Privacy groups slam DHS social media proposal
By Sean Carberry Aug 23, 2016
The Department of Homeland Security’s proposed policy to collect information on the social media profiles of foreign travelers violates the rights of travelers and their American associates, according to privacy groups.
n a strongly worded rebuke of the proposed Customs and Border Protection policy, the Electronic Frontier Foundation argued that the rule change would do little to enhance national security and would open the door to greater spying on Americans.
Visa Waiver Program (VWP) travelers by adding requests for social media identifiers to the Electronic System for Travel Authorization and I-94W forms.
As FCW reported in June, the rule change came on the heels of a number of policies CBP initiated after criticism from Congress that potential terrorists could be exploiting the VWP, which allows citizens of 38 countries to enter the U.S. without a visa for up to 90 days.
Other human rights groups and civil liberties organizations submitted a joint letter to CBP stating that “DHS collection of online identity information is an intelligence surveillance program clothed as a customs administration mechanism.”
In more supportive comments delivered to CBP, the Center for Data Innovation said that just as universities, employers and lenders check social media profiles of potential clients, DHS should collect social media information from foreign travelers.