An employed philosopher who is also a job seeker writes:
"If you are affiliated with a University, you hereby authorize us, and we may disclose your Dossier, related Personal Information and your Dossier's delivery history to your University and its University Users, unless you opt-out of such disclosure in your account settings."
They define “University User” as follows:
"'University User', which means you are an employee, contractor or agent of a University operating in such capacity. A 'University' is a college or university with whom Interfolio has a contractual relationship, generally with the career services department or a specific academic department, to provide services to students, employees and faculty members... "
In practice, it appears that Interfolio only shares your dossier with select individuals at your institution (so called “University Users”). At my department, I know that this includes our placement officer and the department chair. This is alarming. Job applicants who are currently employed at a university may not want their chair or placement officer to know that they are seeking alternative employment or the details of their job search.
Interfolio has a page with what appear to be screenshots of what placement services etc. can see: https://secure.interfolio.com/demo/screenshottour/administrators.cfm
This policy deserves attention for two main reasons. First, Interfolio considers you to be affiliated with a university if you declare it as your affiliation when you sign up. Interfolio does not ask you about the nature of your affiliation. People who are employed at a university are liable to enter their employer as their affiliation. If you declare your current employer as affiliation, your colleagues may have access to your dossier. The placement officer at my institution has told me that they have access to the dossiers of many faculty members at my university, so this is a real concern.
Second, Interfolio does not limit access to individuals in your department. Anyone from your university is equally eligible for access to your dossier. Even for graduate students who don’t have the seeking-other-employment concern, this seems like a serious breach of privacy. For example, I imagine graduate students in ancient philosophy might not want their dossier shared with placement officers in classics departments, whose students might be competing for the same jobs.
This is especially alarming given the sudden widespread usage of Interfolio following the APA’s recent endorsement. For example, my graduate institution is now requiring all job seekers to use Interfolio. People have to know what’s involved in handing over such responsibilities to a private company that, it seems, doesn’t really understand academia.
It’s not clear to me how a “University User” gets to have access to dossiers from their university. But it looks like their university needs to set up a special “University Partner” account with Interfolio. Interfolio has listed a sample of their “University Partners”: