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Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. PERLMUTTER. Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to offer this final amendment to this bill. It does not kill the bill or send it back to the committee. If adopted, as the Speaker just mentioned, it would move immediately to final passage.

Now, I want to just take a moment, because I know everybody was listening very closely to the Clerk's reading of the amendment a few minutes ago, but there are two paragraphs that I think are very important--they're very simple and they're very direct--about privacy, individuals' right to privacy, their reasonable expectation of privacy.

And I would just say, my friend, Mr. Rogers, stated, in discussing and debating the bill as a whole, it is paramount to protect an individual's right to privacy, and I couldn't agree with him more.

So this amendment says nothing in this act or the amendments made by this act shall be construed to:

One, 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

Two, permit the Federal Government to establish a mechanism to control a United States citizen's 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 boil that down, those are two pretty direct and simple paragraphs. Boil it down, as a condition of employment, you can't be made to give up a password to your Twitter account, your Facebook account, your LinkedIn account, your other social media types of accounts.

Now, have we done something like this in the past? Absolutely. And I'd remind the Members that in the eighties, there was a requirement, or there was an effort on the part of employers to get people to take polygraph tests, to take lie detector tests.

We, here in the Congress, said that's just not going to be a proper condition of employment. You can do background checks; you can ask for references; you can do a number of things, but we're not going to allow lie detector tests as a condition of employment. We said an employer shall not require, request, suggest, or cause an employee or prospective employee to take or submit to any lie detector test as a condition of employment.

Now, this thing has exploded as social media has exploded so that people are being asked for their private passwords to these various social media networks. And I would refer the House to an article in Yahoo! News from last year, which says, ``Employers ask jobseekers for Facebook passwords.''

A gentleman was seeking employment as a consultant in New York. The H.R. person wanted to see his profile, asked him for his password, for instance. He said no. He was no longer allowed to apply for that particular job.

A law professor at George Washington University here said, ``It's akin to requiring someone's house keys,'' said the law professor and former Federal prosecutor, who calls it ``an egregious violation of privacy.''

This is a very simple amendment that really does two things: it helps the individual protect his right to privacy, and it doesn't allow the employer to impersonate that particular employee when other people are interacting with that person across social media platforms. So for two reasons: one, that an individual's right to privacy shouldn't be breached just because he's seeking employment; and, two, the employer shouldn't be in a position to impersonate that individual who's seeking a job. It's very clear. We've done it with respect to polygraph, lie detector tests. We should do it now.

This is an amendment that, whether you're a Democrat or a Republican, should be part of our law. And so with that, Mr. Speaker, I ask for a ``yes'' vote on this final amendment to the bill.

I yield back the balance of my time.


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