US visa applicants may have to hand over their social media handles

If you're applying for a visa in the United States, the US government may want to follow you on social media.

The State Department wants more United States visa applicants to hand over their social media handles, according to Reuters.

Though the requirement allegedly doesn't apply to anyone of a particular nationality, it would affect anyone "determined to warrant additional scrutiny in connection with terrorism or other national security-related visa ineligibilities."

These applicants would have to list the social media handles they've used in the past five years, though the government wouldn't demand passwords for those handles (even if border agents can and do demand social media passwords from visitors pretty much whenever they like).

Applicants would also have to hand over any phone numbers and email addresses they've used over the past five years, and they'd need to provide the US government with information about their lives that covers the previous 15 years.

President Donald Trump has talked up "extreme vetting" of immigrants and visitors to the US, and has previously targeted several Muslim-majority nations with travel bans and restrictions.

The Trump administration no longer allows passengers to use their own laptops on flights headed for the US that take off from several airports in Muslim-majority nations, and the president signed an executive order in March that barred citizens of Libya, Iran, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, and Syria from acquiring new US visas.

These changes now head to the Office of Management and Budget, which has to decide on them ahead of May 18.

Read the full article here.


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