By Aaron Kesel
The U.S. State Department has announced that people traveling to the U.S. for work or for studying abroad will have to hand over five years worth of their social media information, email addresses, and phone numbers to apply for a visa, NY Times reported.
Authorities estimated the proposal would affect nearly 15 million people annually according to figures last year by Associated Press.
Certain diplomatic and official visa applicants will be exempt from the insane privacy violations.
However, people traveling to the U.S. to work or to study will have to hand over all their personal information before they are even allowed into the U.S.
“We are constantly working to find mechanisms to improve our screening processes to protect U.S. citizens while supporting legitimate travel to the United States,” the department reportedly said.
The idea of collecting social media information of visa applicants started during the Obama administration following the 2015 San Bernardino attack, WSJ reported.
U.S. Customs and Borders Protection (CBP) a component agency of DHS, first made the proposal in June 2016 under the Obama administration, Trump just carried on the policy for his “extreme vetting” which he promised during his campaign.
Starting in May 2017 and standardized in October 2017, State Department consulate officials began collecting social media information, phone numbers, and email addresses for the past five years from “certain immigrant and nonimmigrant visa applicants worldwide who have been determined to warrant additional scrutiny in connection with terrorism, national security-related, or other visa ineligibilities.”
Last year, Activist Post reported that the Trump administration was cracking down on your rights, employing more surveillance with a proposed State Department form would require all U.S. visa applicants, both immigrant and non, to disclose social media handles used from up to five years ago,