over exactly that.
          I have a private web server up - it's technically part of the internet. If you come in on an IP address I havn't approved you get bounced to the please go away page. Are you telling me that if the govt wants to, they have every right to come in & check the data on the server just 'because it's connected to the internet.'?
          As for your statement that "they simply accessed what he put up for the world to see" - declaring it private is an act which explicitly states that he did not "put it up for the world to see"
          I agree that if this is an actual occurance, then the use of the PATRIOT ACT for things as trivial as a job interview are a fullfillment of the worst fears people had about it at the time it was originally passed.
  • by gasmonso ( 929871 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @03:38PM (#15700506) Homepage

    1. Never use your real name on the Net.

    2. Never disclose any information under your profile especially if you violated rule 1.

    3. Never violate rule 1 or rule 2. []
  • by voice_of_all_reason ( 926702 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @03:40PM (#15700519)
    Even granting the law allows "state agencies" to perform a search of private property (which a website's content is, even if its on the ISP's server) -- that they don't have to disclose the act to said person.

    There was not even reasonable cause -- much less probable cause -- of terrorism. Or any crime.
  • abuse od power (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mikesum ( 840054 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @03:40PM (#15700521)
    If a law is written in such away that it can be abused, it will be abused.
  • Lessons learned: (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mehtajr ( 718558 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @03:41PM (#15700529)
    Lesson 1. You don't want people to know things about you? Don't put it on the internet. Lesson 2: Don't entrust private data to a company that can change its privacy policies whenever it damn well pleases, or that voluntarily hands things over to state agencies when requested.
  • slashcircle (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gEvil (beta) ( 945888 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @03:41PM (#15700534)
    Wow, this looks like an answer to the question that was posed here. []
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @03:42PM (#15700548)
    How can anyone comment on this article intelligently? No details are given, did he sign a privacy waiver (as you do with many classified gov't jobs), what was the agency? Possibly the recruiter was giving him a BS-line about the patriot act. It's still not a routine enough matter the patriot act would be invoked to investigate some low-level intern....
  • "yet another" (Score:5, Informative)

    by Syberghost ( 10557 ) <syberghost&syberghost,com> on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @03:43PM (#15700551) Homepage
    Interesting wording, since it leaves out the fact that the last one turned out to be a hoax...
  • Many security clearences require you to take a polygraph and ask you really uncomfortable questions to make sure you can't be blackmailed. Atleast the stuff they had was stuff voluntarily put on facebook anyway.
  • Subpoena? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geminidomino ( 614729 ) * on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @03:45PM (#15700574) Journal
    Who said anything about a subpoena? TFA certainly doesn't.

    Shit, they probably didn't use the "PATRIOT act". My money is on the probability that they simply SAID the words "PATRIOT act" and facebook folded up like an origami swan.
  • First off, I really do hate the Patriot Act, and I don't think Facebook should have to let the interviewers. That said, I think it's unwise to post *anything* to *any website*, private or not, that you don't want a potential employer to see.
  • Errr... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Otter ( 3800 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @03:45PM (#15700582) Journal
    How can a 'state agency' use the Patriot Act to subpoena a Facebook profile?

    Perhaps a more useful way of investigating this question would be to ask whether there's a single verifiable fact that could be found regarding this story of an unnamed student, an unnamed interviewer and an unnamed agency?

  • Tacky (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hey ( 83763 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @03:47PM (#15700605) Journal
    Its really tacky of the employeer. Did they ask: "I see here you like heavy metal music, are you in league with the devil?". I mean, jeeze, its mostly private time stuff.
  • by geddes ( 533463 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @03:48PM (#15700611)
    From The Facebook Privacy Policy []
    We may be required to disclose user information pursuant to lawful requests, such as subpoenas or court orders, or in compliance with applicable laws. We do not reveal information until we have a good faith belief that an information request by law enforcement or private litigants meets applicable legal standards. Additionally, we may share account or other information when we believe it is necessary to comply with law, to protect our interests or property, to prevent fraud or other illegal activity perpetrated through the Facebook service or using the Facebook name, or to prevent imminent bodily harm. This may include sharing information with other companies, lawyers, agents or government agencies.
    On the one hand, it is easy to say faceboook was just obeying the law and it is the patriot act that is flawed. On the other hand, facebook seems to have noo qualms about this sort of stuff.

    There are Conspiracy Theories [] claiming that Facebook's initial funding was from DOD connected venture capital, and that it is a remenant of Total Information Awareness.

    Facebook links to eTrust from their privacy policy. Would it be effective if all of slashdot lodged complaints using the eTrust form? []

  • by fudgefactor7 ( 581449 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @03:50PM (#15700633)
    Any law can be used for ill purposes; and the PATRIOT Act is no different, it matters not if the law is good or bad. But with the PATRIOT Act, the law is as those who wield it wish it to be, a nebulous thing without restraint--the essence of bad legislation; yet it became law because nobody in Congress read the proposed legislation prior to the vote to approve--there simply wasn't time to do so. Thus we have a law that is a chameleon: all things to everyone. It is both weapon and armor, and it needs to be repealed.
    • yet it became law because nobody in Congress read the proposed legislation prior to the vote to approve--there simply wasn't time to do so

      What was the excuse for the renewal of the Patriot Act in March of this year? Do members of congress need longer than four and a half years to read it?
  • by Vokkyt ( 739289 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @03:50PM (#15700635)
    Having worked in a Career Development Office (read: job placement), I can recall telling dozens of students on my campus to keep their facebook exploits as a minimum, simply because there are so many people trying to get a look at their facebook. Facebook causes a lot of problems because of the things that are exchanged behind the wall of privacy that Facebook has, and companies are wary of it. On top of that, they are paranoid about who they are hiring and have trouble dis-associating a person's professional life from their personal life, and often times use things such as facebook as a sort of pre-judgement.

    What this article tells me is that the paranoia of some employers has reached a new level of ape-shit. The fact that more time was spent during the interview discussing facets of his Facebook profile instead of interviewing him for the internship he applied for is a bit appalling. Imagine some future ramifications of agencies being able to plug Facebook; homosexuals being screened before the interview process even takes place, racial profiling, any of those things that employers simply are not supposed to do. While I agree that people need to be careful about what they put out online, it does strike me as a big no-no that we have employers actively seeking out the personal lives of prospective employees before they've had a chance to see what the employee has to offer to the company.
  • curious (Score:4, Interesting)

    by argoff ( 142580 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @03:55PM (#15700693)
    That got me thinking Recently I saw a job posting on one of the major boards for a well known anon service, and at the end of the posting it said "security clearence required".

    Now, unless they're doing some kind of business with the government, or spying on the people - why would they require a security clearence?

  • Good! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Just Some Guy ( 3352 ) <> on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @03:56PM (#15700698) Homepage Journal
    Any job where the government is likely to audit your life before you're hired is the sort of job that demands a certain level of personal discretion. Publishing incriminating information about yourself online sort of disqualifies you for such jobs in the first place.

    Know why the government won't give you a security clearance if you have bad credit or unsavory habits? Because it makes you vulnerable to blackmail. If their screening process doesn't identify people that have made themselves extortable ("'lose' your keys this weekend or I tell your dad about that 'experimental weekend' you posted about on MySpace") then they wouldn't be doing their jobs.

    In short, if you must keep secrets about yourself, don't publish them online and still expect to get the sort of jobs that frown on them. This isn't rocket science.

    • I keep hearing the "well, they're vulnerable to blackmail" excuse, and the more I hear it, the more it sounds like just a crap excuse to discriminate against some people. It's the same bigotry and idiocy, only with a better sounding excuse than the previous "they're an abhomination in the eyes of God!" excuse.

      How _do_ you blackmail someone with info they've made _public_? No, seriously. Let's say I were to write on my home page, Facebook profile, MySpace, etc, "I'm gay and into BDSM". I'm not into either, b
  • by gargletheape ( 894880 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @03:57PM (#15700703)

    1. It doesn't say WHICH state agency, which after all makes a significant difference.

    2. Nor is there any sort of sourcing, just some sort of vague (and short!) mumblings about some unidentified student and what he told his mother his interviewer told him.

    3. The bulk of the article is even worse, posing "ethical" questions about whether employers should look at publicly available information about a candidate. The way I see it, if you go around posting pictures to the web of you mooning cop-cars from your last drunk drive across the country, you deserve what you get. There almost certainly isn't a real legal question, at any rate.

  • by finkployd ( 12902 ) * on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @04:01PM (#15700739) Homepage
    How can a 'state agency' use the Patriot Act to subpoena a Facebook profile?"

    Ummmm, like this:

    State Agency: Facebook, under powers of the patriot act, we request that you give us access to your site. Failure to do so will be considered obstruction of justice and people will go to jail.

    Facebook: No prob

    Seriously, who in their right mind is going to stand up and be the test case for government powers this day and age, especially over something this stupid. Even if you win you will be labeled a terrorist sympathizer, unpatriotic, and have mounds of legal and financial problems. Not just the company, you personally.

    And I'm sure there will be some responses of "vigilance is the price of liberty" and "we must stand up against this" and all that jazz, but YOU aren't putting your life, reputation, livelihood, and (if applicable) supported family on the line. Whining that other people don't do so for you is just cowardly in the extreme.

    if-you-don't-want-it-published dept.

    Boy is the the truth. Think people. Have an interview coming up? Why not delete the pictures you posted online of yourself doing bong hits? Don't blame facebook or even the patriot act for what is clearly your own stupidity. Why trust the access control mechanisms of facebook when most of corporate America cannot control access to financial data and the government cannot control access to classified information. What makes you think that tomorrow facebook will not say "screw private controls, we are opening up the whole thing for the world"? What are you going to do, demand your money back?

  • by MeauxToo ( 644228 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @04:04PM (#15700763)

    (Warning karma killing rant coming ... damn whipper snappers.)

    .. from the cold, hard world. If you want to keep something private, keep it to yourself. The moment that you entrust private information that is not protected under the law to a 3rd party is the moment when you should expect it to see the light of day at some point. I am not speaking from a legal perspective, but from a practical perspective. You have friends with blogs? Facebook accounts? Mouths? How long until they open their big mouthes -- they certainly some mightly loud megaphones.

    Patriot Act or not, marked private or not -- saying something on Facebook, MySpace, or their ilk is akin to a billboard in the middle of the town square. Kids today think that they can post ellicit, embarressing, or immature activities on the Internet, mark the information as private, and, magically, no one they don't want to know will ever find out. Learn some discretion, and keep matters to yourself.

    In short, quite your whining and develop some common sense.

    • Right.

      I'm assuming the facebook servers are on private property and as such this would represent a search/siezure without either probable or just cause and without a search warrant regardless. The BFD is that this sort of thing is supposed to be protected against by law.
  • by rewt66 ( 738525 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @04:28PM (#15700994)
    The DMCA!

    Yes, that's right, our other poster boy of bad legislation, the DMCA, to the rescue! See, bypassing the lock constitutes circumventing an access control...
  • by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @04:31PM (#15701029)
    FaceBook Profile

    Name: John Smith
    Favorite Hobby: Stealing Office Supplies to sell on eBay.

    (And don't tell me there isn't someone out there dumb enough to post exactly this.)

  • by autophile ( 640621 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @04:52PM (#15701208)
    This is probably the sanest thing about the article:

    Rogers recommends that recruiters and employers restrict themselves to finding out what's necessary to determine if the candidate can perform the job.

    I mean, really. Seeking employment isn't like running for office.

    (sigh) Pearls before swine.


  • Darwin (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 4solarisinfo ( 941037 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @04:53PM (#15701213)
    My roommate recently started a blog, and belongs to several of the social networking sites. When he ask me why I didn't join him, I simply explained that thought history we've always had the ability to list all our friends and thoughts in a diary and leave it on our front porch for anyone to read, but nobody ever wanted to.

    Just because we can doesn't mean we should...

    Why would anyone put things on the internet (at any security level) that could prevent them from getting a job? Sounds Darwinian to me, if you're too dumb to protect your private life, you're probably related to the person taking home a laptop with 25,000 social security numbers on it, so good riddance!
  • missing the point (Score:5, Insightful)

    by moosesocks ( 264553 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @05:00PM (#15701263) Homepage
    I'm sorry, but this is a little bit overreaching, considering that he had marked his profile as being private.

    To create an analogy:
    If he had a public profile, it would have been like the employer sent out a PI to follow him to the grocery store every time he purchased groceries. Groceries are in no way connected to work, but hey, he could be building a bomb out of household cleaning products. It's creepy, but is most likely within the realm of the law --- and there's nothing anyone can do to prevent this sort of thing.

    If his profile was private, it would have been like the detective following him into the grocery store, recording exactly what he purchased, taking down the number of the credit card he used to pay, and following him home to see how he used each item he purchased, and then following him on a date with his girlfriend. Whoa there! That's a definite unwarranted invasion of privacy!

    The line has to be drawn between what goes on in the business world, and in the personal world. Even if you're perfectly legit, certain personal information on your profile could affect the hiring decision for the wrong reasons. In the job application process, I don't specify my religion, political affiliations, sexual orientation, musical tastes, etc. because none of these things have anything to do with my ability to work. However, on facebook, I provide all of this information voluntarily to the people I consider to be my "friends" so that I can form new relationships and network with others. From a logical standpoint, there is no reason why I should not share this information, as it has absolutely no bearing on my ability to do my job.

    However, it is a well-known fact that subliminal subconscious biases occur in virtually all people. Perhaps if the employer noticed that I listed Greatful Dead and Phish as my favorite bands, he would subconsciously draw the correlation that I could be a stoner, and am thus less worthy to be hired. Logically speaking, itis a completely ludicrious assumption to base a hiring decision bsaed upon musical tastes, but the fact is that we make these sort of snap-judgements every day without realizing it, and such a judgement might be the impetus to choose between two equally-qualified applicants.

    I guess what it boils down to is that these sort of invasions of privacy give employers access to completely extraneous information, that although innocuous, will unfairly affect that person's chances of being hired.
  • by qazwart ( 261667 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @05:14PM (#15701381) Homepage
    I looked at the link. It is on Louisiana State University - Shreveport. The article says it came from "NACE Spotlight Online", but NASE Spotlight Online had no reference to the article, and the reference on LSUS's site had no reference to a webpage or date of publication.

    I've found three other copies of this story, all with the same generic NACE Spotlight Online reference.

    The article is of an unnamed individual interviewing at an unnamed company located in an unnamed town. It references a well known career site, but with no context about where this article was located or when it was published.

    Hear that sound? That's the sound of an URBAN LEGEND!
  • by porkface ( 562081 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @05:19PM (#15701418) Journal
    Add to this the recent relevations that the Pentagon still considers homosexuality a mental disorder more than 25 years after mainstream Psycology determined that's false.

    And if the Patriot Act was used in leiu of just cause to issue a warrant or to snoop without a warrant in this case, I would consider it a complete breach of our government's entire foundation.

"If the code and the comments disagree, then both are probably wrong." -- Norm Schryer