Most people check Facebook religiously -- looking for the latest gossip, photos and friend requests. But what if your boss or prospective employer also wanted a peek -- or even worse -- your password?
"I wouldn't consider working for a company that would be that invasive," said Ryan Humke, one of those concerned about online privacy.
But Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vt.) said companies across the country are doing just that -- forcing job applicants to log onto Facebook and Twitter accounts during interviews and requiring social media passwords on job applications. "Turning over a password means that your whole account belongs to your employer," Welch said.
"If a prospective employer finds out you go to a mosque, finds out you had an abortion when you were younger, finds out that you have kids, maybe the employer is going to wonder what kind of employee is this going to be," said Allen Gilbert with the American Civil Liberties Union.
Personal information the ACLU said is typically off limits, but could surface if companies have unfettered access to private accounts.
"I teach my students that anything they put online is public access, so don't put anything inappropriate up there. That said, I'd prefer if my employer did not look at that stuff," said Sean Prentiss, a professor at Norwich University.
"I don't think many Vermont employers do it, but bottom line -- this is the type of thing that is the perfect remedy with legislation," Rep. Welch said.
Rep. Welch said his Password Protection Act prevents companies from asking to see data that is private, like photo albums shared only with friends and curbs fishing expeditions into employees' online lives.
"This stuff that somebody posts on Facebook should be considered personal information and should be treated the way a diary or personal letters would be treated," Allen Gilbert said.
But employment lawyer Stacey Cushner opposes the legislation. She believes companies should know who they're hiring and said as long as they outline privacy policies in employment handbooks they can check employees accounts. "It doesn't feel great for employee or a prospective employee but it can be within the bounds of what's acceptable under privacy statutes," she said.
Unless Welch's legislation becomes federal law, the practice is perfectly legal.
Saturday, May 18 2013 8:03 PM EDT2013-05-19 00:03:45 GMT
Senator Bernie Sanders is touring the state this weekend with a special guest. Sanders and the Danish Ambassabdor to the United States are hosting town hall meetings in Burlington, Brattleboro and Montpelier. TheMore >>
Sanders and the Danish Ambassabdor to the United States are hosting town hall meetings.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 7:56 PM EDT2013-05-18 23:56:03 GMT
Saturday marked a new beginning for Castleton State College students. "Were all gathered here, getting fired up, having a good time," explained Castleton graduate, David Carrier. The 500 graduates hadMore >>
It's graduation day for the class of 20-13 at Castleton State College. And just for the occasion, the college invited back an alumnus with a strong connection to the school.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 7:51 PM EDT2013-05-18 23:51:53 GMT
State police are looking for the person responsible for stealing a school bus and taking it for a joyride in northern Vermont. Troopers say the 2014-model bus belonging Newport City Elementary SchoolMore >>
Police say the school bus belonging to the Newport City Elementary School was taken for a joy ride Friday night.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 7:51 PM EDT2013-05-18 23:51:14 GMT
Young bikers were learning the rules of the road in South Burlington Saturday. Kids who brought their bikes to the Dorset St. Park received free checks for their brakes, chains, and tires. Helmets alsoMore >>
and much more... making sure kids are safe before they hit the roads this summer.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 7:49 PM EDT2013-05-18 23:49:26 GMT
On a sun-soaked Saturday, Karen Trayah and her dogs enjoyed the sights, sounds, and of course smells of a festival for fidos. "It's called Woofstock, however, this is our 1st year doing it here at theMore >>
Making sure our furry friends have a place to call home.More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 7:54 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:54:10 GMT
The door to room 118 at the Liberty Inn and Suites is gone-- busted by police during an early morning drug raid. They say tenant Julie Herron, 41, was selling heroin out her room. She was living thereMore >>
A South Burlington drug bust exposed new abuses of the state's homeless voucher program. A couple was arrested for selling heroin out of their motel room, and police say the state was footing the bill for their stay.More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 7:56 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:56:29 GMT
A public defender entered 34-year-old Anthony Wright's not guilty plea in the Chittenden County courthouse Friday morning. Police say a search of Wright's residence two days earlier revealed about 250More >>
A Burlington man denies drug charges after police say they stumbled upon his marijuana grow operation. It happened while authorities were investigating another alleged drug crime next door.More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 7:45 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:45:07 GMT
Prosecutors in a murder case said Thursday that backups at the Vermont Forensics Lab have slowed their case, and the defense said the delays are violating their client's right to a speedy trial. So, isMore >>
Prosecutors in a murder case said backups at the Vt. Forensics Lab slowed their case; the defense said the delays violate their client's right to a speedy trial. So, is that courtroom strategy or is there really a backlog? More >>