U.S. Government Starts Asking Foreigners To Disclose Social Media Information [Video]

By , UniversityHerald Reporter

For foreigners entering the U.S., it seems US Customs and Border Protection has started to demand travelers to disclose their Facebook, Twitter, and other social media account information.

According to Politico, selected foreign visitors are made to disclose social media accounts that are said as a move designed to spot potential terrorist threats. Such move is opposed by tech giants and privacy hawks.

According to Politico's report, a government official confirmed the request for information regarding the online presence of those travelers arriving in the U.S. The traveler is asked to provide information on Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube, the user has to provide their account names on these sites.

The controversial policy was proposed this past summer, enraging human rights activists including tech companies. During that time, the lobby group the Internet Association, which represents companies such as Facebook, Google, and Twitter banded with the ACLU to condemn the proposal as an outright violation of privacy, security, and curtailment of free speech, according to The Verge.

Although said policy is voluntary, the move would urge individuals especially those coming from the Middle East and elsewhere to accede to the request for fear of being denied entry. Activists say the information could then be scrutinized without clear and transparent guidelines.

It is ironic that this new form of data collection comes barely a month before the assumption to office of president-elect Donald Trump as POTUS. Incidentally, Trump recently renewed his call for total ban on Muslims entering the US after the bus attack in Berlin.

The change was approved last Dec. 19, according to a spokesperson for the Customs and Border Protection and aims to "identify potential threats." Earlier, though, the agency they will not prevent or prohibit entry to foreigners who opts not to provide their social media accounts information.

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