The United States Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Customs and Border Protection has started collecting information of social media accounts of all visitors entering the United States. This is in response to the San Bernardino shootings that happened recently.
The collected information is being used by the authorities to track any nefarious or suspicious activities that could result in a troubling security situation for their country. This in line with their plans to stop immigrants/ terrorists from entering their country with the sole aim of hurting the citizens and their interests on American soil.
These changes were proposed by the Department of Homeland Security in July, 2016 in order to meet the requirements of the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015. The act itself was passed in response to the San Bernardino shootings.
Visa applicants and visitors have to give details of the various social media accounts that they have. This includes Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, Pintrest, Google, etc. Travelers will be put under surveillance long before they travel and any suspicious activity may result in you losing your visa.
Handing over this information is voluntary, but it is anybody’s guess as to what will happen if you refuse to give this information. The process of visiting the US is long and confusing for some. Any unwillingness on the part of the applicant to hide information may also raise red flags for the applicant in future.
Many people believe that this is like clamping down on the civil liberties of citizens and is an invasion of their privacy. There are very few takers for this point of view amongst major security agencies as there have been far too many terrorists incidents which have resulted in the loss of many American lives.