The rise of social media means that data about a large number of people is available in public and quasi-public digital locations. Employers, keen on taking advantage of this additional data to decrease the risk associated with an offer of employment, are engaging in “cyber-vetting”—non-consenting social media searches conducted by third parties or the employers themselves. To the extent that current law applies to this practice, the regulation it provides is weak and attacks only part of the problem. Left unchecked, cyber-vetting has the potential to fundamentally alter the scope of prospective employees’ rights. This article surveys the legal and practical implications of cyber-vetting and suggests broad reforms focused on intelligently balancing individual rights and legitimate employer interests.
Saby Ghoshray, The Emerging Reality of Social Media: Erosion of Individual Privacy Through Cyber-vetting and Law’s Inability to Catch Up, 12 J. Marshall Rev. Intell. Prop. L. 551 (2013)