DHS Planning to Monitor, Collect Social Media Information on All Immigrants to US

By CircleID Reporter

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a new rule under the Privacy Act of 1974 in the Federal Register last week, detailing how it intends to expand the information it collects when determining a person's immigration status to include social media handles and potentially even search histories. Newsweek reports: "[New requirement] is due to take effect on October 18 — the same day that immigration restrictions pronounced on Sunday by President Donald Trump on citizens of eight countries come into force. ... The move is the latest in what appears to be heightened levels of social media surveillance under the Trump administration. In May, the administration approved a new questionnaire that required visa applicants to input their social media handles for the past five years." The move has alarmed lawyers and privacy groups worried about how the information will be used. Adam Schwartz, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told BuzzFeed, "[w]e see this as part of a larger process of high-tech surveillance of immigrants and more and more people being subjected to social media screening… This would also affect all US citizens who communicate with immigrants who could self-censor out of fear that information they exchange with someone overseas could be misconstrued and used against them."

Related topics: Policy & Regulation, Privacy, Web