- VA apologizes to forgotten Marine veteran locked in Fla. clinic, forced to call 911
- U.S. social and economic trends on worrisome track, survey finds
- McDonald nomination unanimously referred to full Senate
- Chuck Norris honorary chairman of NRA voter registration campaign
- GOP outraged Obamacare investigators able to get coverage with fake IDs
- Family removed from Southwest flight over tweet about rude agent, dad says
- Michael Bloomberg thumbs FAA ban, plots course to Israel
- California bans full-contact football practices in off-season
- Thune: Downed fighter jets show more evidence of separatist capabilities
- Obama tells DNC fundraising crowd: ‘I’m not overly partisan’
Germany to prevent Facebook checks
Question of the Day
BERLIN (AP) - Ever thought twice about posting a party picture on Facebook, fearing it could someday hurt your chance at a dream job?
A new German law is supposed to solve the problem by making it illegal for prospective employers to spy on applicants’ private postings.
The draft law on employee data security presented by Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere on Wednesday is the government’s latest attempt to address privacy concerns about online services including social networks and Google “Street View”.
It is also a reaction to corporations checking on employee e-mails and filming sales clerks during coffee breaks - which has triggered public outrage in Germany.
De Maiziere acknowledged that some of the new regulations - which have yet to be discussed and passed by parliament - might be complicated to enact.
For example, employers will still be allowed to run a search on the Web on their applicants, de Maiziere said. Anything out in public is fair game, as are postings on networks specifically created for business contacts, such as LinkedIn.
In contrast, it will be illegal to become a Facebook friend with an applicant in order to check out private details, he said, adding that some people seem to be indiscriminate about whom they accept as a friend.
A rejected job applicant who proves he or she was turned down based on violation of the new law could take the company to court and claim damages, he said.
The new law will also prevent clandestine video surveillance in the workplace, particularly in private spaces like lavatories or locker rooms, de Maiziere said. An employer ignoring the new rule could be charged fines of up to ?300,000 (about $379,000).
However, cameras will be allowed in public spaces like supermarkets and some factories or warehouses, if employees know about them, he said.
“Overall, the new rules passed by the cabinet keep a good balance between employees’ interests on the hand and companies’ interests on the other,” de Maiziere said.
The BDA employers’ federation called the draft is too imprecise in some points, adding that it thinks some of de Maiziere’s proposals would hinder the fight against corruption and crime.
The retailers’ association HDE said some of the regulations go much too far, and outlawing clandestine video surveillance would be wrong.
“Here we hope for changes in the government draft,” HDE said in a press release.
Germany’s data protection watchdog, Peter Schaar, applauded the government’s effort, calling it long overdue.
It is “a substantial improvement on the status quo in dealing with employee’s data,” he said.
De Maiziere said he does not know yet when the law will go into effect.
TWT Video Picks
Retailer pays a price for getting too close to Obama
- House task force to recommend National Guard on border, faster deportations
- CARSON: Costco and the perils of mixing politics and business
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- HURT: The cost of 'free' water in Detroit
- Two Ukrainian fighter jets shot down
- David Perdue defeats Jack Kingston in Georgia Republican Senate primary runoff
- DEACE: How to go from civil rights icon to bigot in one quote
- Beretta moving to Tennessee over Maryland gun laws
- IRS seeks help destroying another 3,200 computer hard drives
- D.C. appeals panel deals big blow to Obamacare subsidies
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq