First they came for the immigrants…..
The Department of Homeland Security is proposing a new regulation that would give itself the power to track all social media exchanges involving immigrants. Of course, it does this in the name of security, don’t ya know.
The regulation was introduced last week and would grant the agency the power (granted by its own regulation) to collect all data from immigrants. The opportunity for the DHS to test their ability to undertake such a massive task, out in the open, promises to held DHS learn great lessons in how to more effectively track people.
Every U.S. immigrant’s social media history could get new scrutiny starting Oct. 18.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) quietly introduced a new regulation last week that would allow the agency to collect data from all immigrants’ social media history, including posts from their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. It would also affect green card holders and naturalized citizens. The new provision, introduced to the Federal Register on Sept. 18, was first spotted by BuzzFeed News.
Digital privacy at the borders has increasingly become an issue for immigrants trying to enter the U.S.
Border patrol agents said in July that they wouldn’t search through a person’s cloud data. On Sept. 13, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation sued the DHS after 11 travelers had their laptops and phones searched without warrants at U.S. borders. It’s been reported that border agents have also been checking people’s Facebook profiles. The State Department in May said it wanted to search through five years of social media history to grant U.S. visas. (However, border patrol agents said in July that they wouldn’t search through a person’s cloud data.)
Last week’s regulatory update appears to continue the collection and retention of data on immigrants’ social media activity long after they’ve crossed the border. The rules would amass data on all immigrants, including green card holders and naturalized citizens, and contain details like handles, aliases and search results. Homeland Security could also collect data on anybody who communicates with an immigrant, according to BuzzFeed.