Most people agree that applying for work is a full time job. But when that job application requires you to list the very details that make up your private life, one suspects that the hiring process has gone way too far.
And that seems to be exactly what's happening in the US state of Montana, according to reports.
The City of Bozeman, which is located in the America state of Montana, is now apparantly requiring all budding employees to cough up passwords and logins of social networking sites whenever they go for a job in the city.
The list of information, which was submitted by an anonymous email and has reportedly been confirmed by a Montana City attorney, is designed to weed out applicants who lack 'moral character' according to a news report at the Montana News Station.
It includes passwords and logins to popular networking sites such as Facebook, Myspace, Google and YouTube.
According to the story, the request for personal details also includes membership to any online forums. Is anything sacred?
Some Internet posters are now calling this online background check the new digital Iron wall.
"Welcome to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic of Bozeman", wrote one unhappy forum poster on the Montana's News Station site.
By making an applicant's online life the property of a City background check, we're assuming that vivid details of the applicant's wild weekend parties could severely limit their chances of getting a job. While 500 of your Facebook friends might be calling it the party of the century, it's likely that Bozeman background checkers might call it your biggest application blunder.
Is it fair that the comments a person posts in Internet forums or social networking sites should be of any interest to future employers, particularly if those activities take place outside the workplace environment?
If that was the case with all hirers, you'd likely find that half the world's Internet users who regularly engage in some kind of forum or social networking activity would likely never find a job.
Forum users take note: big brother is watching.