The US government is currently considering the so-called “extreme vetting” scenarios, in which case the security at the airports will be so intense that even the visitors from the allied countries like Germany, UK, and France will be subjected to extreme checks. The Trump administration might even start asking visitors for the social media usernames and passwords, and also their phone’ address book.
John Kelly, the US Homeland Security Secretary has stated that this will be done if the security services feel there’s need to do it and that the majority of people won’t be submitted to this kind of questioning.
This strengthening of the US borders was started by Donald Trump and was one of his promises during the elections. Other forms of security that were already being applied include a ban on bringing laptops and similar electronic devices into the country, which was followed by the UK, and also the temporary ban on any travelers from six countries with Muslims as a majority.
Kelly wanted to start the password asking practice before, in February this year. If this process is accepted, the security will have the right to ask for passwords and details about the websites that the visitors go to. If they don’t give up their account’s passwords, they won’t be allowed into the country.
If the password is changed after the person was allowed to enter the country, or the two-step authentication is turned on, this will only raise the suspicion about the owner of the account.
The idea of the security demanding access to visitors’ accounts has first appeared in January, after Trump’s inauguration, and was already applied several times since then. Ali Hamedani, a British BBC journalist, was one of the victims of this process when he tried to enter the country back in February, and the security demanded that he handed over his phone.
131 non-governmental organizations, firms and companies have formed a coalition and have opposed this idea because it’ll create an “intense chilling effect on individuals”. Some even fear that the other countries might decide to return the favor.
CBP (The US Customs and Border Patrol) has stated that “All international travelers arriving in the US are subject to CBP inspection. This inspection may include electronic devices such as computers, disks, drives, tapes, mobile phones and other communication devices, cameras, music and other media players and any other electronic or digital devices. Keeping America safe and enforcing our nation’s laws in an increasingly digital world depends on our ability to lawfully examine all materials entering the US.”