Maryland prison guard says employer requested Facebook password

11:29 AM, Feb 24, 2011   |    comments
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(NBC) -- A Maryland man is speaking out against an unusual request from his employer.

He says he was getting re-certified for a job with the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Corrections when the interviewer demanded his Facebook password and full access to his account.

Robert Collins says it's an invasion of privacy.

After taking a leave of absence as an employee of the Maryland Department of Corrections when his mother died in 2009, Collins applied for a job at another facility.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland sent a letter to the Department of Corrections regarding the blanket requirement that applicants provide their social medial account user names and personal passwords.

The letter says neither Mr. Collins nor his Facebook friends deserve to have government snooping about their private electronic communications.

The Department of Corrections issued a statement saying an applicant is asked if they are active users of social media.

If so the department only asks if an applicant would provide this information...it is done so voluntarily.

Officer Collins didn't feel it was voluntary in his case.

"He logged into my account, he logged into my account and went through my pages, my posts, my messages, all my pictures, things like that," Collins said.

Collins is going back to work for the Corrections Department, but he says he would like it to rescind its policy of asking candidates for personal social media login information.

The Department of Corrections now says it is suspending the process of asking for social media information for 45 days to review the procedure and make sure it is being used consistently and appropriately.

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