US immigration’s travel restrictions have taken a new twist, with ‘extreme vetting’ proposals from President Trump’s administration now suggesting social media account information, including passwords, will be required from travellers wanting access to the country.
Visa applications have collected social media account details for ‘background security’ checks on individual’s personal interests and political beliefs before they are admitted into the USA for months.
But are we ready to hand over our passwords and surrender what’s left of our digital privacy to the US?
Even more concerning, from a private security point of view, are reports that travellers from ‘friendly’ countries to the US, including the UK, are being asked for financial information and bank account details for further background searches to be carried out.
But what are they expecting to find?
Surely anyone with anything to hide will have taken the necessary steps to cover their tracks? In reality, will this not mean that for the rest of us, the ones not committed to a life of terror, our social profiles will become a further stick to beat us with?
A misplaced tweet in our early adulthood or career may turn out to become a solid reason to prevent our entry to the United States, whether for business or pleasure.
Currently, it is unclear what will happen to those who refuse to divulge sensitive password information to US authorities.
What is clear is that changes to travel restrictions around the globe are changing the way we do business. Airlines are finding workarounds to minimise downtime when flying on a work visa.
Further, the ban on handheld devices larger than a mobile phone has been met with airlines allowing flyers to keep their laptops until boarding, locking them securely in the hold, and supplying computers onboard.
Will we be able to work around this latest development, too?