News US Visa and Social Media Usage

DidSurfNowSki

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Trump administration to ask most US visa applicants for social media information

https://thehill.com/hilltv/rising/4...-visa-applicants-for-social-media-information

The Trump administration will implement a new policy Friday asking most applicants for U.S. visas to provide information on their use of social media, a U.S. Department of State official tells Hill.TV

Most visa applicants, including temporary visitors, will be required to list their social media identifiers in a drop down menu along with other personal information.

Applicants will have the option to say that they do not use social media if that is the case. The official noted that if a visa applicant lies about social media use that they could face "serious immigration consequences" as a result.

For now, the drop down menu only includes major social media websites, but the official said applicants soon will be able to list all sites that they use.

“This is a critical step forward in establishing enhanced vetting of foreign nationals seeking entry into the United States," the official told Hill.TV. "As we’ve seen around the world in recent years, social media can be a major forum for terrorist sentiment and activity. This will be a vital tool to screen out terrorists, public safety threats, and other dangerous individuals from gaining immigration benefits and setting foot on U.S. soil."

The social media identifiers will be incorporated into a background check review against watchlists generated by the U.S. government.

Applicants will also be required in the future to turn more extensive information on their travel history.

The policy stems from a March 2017 executive order issued by President Trump intended to put "extreme vetting" into place.

The State Department published its intent to implement the policy in March 2018.

The Obama administration came under significant criticism in 2015 after Tashfeen Malik helped her U.S.-born husband Syed Farook kill 14 people in a deadly 2015 shooting in San Bernardino, Calif.

Malik had declared terrorist sympathies in social media communications before she was granted a U.S. visa.

Trump's executive order is titled "Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States."

-Saagar Enjeti
 

DidSurfNowSki

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I thought I wasn't using much social media until I flicked through this list

statista%20social%20networks.jpg
 
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Ozgirl

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So this comes up regularly with my work (I apply for ESTA on behalf of the people I support) and did it for myself and didn't put my social media deets on the form, nor for colleagues (one of which does not have any).

But if it does become 'required' will be interesting as my colleagues may not want me to know their Instagram handle, nor Snapchat!

So my job is about to get harder or easier! LOL

YouTube is interesting, what denotes 'use'? lots of people use YouTube but don't necessarily have an acct. Or don't realise they do.

Ie with a Google phone, it automatically creates an acct for you, but you might not realise it (YK certainly doesn't know that).
 
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DidSurfNowSki

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Me!
The USA is amazing

I realise that may just be a joke set up. Which begs the question, how can they vet your posts and get the context?
They also want your travel history details. May be a challenge for some professions ;).

That's why some countries I wish to ski in will need to wait until I've skied all the places in the US I've wanted to.
 

Ozgirl

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I just went through all my social media accounts to get their details. Couldn't remember half of them as they're buried in the settings.
Not sure it's required yet.

Leave it off!

One of my boss' arrive yesterday and I didn't have their SM on the last Esta I applied for.
 
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currawong

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I have dozens (hundreds?) of gmail accounts which means I have dozens of youtube accounts. I set them up for other people but remain a contact.
 

Ozgirl

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They also want your travel history details. May be a challenge for some professions ;).

That's why some countries I wish to ski in will need to wait until I've skied all the places in the US I've wanted to.
Yep, those country requests are the bane of my job.

Also note, half the time it's a best guest (especially when passport stamps aren't that regular anymore!)
 
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Richard

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WhatsApp is not social media it's a messaging platform - encrypted end to end. In theory there is no way they could know you are using it if you declined to flag it.

For now, the drop down menu only includes major social media websites,

The actual Visa declaration list is more useful than the chart above.

This is such a grey area. I've never posted a comment on YouTube. Am I a 'user' because I have an account? I think I've pushed up two public videos is that also a 'user'.

It's incredibly invasive personal probing.

Also, 4chan etc have completely anonymous handles. How could they possibly detect you unless they monitor your internet use. Smart people will just use VPN's combined with anonymous DNS services.

If this declaration becomes a thing that scares people off the social behemoths it will be good for niche communities like ski. My spidey sense is already feeling the winds of change bringing people back to places like these forums where they are not subject to surveillance capitalism.
 

base615

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ESTA isn't a visa, it's part of the visa waiver program. They still ask for it on ESTA but it's only mandatory with the actual visas.
 
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Ozgirl

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ESTA isn't a visa, it's part of the visa waiver program. They still ask for it on ESTA but it's only mandatory with the actual visas.
Yes this is my interpretation.

will let you know the next time i need to apply for one for someone.
 

Ozgirl

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@DidSurfNowSki did you try applying for the waiver without it?

The person i usually do it for that doesn't have any social media, applied for a new one himself last Friday (i was shocked i tell you!), anyway he would have put nothing and he is currently in the US and did not have issues getting in AFAIK. (trust me i would have heard about it!)
 

skichic

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Ah, i thought you were doing when you first started the thread.

I personally would do it sooner rather than later. Just in case.
Got the Canadian one the other night. Too easy. Have been delaying the USA one cos I know they’re more complex.
 

Ozgirl

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I know way too much about my employers due to visa application - e.g always fun to have to ask "do you have any birthmarks, visible or non visible"?

The first (yes i have had to ask it more than once!) time i thought - yay, they might actually start doing it themselves... nope.
 

skichic

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Just did my application. The question was there but optional. I left it blank, let’s see if they let me in o_O
 
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skichic

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6? Pages with all sorts of questions and address checks etc. 1 page of bugger all for Canada, at half the price.
 

Piste Again

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WhatsApp is not social media it's a messaging platform - encrypted end to end. In theory there is no way they could know you are using it if you declined to flag it.

Don't they also have the power to order you to unlock your phone on arrival?

I've been to the US and am over it. You're less likely to get shot in Iraq and the skiing's better in Canada..
 
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Sandy

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I know way too much about my employers due to visa application - e.g always fun to have to ask "do you have any birthmarks, visible or non visible"?

The first (yes i have had to ask it more than once!) time i thought - yay, they might actually start doing it themselves... nope.
LOL
"I have a purple pimpernel on my ar$e....." ;)
 
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Sandy

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There are definitely some annoying aspects....
Like getting your bags searched sometimes. I have straps on mine, arranged so that they keep the case secure and easy to recognise on the baggage carousel.... I had one bag searched and straps removed and stuffed inside.... took me 15 min to realise and recognise bag going 'round and 'round :doh:
I also heard from others (in the US), that often if transiting via LAX, they regularly have missing items....
 

fenrir

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I also heard from others (in the US), that often if transiting via LAX, they regularly have missing items....
I generally zip tie my luggage closed. For the leg of my trip from LAX to Calgary the zip ties had been broken. I was then picked up in Calgary for a random screening and momentarily freaked out at the thought that I couldn't vouch for the contents since my bag had been opened.
I assumed after that it had been searched by US customs but since no piece of paper was in there notifying me that my bag had been searched I wonder if someone had conducted their own freelance search for valuables.
 
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Sandy

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I generally zip tie my luggage closed. For the leg of my trip from LAX to Calgary the zip ties had been broken. I was then picked up in Calgary for a random screening and momentarily freaked out at the thought that I couldn't vouch for the contents since my bag had been opened.
I assumed after that it had been searched by US customs but since no piece of paper was in there notifying me that my bag had been searched I wonder if someone had conducted their own freelance search for valuables.
That's a bit scary!
 
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ponyrider

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A US-based CEO (we have several) of my AU company regularly posts negative thoughts about Trump on his FB. I've always thought him a fool for doing so. For me, obviously FB is under my own name and no concerns there, but ponyrider only gets a run on ski.com.au and a few other obscure places. Wondering how they audit this, googly search I guess.
 

Piste Again

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I generally zip tie my luggage closed. For the leg of my trip from LAX to Calgary the zip ties had been broken. I was then picked up in Calgary for a random screening and momentarily freaked out at the thought that I couldn't vouch for the contents since my bag had been opened.

But if you point out that your bag had a zip tie when you checked it in (perhaps with a photo of it at checkin), and the tie is no longer there, then you're absolved if anything is wrong.
 

sly_karma

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One more reason I'm glad I got my Canadian citizenship! Although we have severely curtailed our visits south since it became the kingdom of Trumplandia. And the unfavourable exchange rate makes it easier to say no to US spending or visits.
 

dawooduck

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