Visitors to the United States might be asked to provide details of the social media logins, including passwords, when entering the US.
Speaking to Congress on Tuesday, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said that the measures are being considered as part of a range of new security checks designed to better vet refugees and visa applicants.
Kelly said that if after being asked for login details a potential visitor refused, they would not be allowed in. He also said that under the existing process, officials sometimes do not have a lot of information to work with. Official records might be incomplete or lack detail, and questions would need to be asked in order to assess someone’s background.
The answers to those questions can of course be false sometimes. However a person’s social media profile (if it is actually a legitimate profile) could help paint a much more accurate picture of the person.
The new procedures are all about adding additional layers of security and checks to the process.
One potential issue though is that of falsifying social media. It is very easy to create an account on Facebook and paint the picture that you want. Friends could be added over time and posts and pictures included to show whatever you wanted to show – not necessarily the truth. So it would be important to ensure that an appropriate level of scrutiny and verification is given to any profiles that officials access, and similarly that associated findings receive a sensible amount of weight in the overall entry process.