June 21, 2009 By Wayne Hanson
When Bozeman, Mont., officials announced that government job applicants must surrender their login and password to their social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook, bloggers and media said the city was violating privacy and officials were "out of their minds." On Friday the city released a statement rescinding the order, saying: "The extent of our request for a candidate's password, user name, or other Internet information appears to have exceeded that which is acceptable to our community." The city has terminated the practice until a more comprehensive evaluation of the practice can be conducted.
In 2007 Bozeman and neighboring Missoula were found to be high in identity fraud activity.
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.