What would we do without Dick Blumenthal? Just when we thought we’d gotten rid of him — banished from Hartford and consigned to the polished halls of the U.S. Capitol — Blumenthal reminds us why his camera-mugging tenure as the state’s attorney general was so profoundly irritating.
In the state of Connecticut, where they almost never launch criminal prosecutions, attorneys general fancy themselves as consumer protectors. In Blumenthal’s case, he presided over what is essentially the state’s biggest law firm for 20 years. Consequently, whenever he saw a threat to our well being, he unleashed his army of barristers and filed suit against corporate ne’er-do-wells near and far.
Now, as U.S. senator, Blumenthal can’t shake off old habits. Just as former Gov. Jodi Rell never really got out of lieutenant-governor mode, so too has the man from Greenwich had difficulty shifting gears from consumer watchdog to the legislative branch.
Never failing to seize on an opportunity for publicity, Blumenthal noticed the same A.P. article I saw on the subject of employers asking job candidates and employees for their Facebook passwords. To the surprise of no one who has followed his career, Blumenthal is introducing a bill that would ban the practice.
Make no mistake, if I were in a job interview and the company asked for my FB password or directed me to friend one of the bosses, the interview would end right there and then. For no company that makes such a demand is worthy of my employment. It gets a little trickier, however, when the demand is made by your current employer. Would you be willing to quit over such an intrusion? Or do you need the job badly enough that you’d give in to the demand?
First of all, I can’t imagine that my employer, whom I admire and respect, would make such an outrageous demand. Nevertheless, I can tell you what I’d recommend if you find yourself in such a predicament.
If you’re going on a job interview, suspend your account in advance, which, I am told, has the same effect as deleting the account. And chances are if your current employer is engaging in this despicable practice, you will have heard rumors about it in advance, in which case you will have enough time to suspend the account before they get to you. If you weren’t forewarned, however, then you’ll have a decision to make. But you can tell your bosses that Facebook itself has warned against releasing your password to anyone and has suggested legal action might result against anyone who demands it.
At any rate, my point is that I really don’t think we need the government to pass a law prohibiting such a stupid and invasive practice in the private sector, especially when the government itself is the worst offender, according to the AP. Aren’t people clever enough to take precautions themselves? Or perhaps the market itself will take care of it. When word gets out that a company requires this kind of submission, perhaps the applicant pool will shrink to the point that the company will reconsider the policy.
Perhaps Blumenthal would like to introduce a bill banning mandatory drug-testing by employers. After all, that’s just as intrusive, isn’t it?