Planning a trip to the US? The government would like your social media information
We live in a surveillance state and we all know it. We sort of knew it before the Edward Snowden revelations, but afterwards had a real sense of just how far it went. Apparently it is still, to this day, trying to reach further, and in this case it affects people who simply travel to the nation, even for simple things like vacation or business.
If US Customs and Border Control has its way, people will have to hand over their Twitter handle right in the airport. While an argument can be made for such heavy-handed tactics -- looking for Jihadist tweets, etc -- it is largely unjustified.
A proposal has been made, though it has not yet passed. The request does ask for further public comment, stating "CBP invites the general public and other Federal agencies to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-13)".
The Department of Homeland Security is obviously in favor of this measure, claiming it will increase scrutiny of those stepping on US soil, though how much security it really adds is open to interpretation. Twitter is already a public forum and no doubt keywords are checked by the NSA.
The Hacker News points out the slippery slope here. "The Canadian spy agency tracks foreign, easy travelers even days after they left the terminal, by capturing their device identification from the free Wi-Fi hotspots at a major Canadian airport, according to documents revealed by Edward Snowden".
The question has also been asked if anyone with something bad planned will actually reveal their account. You're welcome to have more than one account, so it's easy to reveal the normal one and not the one where you follow questionable people.
You can voice your concerns over the rather obvious problems and privacy issues involved in this proposal. At this point, it's only Twitter, but that could be just the start.