Passwords please


George Orwell warned that Big Brother is watching us in his book 1984. Years later, it’s happening.

Companies and government agencies are asking applicants for Facebook login information so they can “look at the character of applicants,” Santa Ana Police Commander Bill Nimmo said. “Social media is important to get a feel, to protect themselves as a city.”

Is it legal to ask for information like this? Santa Ana City Attorney Joe Straka hesitates when asked if it is a legal gray area saying it “is only used within the background information,” but he is unsure of the process being used in private businesses.

Nimmo stresses that “police are held to a higher standard” and if something were to happen, “the city doesn’t want to be held liable for something that was on Facebook.”

What an employee does on their own time and what they do at work should be kept separate.

Applicants can’t present themselves in any way that they choose. Instead, employers are looking for red flags within comments written, pictures posted and statuses updated.

These policies will discourage an already cynical generation of future workers. Ethical or not, it is bad for businesses to be clicking around in someone else’s Facebook.

Employers seem to care less about candidates’ qualifications, and more about what they post on Facebook. It is not a fair system of hiring.

Maybe Google+ will finally catch on.

el Don Staff writer Shane Collins starring Facebook screen on the browser of an Apple computer screen.

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