Get ready to visit the United States at the expense of your online privacy. Yes, you read it correctly. You may have to reveal your social media login details to the Department of Homeland Security Immigration Authorities on your next visit to the US either with a tourist visa or immigrant visa.
The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has approached the government to let them access the social media accounts of those applying for immigrant or tourist visas to the United States. If the proposal is approved, sharing of social media details will become a fundamental norm to enter the US. And visitors will have to comply with it while filling the entry form or applying for an Electronic System for Travel Authorization visa (ESTA).
Those who have already applied for tourist or immigrant visas are not obliged to divulge their Facebook and Twitter account login details as of now. Whether the proposal will become a policy or not, depends on the US government.
The US Customs and Border Protection made this proposal as an additional security measure so that those with suspicious online activities can be singled out of foreign nationals entering the country. With access to social media accounts of foreign nationals, it will be easier for the Department of Homeland Security to check any possible antisocial activity and carry out investigation in the event of a terrorist attack.
Vern Buchanan, a member of the US Congress, is the strongest voice backing the proposal to scrutinize social media profiles of tourists and immigrants for fool-proof security. Mandatory screening of one’s online presence and social media activity is the need of the hour for absolute digital security, according to him.
The US government is divided in opinion about the proposal. Some opine that collecting one’s personal details is an unjust act of violating one’s right to privacy, while some think that one’s privacy can be compromised for the sake of the country and its people in the current scenario of rampant terrorism in western countries.