It is not a joke, travellers that ask for a visa waiver entry to the US may be asked to provide their social media details. I’m speaking about a proposal of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that aims to collect more information about the travelers.
The proposal was added to the Federal Register by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) last week.
If the proposal will pass, travelers will have to provide social media details, including login credentials to the US authorities.
The US Government needs to know which social media do you use, and how you do it to profile you.
Don’t worry, revealing this information would not be “mandatory,”
The changes would affect Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) and Form I-94W (Nonimmigrant Visa Waiver Arrival/Departure Record) applications.
Both forms are filled out by aliens and are used to collect information on travellers for their screening.
“DHS proposes to add the following question to ESTA and to Form I-94W:
“Please enter information associated with your online presence—Provider/Platform—Social media identifier.” It will be an optional data field to request social media identifiers to be used for vetting purposes, as well as applicant contact information.” reads the proposal on the Federal Register.
It is possible to submit a public comment by post within 60 days.
Despite the submission of social media details it is optional it is easy to predict that travellers will provide them fearing problems.
“It’s very hard to see travellers not filling out this item – even though it’s optional – as they may fear not getting entry into the country,” Joseph Lorenzo Hall, chief technologist at the Centre for Democracy and Technology, told the BBC. “Democracy in general requires having spaces free from government scrutiny and increasingly social life happens online,”
— Joseph Lorenzo Hall (@JoeBeOne) 23 giugno 2016
“We would have a poor society if people were chilled from participating in social activity online so I really hope they rethink this.”
Recently, the US government has updated its policy on visa waiver programs regarding travellers who had a second citizenship in Iran, Iraq, Syria and Sudan or who had travelled to these countries in the last five years.
The changes to the law state that these visitors will need to apply for a visa.
(Security Affairs – social media details, US)