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Public Statements

Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. PERLMUTTER. Mr. Speaker, the House has heard this before. It's very simple, sweet and direct, and I will take a moment and just read it so that everybody has a chance to understand it again. What we're doing is avoiding and prohibiting an employer, as a condition of employment, from demanding a confidential Facebook password--Twitter, Tumblr--or any social media of the like. It reads this way:

Nothing in this act or the amendments made by this act shall be construed to permit an employer, a prospective employer, or the Federal Government to require the disclosure of a confidential password for a social networking Web site or a personal account of an employee or job applicant without a court order; or permit the Federal Government to establish a mechanism to control United States citizens' access to and use of the Internet through the creation of a national Internet firewall, similar to the ``Great Internet Firewall of China'', as determined by the Director of National Intelligence.

So what this amendment does is two things. It is the final amendment to this bill. There are no more amendments to this bill. I know some people voted against this amendment when it was brought up a couple of weeks ago; and for those of you who regret voting against it, you're going to get a chance to correct that vote. This is something I've been working on with Mr. Heinrich and Mr. McHenry. It just says we're not going to allow as a condition of employment the requirement of a Facebook password or the like. Now, there is a reason for this.

One, there is all sorts of personal information that I may have or that somebody else may have with respect to Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn, whatever it might be; and they're entitled to have an expectation of privacy, a sense that their freedom of speech--their freedom to peaceably assemble, in effect--is not violated. So that's the first reason.

The second reason is if an employer or the Federal Government poses as somebody, by having their Facebook passwords, then they can impersonate; they can become imposters. It is a two-way exchange of information so that somebody who is completely unrelated to the employment now is communicating with an impostor. That's another reason for this.

The third reason is for the employers, themselves, to avoid liability by learning information that may then cause them to take actions that would violate a protected group. So there are at least three good reasons to do this.

We have precedent in our law, and it is the Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988. We said we're not going to allow as a condition of employment the use of lie detectors. You can use background checks, and you can use references. There are plenty of vehicles by which to check out somebody's employment references; but we're not going to allow lie detectors, and we should not allow that the Facebook passwords be given up as a condition of employment. So we have precedent in the law. We don't allow polygraphs or lie detectors as a condition of employment. Let's use what we already have--background checks, references, et cetera.

The second piece of this is that we will not allow the command and control of the Internet or access to the Internet by the United States Government, saying that which is similar: that we want to avoid what has happened in China, that we want to avoid what has happened in Iran. We don't want the Internet taken down and our access, individuals' access, to the Internet broken.

So there are two pieces to this. One is not allowing the demand of a confidential password and not allowing the government to have the command and control and the ability to take down the Internet, an action similar to what we've seen in other countries.

This is a very simple amendment. It's very straightforward. We've had a lot of amendments that have garnered the support of virtually every Member of this House. This should be one of those. This is the final amendment. I would hope that we would uphold the Constitution by passing this amendment, as well as by making sure that the Internet is available to anyone who wants to use it at any time.

With that, I yield back the balance of my time.


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