American government has begun the process of asking foreigners who enter their country under the VWP (visa waiver program) to provide their social media details in order to identify threats related to security.
The VWP of the US is available to nationals of 38 countries whose citizens do not need a visa when they visit this North American country for up to 90 days for purposes of business, tourism or while transiting through it. But they need to have an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation), which is considered a valid travel document, says ibtimes.co.uk.
The proposal to ask social media details, which was put forward by the US CBP (Customs and Border Protection) in June, was approved by the DHS (Department of Homeland Security) only a few days ago. Henceforth, the ESTA form will come with an optional request to let people fill information with regards to their online presence. In addition, it a drop-down menu is included listing platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, among others, besides a space where users fill in their account names as they appear on those sites. Though the information is being sought optionally now, it is expected that the details would be utilised to assess ESTA applications in the future.
It is being said that these assessments would be used to mainly to identify safety and security concerns and the information is not eligible to be used to bar an applicant’s arrival on the US on the basis of her/his political affiliations, religion, ethnicity, race or sexual orientation according to law.
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