Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Employers not to Snoop over Facebook Data

German government is trying to push a law that will prevent employers to check their prospective employees' Facebook data. The draft presented by Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere is a lame -still positive, though, attempt to address surmounting problems created by social networks:

It will be illegal to become a Facebook friend with an applicant in order to check out private details as some people seem to be indiscriminate about whom they accept as a friend. If an employer turns down an application based on the Facebook postings, a rejected job applicant could take the company to court and claim damages.

The new law also aims to limit video surveillance in the workplace like lavatories and locker rooms after a public outrage when it was discovered that some corporations have been checking on employee e-mails and filming sales clerks during coffee breaks. However, de Maiziere continues,

Employers will still be allowed to run a search on the web on their applicants. Anything out in public is fair game, as are postings on networks specifically created for business contacts, such as LinkedIn.

My! Orwell would be proud, very very proud. Let us take stock of what we have so far. There are employers out there that:
  • place video feeds in bathrooms and locker rooms and other places (left to your imagination)
  • befriend current and prospective employees in various networks to gather intel
  • read private e-mails
  • film us during coffee breaks
  • run searches on us to find anything fishy
Do you have a company phone? You really shouldn't, really!

Oh, this also sums up why businesses crash so easily. Apparently the executives are too busy entertaining themselves with workers' data and they have no time left to develop strategy. Focus on people a business guru once said, but I can not remember who.

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