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US Demands Social Media Details on Visa Applicants

And so the madness continues. According to a news report on the BBC website, the US will require visa applicants to submit their social media details. The State Department regulations will be able to ask visa applicants for their social media handles along with five years worth of email addresses and phone numbers. It is the equivalent of handing your computers and mobile devices unlocked so they may be scoured for ‘questionable contacts and content’. Hundreds of millions of data sets will be made available to them allowing them to analyze and extrapolate hypothetical threats.

In the footsteps of China, a Trump America wants blanket permission to hold you accountable for people in your contact lists and for everything you have ever published on social media. In 2014, China initiated a social credit system whereby your reputation and worth on social media would have real-life ramifications The scheme, which is to be fully implemented by 2020, helps to monitor the it’s massive population’s behavior rewarding good behavior and penalizing the bad.

Security is paramount and there must be great scrutiny on those who are granted access to the US, but at what cost? How is this different than the accusation that Huawei is using its devices to spy on American citizens? The difference is that the US Immigration is ‘asking you’ to surrender your information so you may be scrutinized with your knowledge.

In addition to the access intelligence services already have to the telecom and technology companies and social media sites, embassies around the world will become collection agencies for even more data points to infringe on the privacy of millions of citizens of various countries. This policy shift will need countries to rethink their own legislation on right to privacy and what the US Government is allowed to do once they have your data with them.

This policy shift will need countries to rethink their own legislation on right to privacy and what the US Government is allowed to do once they have your data with them.

Social media by design was meant to be for increasing social interaction and discussion regardless of physical, geographical borders. Before Twitter became the unofficial pulpit for so many influencers and politicians, social media was always meant for the informal, knee-jerk responses you would otherwise never do in the real world. While it is important to follow at least a loose code of conduct, giving Big Brother unfettered access to the personal spaces, is a serious invasion of personal privacy and infringement of the right to privacy laws.

Security is paramount and there must be great scrutiny on those who are granted access to the US, but at what cost? How is this different than the accusation that Huawei is using its devices to spy on American citizens? The difference is that the US Immigration is ‘asking you’ to surrender your information so you may be scrutinized with your knowledge.

What happens on the web, stays there forever. If there was ever a time for your reactions to come back and bite you in the ass, this is it.

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