British tourists may need to disclose social media passwords for US entry

Published on : Monday, April 10, 2017

British tourist fallsBritish travellers visiting the United States might face the disagreeable choice of handing over personal information as being considered by the Trump administration. Of the personal information, it includes social media passwords and mobile phone contacts, or else might run into the risk of being denied entry to the country.


According to the  new “extreme vetting” policy, tourists from the UK and other US allies including Germany and France, could be forced to reveal personal data, as well as disclose financial information and face detailed ideological questioning.  While US citizens have established rights against unlawful searches at the border, the extent to which foreign travellers can resist requests to hand over personal information is unclear.


The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said that it strives to process arriving travellers as efficiently and securely as possible while ensuring compliance with laws and regulations governing the international arrival process. Although failed to reply specific questions about social media accounts and devices.


The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a US nonprofit which campaigns for digital civil rights, advises travellers: “Border agents cannot deny a US citizen admission to the country. However, if a foreign visitor declines, an agent may deny them entry. According to the digital privacy guide of the group, if a foreign visitor refuses a border agent’s demand to unlock their digital device, provide the device password, or provide social media information, and the agent responds by denying entry, the foreign visitor may have little legal recourse.


The rule is a bit twisted for the visa holders. It is then the burden of the traveller to show that they are admissible to the US. Mitigation efforts may help limit the exposure of individual travellers. This would mean that if some visitor is asked for a device and refuses, the agent may deem that refusal a failure to meet that burden of proof.

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