People are going to have to give up their phone and social media information when they enter the US, according to plans reportedly in place from the Trump administration.
New plans for “extreme vetting” will see people hand over almost all of the information on their phone as well as going through other tests like questions about their “ideology”, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Throughout his presidential campaign, Donald Trump repeatedly committed to introduce extreme vetting to make it harder to enter the US, which he claimed would stop possible terror attacks against the US. Now the plans for such intense checks on foreigners entering the country are being put together.
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It follows the first of those extreme vetting measures, which banned people from a range of Muslim-majority countries from entering the US.
The new rules will considerably increase the demands on anyone looking for a visa into the US, whether they are coming to live, work or just for a holiday. They are expected to apply not just to the countries covered by the Muslim ban but to all foreigners, including those who participate in the Visa Waiver Program that allows people from countries like the UK to enter the US more easily.
As well as requiring passwords and questionnaires, people might be asked to surrender their financial information, a senior official at the Department for Homeland Security told the Wall Street Journal.
Civil liberties groups and other activists have repeatedly warned that requiring people’s passwords and other personal information is an assault on fundamental human rights.
Some visitors have already had their phones and other computers examined when they attempt to enter the US. But it hasn’t ever been a routine or required part of US policy before.
Taking that information will let officials find out “who you are communicating with”, the official told the Wall Street Journal. “What you can get on the average person’s phone can be invaluable.”
As well as taking phones, officials will ask for social media passwords and logins so that people can see private posts. Some people have already been asked for usernames and logins so that public posts can be checked through – but the new change could give immigration officials access to people’s most private messages and information.