Monster.com Gobbles Privacy

 
 
By eweek  |  Posted 2001-09-05
 
 
 

Theres a monster in the online privacy world, and its getting bigger every hour.

Its the premier job web site, www.monster.com, and as far as privacy advocates are concerned, its about as scary as they get.

Among the findings by The Privacy Foundation, a non-profit civil liberties organization:

* Monster.com has discussed selling resume data to marketers

* Resumes sent to Monster.com, even when deleted by job seekers, may be saved by the company for later use

* Resumes sent by job seekers to corporate web sites have been routinely sent to Monster.com without disclosure to job seekers

* Monster.com supplies AOL Time Warner, a marketing partner, with information from job-search activities, including unique resume I.D. numbers.

*College students seeking jobs on Monster.com are sometimes having their resumes filtered to different employers, based on the college they are attending.

In a statement issued to The Privacy Foundation, Monster.com said that while it has discussed offering for-pay services, such as resume writing, to its business, the services would "never infringe on the privacy of a job seeker. Monster.com does not sell, has never sold, and will never sell personal data to marketers without permission from job seekers."

The company said that copies of deleted resumes are kept for periods of time in backup systems designed to kick in during system failure, but added that copies on the main Monster.com database are permanently removed from the system.

The company acknowledged that AOL is provided data about the number of resumes that have been generated on AOL/Monster.com co-branded sites, and that unique resume ID numbers are included in the data. The information, however, "remains confidential," the company said.

As for the Monster.com college program, called MonsterTRAK, the company said employers can post jobs for "specific colleges that are part of their college recruiting efforts."

Monster.com is owned by TMP Worldwide, a publicly trade company founded in 1967. The New York company is one of the biggest advertising agencies, with revenues of $760.8 million for the six months ending June 30, according to the study. The company has bought several job sites recently, including www.hotjobs.com. That acquisition sparked an antitrust investigation by the Federal Trade Commission that is still ongoing.

The study concluded that, among other things, the FTC during its investigation should inquire about the companys intentions to sell resume data now or in the future. It also recommended the site not keep copies of deleted resumes in any online or offline databased, including backup logs; that it not transmit unique resume ID numbers to AOL Time Warner; and that the company should post a thorough privacy policy at MonsterTRAK.

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