News & Resources

Corrections officer denies employer access to Facebook page

Feb 23, 2011 Matt Roesly

A Maryland corrections officer denied his employer the right to view his Facebook page as part of the department's background screening process, USA Today reports. According to the paper, Robert Collins was asked by the Maryland Department of Corrections to supply his Facebook password so the department could view his personal history on his social media page. While the case sounds like personal infringement, the paper reports that it is policy of the Maryland DOC to obtain the social media usernames and passwords as part of its background screening policy. Though the DOC has that policy on the books, the Maryland chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union says the department is exerting unnecessary authority. "While the ACLU appreciates the DOC's need to ensure that corrections applicants and employees are not engaged in illegal activities, the demand for an officer's personal Facebook password simply goes too far," Deborah Jeon, legal director for the ACLU of Maryland told the paper. The ACLU's public support is having an effect on the state's practice. USA Today reports that Maryland has ceased the pursuit of employee social media usernames and passwords for a period of 45 days.