The ongoing controversy surrounding the collection of Facebook passwords by would-be employers has drawn the attention of US lawmakers.
A pair of US Senators has called on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to look into the practice and decide whether requiring employees and job applicants to turn over their Facebook login credentials is a violation of Federal privacy laws.
Senators Charles Schumer of New York state and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut said in a joint statement that the practice marked a "grave intrusion" on personal privacy and left both employees and businesses at risk.
"A ban on these practices is necessary to stop unreasonable and unacceptable invasions of privacy," Blumenthal said in a statement.
"An investigation by the Department of Justice and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will help remedy ongoing intrusions and coercive practices, while we draft new statutory protections to clarify and strengthen the law."
The request is the latest in an ongoing public outcry following reports that employers in the US have been requesting access to Facebook accounts as part of their employee screening process.
The social network itself recently spoke out against the practice, warning that businesses were not only invading a user's privacy, but also leaving firms at risk for discrimination suits when personal information such as a user's age is viewed.
Eric Chiu, president of cloud management firm HyTrust, noted that in some cases the line between personal profiles and business pages is not so clear.
"If an employee’s job includes heavily promoting the employer through social media, does that mean the company owns that social media persona, or does the person?" Chiu noted.
"The rules of engagement around this issue will need to be defined clearly over the next few years given the increased importance and use of social media in the workplace."
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