US to seek social media details from some foreigners visa applicants

US to seek social media details from some foreigners visa applicants

WASHINGTON (AP):  The State Department wants to review social media, email addresses and phone numbers from some foreigners seeking US visas, as part of the Trump administration’s enhanced screening of potential immigrants and visitors.

The department, in a notice published on Thursday in the Federal Register, said it was seeking public comment on the requirement. But it also said is requesting a temporary go-ahead from the White House budget office so the plan can take effect for 180 days, beginning May 18, regardless of those public comments.

The proposed requirements would apply to visa applicants identified for extra scrutiny, such as those who have traveled to areas controlled by terrorist organisations.

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The State Department said it estimates that the rules would affect about 0.5 percent of total US visa applicants, or roughly 65,000 people.

Affected applicants would have to provide their social media handles and platforms used during the previous five years, and divulge all phone numbers and email addresses used during that period. US consular officials would not seek social media passwords, and would not try to breach any privacy controls on applicants’ accounts, according to the department’s notice.

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