- A last minute alteration to CISPA was defeated in a Congress vote
- It would have protected user’s social media passwords from employers
- The late amendment was put forward by Democrat Ed Perlmutter
By STEVE NOLAN, 23 April 2013 Published in UK Daily Mail
An attempt to ban US bosses from asking employees to hand over their Facebook login details has been blocked by Congress.
A last minute alteration to the controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) that would have prevented employers demanding that prospective employees disclose social media passwords as a condition of employment was voted down in the house of representatives.
The proposal, put forward by Democrat Ed Perlmutter was defeated by a 224-189 majority, according to the Huffington Post.
Perlmutter said of his amendment before it was defeated: ‘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. He warned of an invasion of privacy and the potential of employers to ‘impersonate’ employees online.
The Democrat initially proposed the password privacy measure as part of the Federal Communications Commission Process Reform Act of 2012 and warned that social media users have a reasonable expectation of privacy.
Blocked: The amendment to CISPA was put forward by Democrat Ed Permutter who says that social media users have an expectation of privacy.
In a statement he added: ‘They have an expectation that their right to free speech and religion will be respected when they use social media outlets.
‘No American should have to provide their confidential personal passwords as a condition of employment.’
Perlmutter faced criticism from bill sponsor Mike Rogers who claimed that he was trying to kill the act. He said that the issue should be addressed in separate legislation.
But previous attempts to counteract the increasing trend of employers asking for prospective employees social networking login details have failed. The Password Protection Act 2012 was introduced to Senators and Congressman but was not passed.
The overall act would allow the US Government and private companies such as Facebook to share information with one another should they come under cyber attack.
But critics of the contentious bill, which initially failed when it was rejected by Senators last year, say that it would bypass privacy laws and allow companies to hand over users’ information to the Government. They claim that it would prevent companies who hand over people’s personal details from facing legal action and effectively justify social media spying.
But CISPA recieved support from both Democrats and Republicans in the House of Representatives.
Although the Act was ratified by the House of Representatives, there is a good chance that it could yet fall through. CISPA was also approved by Congress in April 2012, but was rejected by the Senate. The White House even threatened to veto the act at the time.
Republicans Mike Rogers and Dutch Ruppersberger have once again put CISPA forward as they say that it is vital that companies have the ability to stop threats materializing in light of an increase in the number of foreign cyber attacks from countries like China.
Facebook initially came out in support of CISPA, but its name has since disappeared from a list of firms fully supporting the bill this time around.
Under threat: CISPA is aimed at allowing companies to share information to thwart potential cyber attacks.
And the social networking site vice president of US Public Policy Joel Kaplan reassured users that Facebook has no intention of sharing sensitive personal information with the Government.
He said: ‘The overriding goal of any cybersecurity bill should be to protect the security of networks and private data, and we take any concerns about how legislation might negatively impact Internet users’ privacy seriously.’
But other big name companies including IBM, Intel, McAfee and Time Warner Cable are in favour of CISPA.