Visiting US May Mean Handing Over Facebook And Twitter Passwords, Says Department Of Homeland Security

9 February 2017, 12:00 pm EST By Samantha Dean Tech Times
Those intending to visit the U.S. may have to surrender their Facebook and Twitter passwords to the border security agents. The new rule may become a part of the Homeland Security's protocol.  ( Justin Sullivan | Getty Images )

Planning a visit to the U.S.? Your passport is not the only thing you may have to turn in at the immigration counter, be prepared to relinquish your social media account passwords as well to the border security agents.

That's right! According to a new protocol from the Homeland Security that is under consideration, visitors to the U.S. may have to give their Twitter and Facebook passwords to the border security agents.

The news comes close on the heels of the Trump administration issuing the immigration ban, which resulted in a massive state of confusion at airports, where several people were debarred from entering the country.

John F. Kelly, the Homeland Security Secretary, shared with the Congress on Feb. 7 that the Trump administration was considering this option. The measure was being weighed as a means to sieve visa applications and sift through refugees from the Muslim majority countries that are under the 90-day immigration ban.

Why Social Media Passwords For Scanning People?

Kelly, recently acknowledged that a delay in the roll out of the immigration ban would have been better, and has now suggested that all those who are planning to visit the U.S., could need to surrender their Twitter and Facebook passwords to the border agents as a part of the recent protocol.

"We want to get on their social media, with passwords: What do you do, what do you say? If they don't want to cooperate then you don't come in," he shared.

He asserted that asking for peoples social media passwords was one of the few ideas that was being considered, but nothing was written in stone. What has prompted the proposed measure is the thought process that additional security layers are required to separate the genuine from those who are not.

On the other hand, asking for people's social media passwords may lead to breach of privacy.

Border Security May Want Financial Details

Homeland Security may not just be satisfied with your social media passwords and could also want financial details as Kelly mentioned that they were looking to obtain these records. The logic is that these records will help the government ascertain the money trail, how a person is living and who sends them the money.

"It applies under certain circumstances, to individuals who may be involved in on the payroll of terrorist organizations," he noted.

According to an Internal Department Memo, asking for a visitor's social media account passwords was also considered by the Homeland Security during the Obama administration as well. However, the protocol was never adopted by them.

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