MEP Kelly raps employers over Facebook demands

MUNSTER MEP Sean Kelly has expressed concern at companies who demand access to prospective employees’ Facebook accounts and warned they could face penalties for breaching data protection rights.

MUNSTER MEP Sean Kelly has expressed concern at companies who demand access to prospective employees’ Facebook accounts and warned they could face penalties for breaching data protection rights.

“I have heard anecdotal evidence of prospective employees being asked to hand over the account and password details of their social network profiles, such as Facebook accounts, during job interviews. This is a distasteful practice that amounts to a breach of privacy and personal data protection rights in my view,” Mr Kelly said.

The former GAA president is co-author of a European Parliament report on data protection and said he had met with various policy experts in the course of drawing up this study.

“Data protection is a complex issue that is constantly evolving in the digital age - however, we are currently working on a new EU data protection regulation which will aim to protect citizens from these kinds of scenarios. A social networking profile is a private matter and online passwords are certainly private. Any employer using such methods to gather information on anyone could be considered to be impinging on data protection rights excessively.”

Such attempts to gather information on workers were also a breach of Facebook’s policy, said Mr Kelly, who has a Facebook page of his own - with 4526 friends. MEPs will vote on the regulation in 2013.