Privacy should be a matter near and dear to all of our hearts. But if it were up to US Customs, that is changing shortly. The institution proposed forcing travelers to give up their social media account details when traveling. It is anybody’s guess as to why this would matter to them, but it is safe to say this is another so-called “anti-terrorism” precaution.
Travelling To The US Becomes Less Appealing
For some unknown reason, the US Department of Homeland Security wants to know everything about everyone at any given time. To make matters even worse, they want permission to demand travelers for their social media account names. Or to be more precise, this rule would apply to everyone traveling to the US in the future.
While the proposal makes a mention of how this data field would be optional, the DHS has a keen interest in what consumers do on social media. A request was made to the Federal Register yesterday to have this proposal approved. Apparently, the US Customs department wants to “vet” travelers coming to the US. Moreover, they want to increase the amount of contact information for the travelers and anyone they may need to contact in case of an emergency.
But the real reason this information field would be added is to investigate travelers. Albeit social media accounts only tell one side of who we are and what we do, it would give DHS valuable insights into our daily lives. After all, we are all open about the illegal things we have done in the past when talking on social media. Who will verify this information, and how will they go about it? No one knows.
What is more disconcerting is how DHS would be able to profile travelers based on this information. Not everyone uses social media to tell their life story or share cute cat pictures and videos. Such a request should never be approved by the Federal Register, even if it is an optional data field on the form.
The public is invited to make their voice be heard on this proposal, and they have until August 22nd to do so. To be more precise, concerns can be sent in written form, as there is no online feedback page available at this time. It is doubtful these letters will make any difference, though, as the recipient is the Paperwork Reduction Act Officer.
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