The City of Bozeman, Mont., found itself in a sticky situation in June when it began requiring candidates for city jobs to provide usernames and passwords for social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace.

The controversial policy incited a firestorm of complaints from job applicants and privacy advocates. On June 19, the city revoked the policy.

While the situation in Bozeman created a national uproar, Mark McCreary, a Fox Rothschild partner, says there’s a better argument for requesting that information prior to employment than after hiring someone because it doesn’t change a policy midstream.

“It’s much more permissible to say, ‘You’ve got to give us access to these records before we’re going to hire you,’” he says.