USA wants social media history for visa applications

by Garry Watts March 31, 2018, 8:41
USA wants social media history for visa applications

CNN notes that the Trump administration still isn't requiring visa applicants hand over their social media passwords, though that is something then-Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly previous year said was being considered.

Expanding the scope of vetting of applicants for USA visas, the Trump administration has now proposed to seek the telephone numbers, email addresses and social media history of the applicants too.

The department estimated 710,000 immigrant visas and 14 million non-immigrant visas will be affected.

He says it could be a tough ask for tired travellers to accurately front up with so much information.

"The use of social media is a wrench in their toolbox". Applicants can also opt to disclose information for social media accounts not on the list.

But the new proposal would add a tangible new requirement for millions of people who apply to visit the United States for work or pleasure, including citizens of such countries as Brazil, China, India and Mexico.

How do you feel about disclosing your social media information when applying for a US visa?

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The State Department will on Friday publish documents on Federal Register, and give the public 60 days to comment on the proposed new requirements.

This proposal comes in line with President Trump's 2016 campaign pledge to harshen security measurements on illegal immigration, and his call for "extreme vetting" of foreigners entering the United States.

Should the measure be put into place, applicants will need to provide certain social media accounts, email addresses, and phone numbers used over the last five years.

Civil liberties groups have condemned the policy as an invasion of privacy that could damage free speech.

"We're also concerned about how the Trump administration defines the vague and over-broad term "terrorist activities" because it is inherently political and can be used to discriminate against immigrants who have done nothing wrong", she said.

The department said it intends not to routinely ask most diplomatic and official visa applicants for the additional information.

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