Authorities in the US are now demanding all visitors to the country to provide their social media details before being allowed into the country. In a new set of rules published recently, the Department of Homeland Security, the body that handles all immigration issues in the US, has said that all visitors who want to take advantage of the US VISA waiver programs and visit the US will have to provide all the details about their online presence.
The new changes affect those individuals keen on using the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) and the Form 1-94W. People intending to travel to travel to the United States under the VISA waiver program that allows people to move to the US as their VISAs are being processed will have to provide detailed information about their online presence, according to the new changes proposed by the DHS.
Authorities say that the new changes are calculated towards improving the level of national security. The new changes, which were conceived by the Customs Border Protection, a small Division within the DHS, are meant to screen out individuals who pose a danger to national security.
Among the details that would-be travellers are required to provide as part of the application process are the names that they use on the various social media platforms, particulars about the countries that they have travelled to in the past and whether they are citizens of any other country.
By capturing these details, the DHS expects to quickly identify individuals who are associated with terror groups and successfully weed them out of the VISA waiver programs.
But campaigners have been arguing that the new rules are intrusive. Critics have been pointing out that the new requirements mean that the US government is forcing travellers to reveal a lot of their private information during the process of applying for a VISA.
This argument by critics that the government is accessing a lot of private information of individuals by asking would-be travellers to fill in the main details about their social lives contradicts what many see as the noble intentions of the federal government.
Given the vast number of individuals who would like to visit the US, it is clear that the furore about th6e new rules will remain for a long time.