The U.S. State Department is now requiring nearly all applicants for U.S. visas to submit their social media usernames, previous email addresses and phone numbers*. It’s a vast expansion of the Trump administration’s enhanced screening of potential immigrants and visitors. The change is expected to affect about 15 million foreigners who apply for visas to enter the U.S. each year. Social media, email and phone number histories had only been sought in the past from applicants who were identified for extra scrutiny, such as people who’d traveled to areas controlled by terrorist organizations. The new rules apply to virtually all applicants for immigrant and non-immigrant visas, also requiring a list of all social media accounts over the previous five years. Having a few made a few posts critical of Trump, I think my hopes of visiting the U .S just went south (pardon the pun). And if asked, I also belonged to a subversive group years ago you may have heard of… the Cub Scouts.
Would your social media use concern you, applying for a visa to the U.S.?
(* Note: ‘Wildly excessive’ for U.S. to ask visa applicants for social media details says a civil liberties expert)
(Source: CBC; Image: Diane Vacca)