Privacy Blog

"Friends don’t let friends get spied on.' – Richard Stallman, President of the Free Software Foundation and longtime advocate of privacy in technology.

Feds Monitoring Social Media Does More Harm Than Good

Border screening and surveillance has become an increasing area of critical concern over the last year. Around the world, invasive governments have particularly threatened people’s digital privacy. That extends to the US, where Customs and Border Protection has expanded its demands and searches as well. And a fraught situation for travelers is even more so for US immigrants who are having more and more of their digital and social media footprint monitored by the Department of Homeland Security.

The agency’s recent initiatives came into focus last week, when DHS posted updated language in the Federal Register about collecting “social media handles, aliases, associated identifiable information, and search results” on immigrants, including naturalized citizens and permanent residents.

“Admissions decisions should be based on specific criteria defined in laws or regulations,” says Edward Hasbrouck, a travel expert and consultant to the freedom of movement group The Identity Project. “What can you and can’t you say on Facebook if you want to be admitted to the country? We’re hearing over and over that everybody who’s not a citizen is afraid to say anything on social media because they don’t know how it might be held against them.”

Ambiguity over what DHS will collect and why has immediate free speech implications for immigrants and potential immigrants.

You can read more in an article by Lily Hay Newman in the Wired web site at:

Categories: Legal Affairs

2 replies

  1. It’s not only immigrants (of which I’m one), but also those who communicate with immigrants, including permanent US residents, and naturalised citizens.

    This seems very wide ranging in its scope.



  2. They collect everything on everybody. The scope of surveillance is so mind-numbingly infinite and vast, it has even spawned the existence of specialized computer languages. Here is one example of this new frontier. It’s a language specifically for mass surveillance.


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