Nothing to hide, nothing to fear?

Apr 25 2007 by Derek Torres Print This Article

In the post-911 United States, it's increasingly difficult, indeed, nearly possible, to insist on any degree of personal privacy without having the fear-mongers asking what you have to hide. The fact that this is becoming increasingly common in the workplace is frankly, quite scary.

According to this WSJ article, background check and identity theft firms have been cleaning up. And it's no wonder, especially when an executive-level background check starts at around $3,000.

Now, we can appreciate the rampant problem of identity theft in the United States, as well as making sure that the wrong type of person doesn't have access to company bank accounts; these concerns make perfect sense.

However, it does seem absurd when non-government positions requiring no security clearance whatsoever require a thorough background check before hiring an entry-level drone who barely has access to the fax machine, let alone accounting records.

Again, we can appreciate employers wanting to know if a violent felon is applying for a position; but companies requesting credit checks or even DMV records for non-risk positions is pushing it too far.

Companies maintain that it's to make sure candidates do not lie about degrees or work experience Ė but isn't that really what the diploma is supposed to represent? Or even the professional reference?

Have we really got to a point where there are enough applicants brandishing bogus diplomas or having best friends concoct professional stories that this is a problem? Or is it a problem that exists only in the minds of those background checking outfits?

Once again, it seems that we're pretty firmly planted in a new era that makes private information everyone's information; but hey, if you've nothing to hide, why worry . . .?