- By Zakiya Afzani
Google searching someone to try and find negative information about them is about to become illegal
Employers who use Facebook, Twitter and other social media including search engine searches to check on potential job candidates could be breaking European law in future.
The law will also cover civilians, such as in-laws searching who their son/daughter is engaged or married to.
An EU data protection working party has ruled that employers and civilians should require “legal grounds” before snooping.
The recommendations are currently non-binding, but will directly influence forthcoming changes to data protection laws.
Theresa May has ensured that post Brexit EU laws will still bind the UK with only a two year slot to make any changes. Thus the new EU data protection laws will be legally binding in the UK also.
Recruitment company CareerBuilder suggests that 70% of employers use social networks to screen candidates.
A London based social think tank found that only 0.5% of family or friends snoop on partners or prospective partners of relatives or friends, a figure that rises to 4% amongst British-Asian communities. This is already against UK cyber stalking, defamation, slander, data protection and harassment laws.
The studies also found that 70% of recruiters are also using online search engines to research potential and existing employees.
The guidelines from the Article 29 working party will inform a radical shake-up of European data protection laws, known as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which are due to come into force in May 2018.
Their recommendations also suggest that any data collected from an internet search of potential candidates must be necessary and relevant to the performance of the job and unavoidable not to obtain.
Sending friend requests or demanding passwords to accounts is already illegal in most EU nations but will be clarified and reinforced in the new legislation.
The legislation will not apply to social media sites such as LinkedIn as they are set up specifically with business and employment in mind, although it will remain illegal to demand passwords or demand that an employee or partner accept your connection request.
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