January 28th, 2010 was International Data Privacy Day.
The idea behind the day is to raise awareness of the need for data privacy, and to encourage “dialog among all of the stakeholders — businesses, individuals, government agencies, non-profit groups, academics, teachers and students –- to look more thoroughly at how advanced technologies affect our daily lives.”
Data Privacy Day is an international celebration of the dignity of the individual expressed through personal information. In this networked world, in which we are thoroughly digitized, with our identities, locations, actions, purchases, associations, movements, and histories stored as so many bits and bytes, we have to ask – who is collecting all of this – what are they doing with it – with whom are they sharing it? Most of all, individuals are asking ‘How can I protect my information from being misused?’ These are reasonable questions to ask – we should all want to know the answers.
(I brought up my own complicity in and ambivalence about the loss of privacy in my online life in a post earlier this week called, “Facebook’s Bait & Switch and User Complicity“.)
As one part of this dialog about the need for personal data privacy, Microsoft conducted research to determine whether or not HR employees consider a candidate’s online reputation when deciding to hire or reject a candidate. The answer was a resounding, “yes”. Your online reputation matters a great deal. Microsoft published the results of this research about “how people manage the information they and others place on the Internet” online as an overview in .pdf and in more detail via .ppt.
Microsoft provides a guideline to take charge of your online reputation. They also interviewed people about whether or not your online reputation should affect your candidacy for employment. Their thoughts are available for viewing in the video below or online here (if the video won’t play).
What do you think? Should your online life affect your candidacy for a job?