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APRIL 1, 2012 | LATE SPORTS FINAL

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Nanci Koschman sheds a tear after a hearing in her sons case in March. |

A MOTHERS COURAGE
RICHARD A. CHAPMAN~SUN-TIMES

CAROL MARIN ON NANCI KOSCHMAN | PAGE 17

Kentucky, Kansas in ncaa title game

OH-K!

WE THINK
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Employers go too far by demanding passwords
EDITORIALS
mployers naturally want to know everything they can about a job applicant before deciding whom to hire. That makes sense. The wrong employee could easily embarrass an employer, particularly a government agency, with wildly inappropriate postings on a social media site. No one wants to be in the position of the San Diego school district that hired a teacher, later fired, who posted an ad soliciting sex. But that doesnt mean job applicants have no privacy rights. So its troubling that around the country, employers have begun asking applicants to turn over login information to social media sites so the employer can see it all

COMMENTARY

SUNDAY, APRIL 1, 2012 CHICAGO SUN-TIMES


John Barron Publisher Tom McNamee Editorial Page Editor

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A N I N D E P E N D E N T N E W S PA P E R

Don Hayner Editor in Chief Andrew Herrmann Managing Editor

Companies are asking job applicants to turn over login information to social media sites.
even information the applicant assumed was strictly personal. Thats going too far. Last week, the Illinois House passed a bill that would prohibit employers from asking workers and job applicants for their social media passwords. The measure now goes to the state Senate, where we hope it passes. It has become standard practice for employers to scroll the Internet, including social media sites, to get background on applicants. Thats due diligence. Settling for the few facts on a resume isnt always enough anymore. But some employers, particularly public safety agencies, want to go behind the privacy walls, particularly now that more people are using privacy controls to limit access to their pages. So the employers ask for passwords or ask applicants to log on during an interview so they can see the personal stuff. Or they ask an ap-

plicant to friend the employer on Facebook, which opens a door in the privacy wall as well. Once they get past the privacy wall, employers might well gain access to information that they legally could not ask for in a job interview. They could learn an applicants religion, medical data, disabilities, age and other data. That erodes longstanding legal protections. Since 2006, for example, the Downstate McLean County sheriffs office has asked applicants to sign into social media sites so they can be screened. The Associated Press reported several other Illinois sheriffs departments do so as well. A McLean County chief deputy told the AP that applicants have the right to refuse. But any applicant knows that doing so is tantamount to tearing up your job application. Last month, Facebook warned employers that it violates their terms of service to ask anyone for their login information. And U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) are writing a bill that would stop employers from going after personal login information. They also called on the Justice Department and the Equal Opportunity Commission to begin investigations. Meanwhile, the U.S. House last week nixed an effort to give the Federal Communications Commission the power to stop employers from asking job applicants for their password to social media sites. The brouhaha over passwords isnt just the opening of another front in the battle to preserve some semblance of privacy in a world where technology has an ever-growing ability to track our every movement. The loss of privacy is also a loss of control over our personal lives.

JACK HIGGINS OPINION

CAROL MARIN

Nanci Koschman fights for her boy


never woke up. Eleven days later, he was taken off life support at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. And died in his mothers arms. Nanci was widowed when her husband, Bob, died from a blood clot in 1994. She and David were a mother-son team. She watched over him. He looked after her. She worked multiple jobs, as a school secretary, at Carsons, in a doctors office and as a restaurant hostess to keep them afloat. For Nanci Koschman, David is now frozen in time. A slight, blond 21-year-old who, with four buddies, left home in suburban Mount Prospect to party on Rush and Division. She kissed him good night that evening, told him she loved him and sent him off to the city she had taught him to love. I lived in Chicago . . . was born and raised in Chicago . . . worked downtown, loved the city, she said Thursday night. Im not mad at Daley, not even mad at R.J. . . . He didnt intend to hurt my son. But Vanecko ran, his friends lied to police, who took 25 days to even bring him in for questioning, files went missing and the Cook County

cmarin@suntimes.com

hat Nanci Koschman is doing takes courage. She sat, quietly crying at times, in the first row of Courtroom 606 at the Cook County Criminal Courts on Thursday as her attorneys asked Judge Michael Toomin to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the events surrounding her sons death. Mrs. Koschman, 63, is the mother of David, who in 2004 got into an argument near the bars on Division Street with Richard J. R.J. Vanecko, the grandson and nephew of two mayors named Daley. Police made no arrest. The Cook County states attorney did not indict. In fact, the case stayed open until a 2011 Chicago SunTimes investigation led by Tim Novak and Chris Fusco raised new questions. Only then, seven years later, did Chicago Police conclude that only one punch was thrown. By Vanecko. In self-defense. When David Koschmans head hit the curb that awful night, he

states attorneys office even today cant locate a single document reflecting its own involvement. People often ask Mrs. Koschman why she never sued. How do I put a price on Davids life? she asks. Instead, to pay for his funeral, she refinanced her house. Shes still paying on the loan. It isnt about being greedy. Its about justice, she said. And so she recently authorized pro bono civil rights attorney Locke Bowman and Northwesterns MacArthur Justice Center to go into court and petition for an outside, independent prosecutor to investigate whether clout affected this case. Cook County States Attorney Anita Alvarezs office is forcefully fighting that petition. In an email on Friday, Nanci Koschman urged me not to make a big deal about her struggle. You have to realize that I am no different than so many other mothers and fathers who have lost their children. My grief is the same. . . . I dont deserve any special treatment or praise. . . . Im just a hurt mom looking for justice, and if the people did mishandle it, that they be held accountable. She needs, she says, to be able to tell David one day when they meet again that she stood up. And fought for him.