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BC Privacy Commissioner releases guidelines on social media background checks

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

The British Columbia Information and Privacy Commissioner recently released guidelines on social media background checks.

The October 12, 2011 news release from the Commissioner's office announcing the Guidelines for Social Media Background Checks (October 2011) states that:

  • the Commissioner issued the guidance to assist organizations and public bodies using social media sites to conduct background checks of prospective employees, volunteers and candidates.
  • using social media to conduct background checks presents legal and other challenges.
  • the guidelines highlight some of the risks associated with performing a social media background check, such as collecting inaccurate information and collecting too much personal information.
  • the use of social media background checks received attention earlier this year when a political party requested the passwords of its potential leadership candidates to permit an examination of their social media sites.