Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Boseman Montana is Insane

Want A Job? Hand Over Your E-Mail Login, Google Login, Facebook Log-in, Twitter Login, Oh, Heck, Hand Over All Your Log-ins.

(CBS) If you’re planning to apply for a job with the city of Bozeman, Montana, be prepared to hand over much more than your references and résumé.
The Rocky Mountain city instructs all job applicants to divulge their usernames and passwords for “any Internet-based chat rooms, social clubs or forums, to include, but not limited to: Facebook, Google, Yahoo,, MySpace, etc.”

Walter Lantz Studios

Walter Lantz Studios

Why? Under the policy, which the city says has been in place for a few years, a police officer logs into and reviews the social networking sites of people applying for public safety (that is, police and fire) jobs. For other jobs, the city’s human resources department will perform the investigation.

Before we offer people employment in a public trust position we have a responsibility to do a thorough background check,” Chuck Winn, Bozeman’s assistant city manager, told in an interview on Thursday. “This is just a component of a thorough background check. Shame on us if there was information out there available about a person who applied for a job who was a child molester or had some sort of information out there on the Internet that kind of showed those propensities and we didn’t look for it, we didn’t ask, and we hired that person,” Winn said. “In many ways we would have let the public down.”

Chuck almost sounds rational, doesn’t he?

And, yes, you can decline to provide the usernames + passwords. But who would? Let’s see, get a decent job so I can feed my kids, or stand on principle… Hmmm…

The CBS article (click “CBS” at top to read the whole item) was savvy-enough to point out, “One potential privacy concern is that accounts for Facebook and Google, among other sites, are used for more than just displaying photos, videos, and messages. They’re also used for e-mail, meaning that a Bozeman investigator could review years of personal messages.”
Yes, CBS, you’re absolutely right. Nobody but Google insiders knows just how much data Google collects. And my Google account gives access to my AdSense campaigns, my Blogger website…

Is it just me? Am I just getting “too old”? Or is the world really going insane?

Didn’t we, as a people, fight a few wars to make sure we had some 1st and 4th Amendment Rights?
They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” — Benjamin Franklin.

Calm down, Paul. Calm down. Breathe.

Ah. Have a good Monday, folks. I’m going to go take a workout, and release some of my angst.

Today’s free link(s): Electronic Frontier Foundation. EFF is the leading civil liberties group defending your rights in the digital world.
And for more proof of insanity: Don’t stop believing in the RIAA’s capacity for evil

Today’s free download: Encrypt your stuff while you still can with TrueCrypt.

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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June 22, 2009 - Posted by | advice, News, passwords, tech | , , , , , ,


  1. TechPaul,

    I worked in Public Safety for over 28 years (and still do part-time). When I was hired I was subject to a background check where they talked to my neighbors, friends, etc. to determine my reputation.

    To me, what you are describing in this article is taking things way too far. This is almost UN-American in my opinion. Hmmm… Maybe this is another good reason to tell people to avoid putting themselves out there one the “social networks”.



    Comment by Ramblinrick | June 22, 2009 | Reply

    • Ramblinrick,
      Thank you for relating your experiences. I am quite familiar with a deeper level of “background check” when a security clearance is deemed appropriate for the job. The higher the level of clearance, the deeper they dig.

      I have no problem with that.

      This, however, steps well-over any reasonable boundaries for a free society, and we are in fact still protected by the Constitution…
      .. I mean, I really hope we are!

      Turn over my e-mail username and password? So you’ll look at my job application? _______ you and the horse you rode in on!

      (Sorry Rick. I guess I’m a bit passionate..)

      Yes. You’re absolutely correct: everything you post via the Web is recorded/archived/and data mined.


      Comment by techpaul | June 22, 2009 | Reply

  2. HA HA!
    Ya, I’ve heard about this insane news. LOL


    Comment by pochp | June 22, 2009 | Reply

    • pochp,
      (Also from the article) “After CBS affiliate KBZK highlighted the requirement on Wednesday, a firestorm of sorts has erupted online: irate e-mail messages have jammed mailboxes in City Hall, snarky comments have poked fun at a place once awarded the sobriquet of “All-America City,” and a poll indicates 98 percent of respondents believe the city’s policy amounts to an “invasion of privacy.””


      Comment by techpaul | June 22, 2009 | Reply

  3. Wow, when 98% of respondents agree you’re out of line… probably a good idea to back off. Good thing they did, too. According to’s video, Facebook was going to get in touch with the city because the requirement was a breach of their Terms of Service.

    I wouldn’t say we -shouldn’t- post any information online. Just be very careful and act like the whole world is watching. Because, well, they are.


    Comment by Daniel | June 24, 2009 | Reply

    • Daniel,
      I completely agree.

      Except, maybe.. not the whole world is watching. But yes, anyone who is interested. Everything transmitted via the Internet is recorded and archived. Now, more than at any other time in our history, has my Grandmother’s advice been so relevant — “If you might be embarrassed if the wrong person sees it, don’t write it!”


      Comment by techpaul | June 24, 2009 | Reply

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