A recently released application to become a member of Obama's cabinet and administration reveals a new concept for the background check procedure at the White House. In the rapidly changing world of the Internet, many businesses (as many as 74%) do a standard Internet search on new candidates, especially those who will be filling an executive position.
Obama's application is 63 pages long. The New York Times has posted a copy at their website. It consists mostly of traditional background information, but there in addition, there are questions that have never been asked before:
"Writings: Please list, and if readily available, provide a copy of each book, article, column or publication (including but not limited to any posts or comments on blogs or other websites) you have authorized individually or with others. Please list all aliases or 'handles' you have used to communicate on the Internet."
The scope of the check is far reaching. Obama is looking specifically for information that might "suggest a conflict of interest or be a possible source of embarrassment to your family or the President Elect if it were made public..."
It is well known that people in the public eye receive an intense amount of scrutiny and any dirty laundry the media or the competition can find on them will be aired eventually. The Internet poses a specific breed of vulnerability. Every body leaves a trail on the Internet, but the anonymity is often what lures people to be more open and fresh. Obama is attempting the deepest level of character checking by looking at what people do when they feel nobody can see them.