Congress Must Protect Internet Privacy Rights

CISPA

Target: U.S. Senate

Goal: Block invasive legislation that would give employers access to their employees’ Facebook pages.

If the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) passes the Senate in an upcoming vote, employers will be able to legally demand Facebook login information from their employees. This measure is a breach of privacy for American citizens, and many are shocked that it has successfully passed through the House. While the Obama administration will likely veto the bill if it is not thoroughly reformed, it would be best if our Senate would block this act in the next vote. Sign this petition and urge them to say no to government overreach.

Democrat Representative Ed Perlmutter sought to add an amendment to the act that would ban employers from requesting private social media information from their employees, hoping that this would allow the government to share classified information with corporations without violating personal liberties. The amendment was blocked by Congress in a 288-127 vote. If CISPA passes the Senate, employees may be forced to provide access to their Facebook pages, or risk losing their jobs instead.

Though many members of Congress believe that employer access to Facebook is a necessary step in allowing the government to share classified “cyber threat information” with companies, Rep. Perlmutter’s understanding of social media privacy aligns with most citizens of the country. “People have an expectation of privacy when using social media like Facebook and Twitter. They have an expectation that their right to free speech and religion will be respected when they use social media outlets.” Members of Congress who want the act passed are overstepping their bounds.

Still, adherents to the bill claim that American corporations are suffering because patents are frequently stolen by foreign hackers, namely China. Representative Mike Rogers (R-MI) supports the bill, claiming it protects privacy and civil liberty, and is “the answer to empower cyber information sharing.” This could not be farther from the truth.

Minority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, disagrees and claims that such information does not directly relate to cyber threats, therefore it is unnecessary to give over access to the government. The Obama Administration also opposes the overreach and has threatened to veto CISPA, stating privacy concerns as the bill is currently written. Amendments must either be added to protect employees from government interference, or the bill must be rid of for good. Urge our Senators to protect citizen privacy and vote down CISPA.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear U.S. Senate,

In the past, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act has been voted down twice. This year, it has come back full force and again threatens the freedom of American citizens. Representative Ed Perlmutter attempted a solution by proposing an amendment that would prevent employers from legally obtaining employee Facebook login information. The amendment was blocked by Congress, and now citizens face a blatant breach of privacy.

Social media outlets allow for freedom of speech, religion, and opinion without repercussions from businesses. While much of this information is posted publicly, users have a right to make information private and keep it that way if they desire. Employers have no right of access, and therefore CISPA as it currently stands is an overreach and explicitly unconstitutional.  Please block this measure in the Senate and protect the privacy of American citizens.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Jonathan Brown via Flickr

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