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"Pre-Crime" Comes To the HR Dept. 554

Posted by samzenpus
from the you-wouldn't-work-out dept.
storagedude writes "Like something out of the Steven Spielberg movie Minority Report, a startup called Social Intelligence is mining social media to weed out job applicants based on their potential for violence, drug abuse or just plain bad judgment. The startup also combs sites like Facebook and Twitter to monitor current employees, presumably to monitor compliance with company social media policy, but as the criteria are company-defined, anything's possible. Just one more reason to watch what you post, folks."
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"Pre-Crime" Comes To the HR Dept.

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  • by sethstorm (512897) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @05:17PM (#33740906) Homepage

    Unless they provide a full & accurate report as to what information was collected on you(and how it was used), it shouldn't even be happening.

  • by ScientiaPotentiaEst (1635927) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @05:18PM (#33740926)
    ... but how do these "trawlers" get to see what's on, say, a Facebook page if viewing permission has been given only to a limited set of trusted people? Does Facebook permit trawlers access to such restricted information? Do they use subterfuge to get past the restrictions? How?
  • local newspapers... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by markass530 (870112) <markass530@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @05:21PM (#33740954) Homepage
    so what if "someone i know" is from as small boring ass town that printed a mini article (full of bs, mostly) about one of his D.I.P's and now that is #4 when you google his name (mark stolzoff) how do you fix that?
  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @05:22PM (#33740970)

    You don't think when you apply for a job that the people hiring you are not already looking at social media (and of course Google) to see what kind of person you are?

    Now I'm against HR doing this by policy as they will come up with some absurd guidelines that a real person closer to the hiring would be able to make a judgement call on. But that doesn't mean your social media footprint has not already affected your ability to be hired, for some time now.

  • by notthepainter (759494) <> on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @05:27PM (#33741030) Homepage

    My name is shared with a very famous (dead) person so I'm hard to google. But of course he had my email address. From that he found my geocaching account, liked that I made puzzles (he was looking for a game developer) from that found my /. postings, liked what he saw.

    Yeah, I got the job and it was fun, but it creeped me out. I hardly ever post anywhere anymore.

    Except, of course, for this...

  • by cappp (1822388) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @05:33PM (#33741096)
    TFA makes a point that invalidates yours though - they specifically mention the fact that if you're tagged in an image your boss is contacted. At that point it doesnt matter if you're rational...every single person in your social network, no matter how extraneous, is having their discretion and rationality tested. Go to a party and have a couple of pictures taken and tagged of you messing around, harmlessly, and forwarded to a boss who perhaps disapproves of heavy drinking/smoking/you kissing guys/stupid pictures of people pretending the Eiffel tower is between their palms...pretty much anything really, and you run the risk of disciplinary action.

    At that point the only rational choice is to not participate online at all, or allow pictures to be taken, comments to be made, anything that relates to you. What a sad life that seems.
  • by KnightBlade (1074408) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @05:34PM (#33741098)
    I wonder how long before "Pay us and we'll keep others from finding information about you" kinda companies show up.
  • by JonySuede (1908576) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @05:37PM (#33741152) Journal
    that sounds like HR in my organization, always cluelessly creating non-working program to solve inexistent problems while totally ignoring the real problems.
  • by sqrt(2) (786011) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @05:38PM (#33741156) Journal

    I would never allow anyone I work for (or with) to be friends with me on Facebook, and if I haven't added you all you can see is my name, picture, and a link to message me and request to be added as a friend.

  • by Culture20 (968837) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @05:47PM (#33741250)
    I heard somewhere that there's a Private Investigator exemption for super-user type viewing, and that a lot of big name companies' HR departments have someone to do that for "identity verification".
  • Re: Learn To Cheat (Score:5, Interesting)

    by istartedi (132515) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @06:06PM (#33741412) Journal

    No. Don't bother learning. Just hire an "online presence consultant" and let them do it for you. Prices and quality of service will vary based on how much is at stake. In the future, smart students will do real socializing at ball games and keggers while AI-bots make sanitized FaceBook postings on their behalf. Sign up for PersonaBot now. $29.99/mo.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @06:16PM (#33741504)

    That's naïve. You can't possibly stop information leaking from people you trust, and the more people you know, the greater the probability that they in turn know someone and share something from you that you'd prefer they didn't. There's an old saying that the probability of a secret getting out is equal to the number of people who knows it, squared. You should think about that. If you want privacy, don't ever create any stupid accounts anywhere where you reveal private information, and pray to God nobody you know does either. If you want details, you could try asking Sir John Sawers. ;)

  • by epyT-R (613989) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @06:24PM (#33741582)

    Maybe the solution is to make contracts which tread on civil liberties illegal.. While privacy isn't on the list now, maybe it should be. These days, it's getting harder and harder to function in life without giving up your rights. This should not be.

  • by Kozz (7764) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @06:33PM (#33741670)

    ... but how do these "trawlers" get to see what's on, say, a Facebook page if viewing permission has been given only to a limited set of trusted people? Does Facebook permit trawlers access to such restricted information? Do they use subterfuge to get past the restrictions? How?

    Maybe they don't need to get past restrictions. Perhaps there's already enough info out there to hang you with. Go search for yourself at []. It's frightening... I just searched and found a usenet posts I made in '97. Thankfully they're just posts to technical discussions (hardware, programming, etc).

    I once spoke to a woman who said she uses to attempt to gather information proving people are fraudulently obtaining worker's compensation benefits, such as a person who says they can no longer walk, but post photos this week of them out dancing.

  • by HornWumpus (783565) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @06:40PM (#33741754)

    I can go on interviews for jobs I don't want of the off chance that I might be wrong.

    It's not completely irrational but has a cost in that I'm likely wasting their time and am certainly muddying the waters for future job searches.

    Then again handled carefully it can lead to possible future opportunities.

    On the other hand I did at one point just flat out lie on applications just to waste the time of real assholes (lawyers).

    Claimed I was an lawyer with years of experience in import/export then did a reverse Monty Python job interview sketch with the HR dweeb just for fun (and to increase the GDP by keeping the lawyers from doing any damage to the economy while distracted).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @06:42PM (#33741766)

    Did you not read the terms of service? Facebook owns your info and shares it with 3rd parties (advertisers, marketers, etc). It's how they make revenue.
    "Trawlers" don't need access. Facebook sells them the data.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @07:19PM (#33742106)
    If I google my name all I get is results of a NY Mets player. And if I were him, i probably wouldn't be needing another job. Even if I put my name with my zip code or area code or even my current address nothing comes up; at least no one that is actually me. Why? I don't have a myspace, facebook or twitter account AND never will. I'll never do the NEXT "social" fad either. Posting Anonymously too!
  • by fafalone (633739) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @07:31PM (#33742196)
    This country has decided that yes, we in fact do want to perpetually punish drug offenders by eliminating opportunities other than becoming more serious criminals. We've decided drug users endangering themselves is not a medical problem, but a serious criminal offense that should be handled by militarizing the police departments and eroding civil liberties because they have to be punished (you can't stop victimless crimes without trampling rights), and that the costs to society accrued by this punishment justified, because these are Bad People, and helping them in any way instead of punishing them is simply unacceptable no matter how much it makes things worse for society as a whole. It's based on the fantasy that, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that mass incarceration actually reduces availability and overall usage (better 1000 addicts die in the streets than one more person experiments at a party).

    It's a disgusting state of affairs, but the only politically possible course of action is to keep making it worse, because people simply can't grasp the idea that prohibition only adds another huge set of problems on top of an already dangerous activity, and doesn't curb it at all.

    Violence is a slightly different issue in most cases; and I assumed you were speaking to the specific kind of violence perpetrated by addicts out of desperation due to black market influences.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @07:31PM (#33742202)

    actually they don't need to. a simple google search gives you the answer.

    facebook policy is that if a company advertises on facebook, they have 100% access to any and all profiles - regardless of your privacy settings..

    so as long as this company takes out an ad on facebook, your profile is completely accessible to this company.. yet one more thing facebook doesn't make very public.

  • by Mr. Freeman (933986) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @08:14PM (#33742558)
    The problem is that if they prefix this with "This program is not 100% perfect" then it's an opinion, which isn't libel. Also, if they say "so and so posted such and such to some website", that's not libel either, because truth is an absolute defense against libel claims.

    Better to go after the employer who fires you based on activities outside of work... though that isn't likely to succeed either unfortunately.
  • by Artifakt (700173) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @08:28PM (#33742640)

    I'm a former military officer - armored cav for much of my career, with stints in intelligence and signal slots and wartime service. I was once asked by an interviewer who was already aware of this from my resume "Have you ever had any life or death decision-making responsibilities?" A little discussion revealed he did not think literal life or death responsibility for the 30+ people in the unit under my command, in wartime, in actual combat, counted. He meant decisions or responsibilities that could have cost significant money, and nothing else. I could easily have answered that one to his satisfaction - signing for training equipment alone when I was the leader of an advance detachment meant there had been times when I was the person responsible for easily more than 100 times the value of his whole company (M1 tanks and Apache helicopters and such add up fast). Instead I walked out of that interview.
          I mention this because that person is precisely the person that company will doubtless delegate to go through some potential employee's facebook pages.

  • by kimvette (919543) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @08:53PM (#33742788) Homepage Journal

    And if a business gets so big it threatens individual liberties? Well that's the government's fault, somehow.

    No, it's our own fault for constantly reelecting the same douchebags into office, or voting based on the color of one's skin (see: Duval Patrick, Barack Hussein Obama), or how handsome someone is (William "Bill" Jefferson Clinton), or how "texan" someone is (both Bushes). The truth is there isn't much of anything I like about the last four presidents as they have all seemed to be against growth of the American economy, and pro-offshoring.

    And, oddly enough, that "evil" Democrat Bill Clinton's administration probably had the best economic policies out of the last four Presidents' (inclusive of the current one) administrations.

    The truth is, we need good sound business management mentalities in the Oval Office and Congress now - people who are truly old-school thinkers who value long-term growth over the quick buck.

    We need people with patriotic interests at heart, somewhat like H. Ross Perot and Ron Paul in office, but tempered with better communication and diplomatic skills. We need to vote for the best candidate for every regardless of faith color or creed, and regardless of whether or not the guy is "popular" in a celebrity sense. I don't care whether a candidate looks like Fabio or Steve Buscemi. I care whether or not that candidate recognizes that the making of an excellent leader is someone who is looking to serve rather than to be served.

  • Some day... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jafafa Hots (580169) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @09:29PM (#33743032) Homepage Journal will be considered a sign of anti-social and possibly criminal behavior if you AREN'T active on FaceBook and such sites. So you won't be able to just avoid the shit and cover your head.

    You'll have to hire a company to create fake profiles all over the net for you and routinely post things to them that make you seem like the model worker and/or citizen. And of course it will have to be tailored towards your type of work.

    Hospital work? Patient, caring, giving.
    Stockbroker? Sexist, cracks sick jokes, and laughs at other people being fucked over.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:30PM (#33743622)

    "Live your job."

    You must be such a douche.
    I can just picture you sitting alone in front of the TV on a Sunday morning replete with shirt, tie and cardigan.

  • by Grishnakh (216268) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @12:11AM (#33743854)

    They're pro-corporate in that they vote for pro-corporate candidates. They may believe they aren't "pro-corporate", but their actions betray them.

    However, it isn't just the right-wingers; the left-wingers are pro-corporate too. With Democrats in power since '07 in Congress and '09 in the White House, we've seen the auto industry get taxpayer money, we've seen the health insurance companies (that do nothing to improve people's health) get a giant giveaway from Obamacare, we've seen more favorable legislation for the copyright mafia, we've seen the banking industry and AIG get a giant bailout for the mortgage meltdown, etc. The left-wing liberals are just as pro-corporate as the right-wingers.

  • by dwpro (520418) <<dwpro777> <at> <>> on Thursday September 30, 2010 @07:51AM (#33745822)

    so as long as this company takes out an ad on facebook, your profile is completely accessible to this company

    I can find no credible links to verify this, please post them if you have them.

  • by rgviza (1303161) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @09:26AM (#33746790)

    If you worked with the idiot crybabies I worked with in the steelworker's union, you'd hate unions too.

    I've never met a group of losers quite like that. The fact that they kept their jobs because of the union is enough to turn me against unions for life. I got singled out in the shop I was in because my starting wage in 1989 was higher than theirs was in 1960. It drove them CRAZY. It's all they ever talked about. Several of them tried to knock me into mills I was running and cause me to get maimed.

    I didn't set the fucking wage, the damned union did. Yet they acted like I did something to fuck them over.

    Unions need to go. Their time has come and gone. I was 19 at the time. That experience made me decide to go back to college. That's what unions are good for, so you join one and realize you need to do anything you can to not have to work in a union job.

    Thank god there are no IT unions. I'd clean bathrooms before I worked in an IT union. Unions are nothing but worker communism put in place so people that suck can't get fired.

Bus error -- please leave by the rear door.