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Security: DHS to Ramp Up Social Media Monitoring of Of us Coming into the Country


Security: DHS police outside a courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia.
DHS police outside a courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia.
Photo: Zach Gibson (Getty Photos)

The Department of Hometown Security is stepping up the authorities’s existing program of worrying folk coming into the nation quit the particulars of their presence on social media, CNN reported on Friday.

Whereas the Sigh Department already mandates that simply about all visa applicants sing U.S. officers of the names of any accounts they’ve maintained within the closing 5 years on a tall quantity of websites, a source on the DHS stated that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Products and companies (USCIS) and Customs and Border Security will now be requesting that data on more forms. These contain requests for naturalization and asylum (within the latter case regarding refugees). CNN wrote:

The updated data series will affect nine US Citizenship and Immigration Products and companies applications for immigration benefits, equivalent to applications for naturalization and asylum, as smartly as three Customs and Border Security forms—for visa waivers, visa updates and the Electronic System for Journey Authorization story.

That is the principle time Citizenship and Immigration Products and companies would require social media accounts and handles on these applications, essentially based totally on a DHS legitimate. It’s unclear whether Customs and Border Security became as soon as accumulating this data within the previous.

ACLU National Security Conducting senior workers attorney Hugh Handeyside told CNN that the increased requests are “a reflection of the extent to which U.S. authorities agencies gain if reality be told expanded spend of social media surveillance.” He added that the chance agencies will “misinterpret” on-line postings or otherwise spend them against will “inevitably abate freedom of speech.”

In step with ZDNet, a DHS test on the federal registry reveals that they concept to demand “immigrants, asylum seekers, and refugees” present usernames for 19 sites: Ask.fm, Douban, Fb, Flickr, Instagram, LinkedIn, MySpace, Pinterest, QZone (QQ), Reddit, Sina Weibo, Tencent Weibo, Tumblr, Twitter, Twoo, Vine, VKontakte, Youke, and YouTube. As ZDNet authorized, DHS stated earlier this 365 days that lying or withholding data on these forms would possibly maybe well well additionally significantly influence whether or no longer a given particular person is in a job to stable approval for requests.

Moreover, in lots of incidents, U.S. border officers gain reportedly denied entry to people after browsing their telephones and acquiring evidence as scant as who they be conscious on social media. In one excessive-profile incident, a Harvard pupil from Lebanon stated he became as soon as denied entry due to the a border agent searched his phone and came all the intention by that his social media accounts adopted folk expressing “political aspects of idea that oppose the U.S.”—with immigration officers below no circumstances publicly explaining what they came all the intention by so objectionable.

In step with CNN, a Brennan Heart document came all the intention by that in 2016, a temporary equipped by DHS to Donald Trump’s administration stated that “the info within the accounts did no longer yield sure, articulable links to national security considerations, even for these applicants who had been came all the intention by to pose a potential national security threat essentially based totally on totally different security screening outcomes.”

The DHS legitimate that spoke with CNN stated that the series of social media particulars would create the “review of publicly on hand social media data more surroundings favorable,” including that USCIS would retailer the info from two forms for as a lot as 12 years, whereas CBP’s Electronic Visa Update System archives the info for 12 years. Any data linked to law enforcement shall be “accessible for the life of the law enforcement activities,” the legitimate told CNN.

The DHS has also no longer too long within the past attain below fire for telling USCIS brokers that they would possibly maybe maybe well well resume the practice of constructing faux social media accounts to show screen publi

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