U.S. Customs proposes adding social media information to visa applications

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer checks a passenger's documentation after arriving to the U.S. (Photo by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.)
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer checks a passenger’s documentation after arriving to the U.S. (Photo by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.)

Twitter, Facebook and other social media information could be part of the visa application process to enter the United States, according to reports by the BBC and the Guardian.

The information on social media accounts would be optional, but the information would “enable the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to perform its mission related to the screening of alien visitors for potential risks to national security and the determination of admissibility to the United States,” according to the proposal’s background posted on the Federal Register.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is proposing adding the following on form I-94W and the Electronic System for Travel Authorization: “Please enter information associated with your online presence—Provider/Platform—Social media identifier.”

The BBC reported that Joseph Lorenzo Hall, chief technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology, spotted the proposal when it was proposed last week.

Hall told the news organization while the information would be optional, many applicants would fill it out for fear of being denied entry.

The proposal is posted to the Federal Register, which also states that the comment period on the proposal ends on Aug. 22.

MSNBC reported that a 2011 proposal to examine social media accounts of visa applicants was rejected by the Department of Homeland Security, but that the San Bernardino shootings revived calls to include social media as part of the application process.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.