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Proposed ‘social media ID, please' law draws outrage

Patrick Thibodeau | Aug. 26, 2016
President Obama’s proposal for foreign travelers is so bad, say critics, it must have been hatched by Donald Trump

The social ID rule is broadly opposed by privacy groups, who asked whether social media postings might be grounds to deny someone U.S. entry. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, among its many objections, said the proposal “does not state what standards” it will use to evaluate social media posts.

“I think there is concern people could be denied (entry) for reasons that are not necessarily warranted," said Betsy Lawrence, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, liaison director, in an interview. “It sort of feels a little bit like a fishing expedition."

Some 30 groups, such as the American Civil Liberties Association and the Committee to Protect Journalists, submitted a letter calling the plan “highly invasive,” and “ineffective.”

Business travelers coming into the U.S. on a visa waiver for business can do many of the same things a visitor on a B-1 business visitor visa can do, such as attend conferences and consult with U.S. colleagues.

The social media questions will come on the ESTA form (Electronic System for Travel Authorization), a pre-clearance process in lieu of a visa. But the I-94 form that travelers fill out on arrival may ask a similar question.


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