Fresh Incursions Into Privacy

social-networksYears ago I heard a story about someone on a job interview was asked by the hiring manager for the user ID and password to their Facebook account.  My response, then and now, was “sure – but you first.”  The idea being if you want to know that much about my personal life, then I want to know the same about you.  Maybe you’re a jerk.  Just maybe I have no interest in working for you!

Of course no good idea goes undeveloped, and I recently read on Naked Security about a company called The Social Index that offers to search and analyze a prospective employee’s social profile.  They describe their service this way:

Almost everyone has a digital footprint. Understanding an individual’s reputation, level of influence and their network is more complicated.

The Social Index is a unique online tool that can accurately aggregate and analyse a candidate’s digital footprint to determine their personal brand, their reach and ‘fit’ – their alignment to a particular company’s brand, its culture and values and present it to you in an easy-to-read infographic report.

The insights can be used to have deeper conversations, which in turn allows for more decisive hiring decisions and positive employment outcomes.

Now for the record, my current employer found me on LinkedIn, and prior to that I was offered am 8-week gig as an instructor, a speaking engagement, and a training engagement through LinkedIn.  I was not looking for these opportunities, they found me.  So obviously at some level I am an active participant on the social networks.  I am pretty active on LinkedIn.  But I am not comfortable with a prospective employer getting into my Facebook history and learning a bunch of things about me that are personal and private, at least to the extent that I get to choose who I shared the information with.

It seems we are rapidly becoming a surveillance society, what with video camera on every corner, and the NSA hoovering up all our electronic communications.  This just seems like a bit too much of an intrusion.  And once they have that information, what’s to say it doesn’t fall into the hands of an employee who may be part of an identity theft ring, or just some sort of sick stalker?

So I am still opposed.  What’s your opinion?  Are you willing to let your next boss into your Facebook account?  Vine, Instagram, SnapChat, Twitter?  Where do you draw the line?


About the Author:

Cybersecurity guru to business owners in the St Paul, Minneapolis, and western Wisconsin area. Computer security and hacking have been a passion of mine since I entered the computer and networking business in 2000. In 2013 I completed a course of study and certification exam to become a Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH). In 2016 I was certified as a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). As Cybersecurity Analyst at The WyzCo Group, I help our clients experience high levels of computer security, network security, and web site security. In addition to consulting on security products and services, we also conduct security audits, vulnerability assessments and full penetration tests. We also provide Cybersecurity Awareness Training for clients and their employees. We also work with companies and organizations that need to certify compliance with regulations such as PCI-DSS (credit card processing), HIPAA/HITECH (medical records), and GLBA. The views expressed on this Web site are mine alone and do not necessarily represent the views of my employer.

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