Visiting the States? US Customs Wants to Check Out Your Social Media

The US Customs Agency wants to get to know foreign travelers a little more… intimately.

Earlier this month, the agency submitted a proposal to add a new item to the travel forms that non-citizens have to fill out when entering or leaving the country: “Please enter information associated with your online presence — Provider/Platform — Social media identifier.”

The form would then have blank spaces for travelers to write down their usernames, handles, gamertags or whatever other online IDs they might think of.

According to the proposal, the data gathered would be used as part of the vetting process for foreign visitors and shared with the Department of Homeland Security to help detect potential threats.

“Collecting social media data will enhance the existing investigative process and provide DHS greater clarity and visibility to possible nefarious activity and connections by providing an additional tool set which analysts and investigators may use to better analyze and investigate the case,” the proposal reads.

Of course, the proposal is still just that: a proposal. The public has until Aug. 22 to submit comments before the change will be formally considered by lawmakers in Washington. Providing social media information would also be optional (for now), so foreign travelers could simply refuse to hand over their info even if the proposal gets approved.

Still, it serves as yet another example of the increasingly important role our online personas play in our everyday lives. Don’t be surprised if the Customs Agency adds you on Snapchat next time you do some traveling!

Read more from NY Daily News and The Verge.


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