Facebook to lobby against employers requiring passwords

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Egan pledged that the social-media site would lobby lawmakers to prevent employers from requiring passwords.

"We’ll take action to protect the privacy and security of our users, whether by engaging policymakers or, where appropriate, by initiating legal action, including by shutting down applications that abuse their privileges," Egan said.

Egan also warned that employers were opening themselves up to unforeseen liabilities in requesting the password, noting that profiles could include information showing that an applicant is a member of a protected group or had engaged in criminal activity.

"We don’t think employers should be asking prospective employees to provide their passwords because we don’t think it’s right the thing to do. But it also may cause problems for the employers that they are not anticipating," Egan said.

Many of Egan's concerns echoed those of the American Civil Liberties Union, which blasted the practice of requiring passwords in a blog post earlier this week.

"People are entitled to their private lives," said ACLU attorney Catherine Crump. "You’d be appalled if your employer insisted on opening up your postal mail to see if there was anything of interest inside. It’s equally out of bounds for an employer to go on a fishing expedition through a person’s private social media account."

Facebook has become an increasingly prominent player in technology politics as the company has grown, spending $1.35 million on lobbying efforts last year.