The US Govt. has come-up again with another bold move to intensify the vetting process as promised by Donald Trump during his elections. Now the US State Government has proposed a new rule that mandates the US Visa applicants to submit a 5 year worth of their Social Media Data.
What that means is that the US state govt. will have an access to all your social media content for the last 5 years. The proposal covers as many as 20 major social media platforms: Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, YouTube, Google-Plus, Tumblr, VK, Twoo, Tencent Weibo, Ask.fm and more.
It all began at the end of 2016, when the Obama administration, started collecting information of select visitors entering the country. It was in May 2017 the officials were told to seek the social media but only for identity confirmation or in case of extreme security vetting. But this new proposal covers a broader spectrum of people affecting as many as 710,000 immigrants and 14 million non-immigrant visa applicants.
What do the Social Media Platforms say?
Though it was not made clear which social media platforms would be subjected to the review, Facebook has made its stand clear in a statement “We oppose any efforts to force travelers at the border to turn over their private account information, including passwords.”
The proposal put forth by the US state government is subject to approval by the Office of Management and Budget. And the public is given two months to share their views on the proposal before the proposal is given approval by the authorities.
Civil liberties group in the US have already condemned the proposal calling it an invasion over privacy and free speech and their claims have gained widespread support from the international community as well. The backlash of this magnitude will surely be taken into account by the authorities and this proposal would be soon declined says the Immigration experts in India, weighing-in their opinions too.
“The incidents that happened in the past may be the reason for officials to take the social media path. Since people share a lot of details on social media in personal chats or on posts, the actual intention of the person can be revealed. This proposal will not go forward as the public would certainly veto it,” says Subhakar Alapati, Director of Global Tree Overseas Education and Immigration Consultancy.
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Mr. Subhakar Alapati,