The US is considering new rules that would require longer and more extensive interviews at embassies prior to travel, forcing foreigneers to hand over their phones and questioning about ideologies — and not just for Muslims, or travelers from Muslim majority countries either.
Foreigners who want to visit the U.S., even for a short trip, could be forced to disclose contacts on their mobile phones, social-media passwords and financial records, and to answer probing questions about their ideology, according to Trump administration officials conducting a review of vetting procedures.
Copyright: prestonia / 123RF Stock Photo
This is the plan for ‘extreme vetting’ that’s under development currently. While the administration’s travel ban executive order was enjoined by the judiciary, development of new strenuous travel procedures called for by the executive order continues. And new procedures may be extended even to travelers from Visa Waiver Program countries.
This would include “asking applicants to hand over their telephones so officials could examine their stored contacts and perhaps other information” and asking travelers “for their social-media handles and passwords so that officials could see information posted privately in addition to public posts.” Currently social media account information is a voluntary request, and there’s generally no request for passwords (so privately posted information isn’t available).
The goal is to “figure out who you are communicating with,” the senior DHS official said. “What you can get on the average person’s phone can be invaluable.”
…“We want to say for instance, ‘What sites do you visit? And give us your passwords,’ so that we can see what they do on the internet,” Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said at a congressional hearing in February. “If they don’t want to give us that information then they don’t come.”
Copyright: andreyuu / 123RF Stock Photo
According to the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General there hasn’t been much evaluation of whether the request for social media accounts has made any contribution to security especially since requesting the information may be changing the social media practices of anyone actually intending harm while imposing a burden on those who aren’t.