Tourists may soon be required to hand over passwords and usernames to social media accounts before entering the US.
According to the Wall Street Journal, President Trump is considering “extreme vetting” which will also include visitors from the US’ allies including the UK, Germany and France.
“We will do it when we think there’s a reason to do it,” US Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told a US Senate committee hearing last week. “The vast majority of people will not be questioned in that way.” However, he did not elaborate on the plans.
Mr Kelly suggested in February that asking for passwords may become an option. “We want to say for instance, ‘What sites do you visit? And give us your passwords,’ so that we can see what they do on the internet. If they don’t want to give us that information then they don’t come,” he told the congressional Homeland Security Committee.
It is believed that Border officials will have the power refuse entry to any tourist who fails to comply with the new rules. Changing passwords and two-factor recognition are all options but this just heighten suspicion.
There are plenty of examples of visitors being required to hand over phones so that they can be checked for political views that are not in line with US thinking.
The US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) told the Guardian last year: “All international travellers arriving to the US are subject to CBP inspection. This inspection may include electronic devices such as computers, disks, drives, tapes, mobile phones and other communication devices, cameras, music and other media players and any other electronic or digital devices.
“Keeping America safe and enforcing our nation’s laws in an increasingly digital world depends on our ability to lawfully examine all materials entering the US.”