In June 2009, officials in Bozeman, Mont., came under fire for requiring the disclosure of private data from applicants angling for city jobs.

On Thursday, June 18, one applicant e-mailed local news outlet KBZK about part of the background check. In order for applicants to be considered for employment, they had to provide Bozeman with a list of their social networking log-in credentials.

A form in the job application asked job seekers to "please list any and all, current or business Web sites, Web pages or memberships on any Internet-based chat rooms, social clubs or forums, to include, but not limited to: Facebook, Google, Yahoo,, MySpace, etc.," according to the news station.

The story ran on-air and the station's Web site. The public outcry was immediate, and Bozeman officials certainly felt the heat, according to City Manager Chris Kukulski. "We primarily got a flood of very -- in some cases, really -- malicious, very attacking e-mails from people all around the country," he said.

The morning after the story broke, Bozeman had a 90-minute staff meeting, after which officials announced that the city was rescinding the policy. Kukulski wrote in a press release that "the extent of our request for a candidate's password, user name or other Internet information appears to have exceeded that which is acceptable to our community. We appreciate the concern many citizens have expressed regarding this practice and apologize for the negative impact this issue is having on the city of Bozeman."

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Hilton Collins, Staff Writer Hilton Collins  | 

Hilton Collins is a former staff writer for Government Technology and Emergency Management magazines.