Commencement season is once again upon us, which means graduates will once again be treated to a never-ending stream of platitudes about their ability to change the world. While delivering the commencement address at Pomona College – a liberal arts institution in Claremont, California – President Obama’s senior advisor Valerie Jarrett took a slightly different approach - focusing primarily on the President’s work to close the so-called “pay gap” between men and women. But she also made an unintentionally eerie joke about privacy – or the lack thereof.
Check out Jarrett’s remarks below (applicable video begins around 17:25):
JARRETT: But also remember that before I hire anybody, I always check out everything that they've been doing online, and believe me, we have ways of finding out everything you've been doing online.
JARRETT: All right. So that was actually funnier than I intended it to be.
“Isn't that chilling,” Pat asked on radio this morning. “They don't care. She didn't even intend it to be a funny line. She was just stating a fact that you won't believe the methods we have to find out about you online. I do believe it.”
While Stu admitted that it would be foolish for anyone to assume employers are not looking at potential hires’ public social media accounts and other online activity, Jarrett seemed to be implying she has access to private information.
“I don't think she was being funny,” Stu said. “Look, you're an idiot if you don't think your employers are looking over your publicly available Facebook and Twitter – anything that they can find.
“She was talking about non-publicly available [information],” Pat clarified. “She always checks out everything they've been doing online, and I do believe that [she has] amazing ways of finding out… I don't think our kids have any concept of what they're doing with their lives with Twitter and with Facebook and Instagram and Pinterest and all these things they're doing. They don't have any idea how badly this is going to come back to bite them.”