New Homeland Security Plan to Gather Social Media Information has Privacy Advocates up in Arms

Yes, Big Brother is watching you, me, and everyone else more than ever before. It has special interests in immigrants, even those who later became U.S. citizens.

Back in September, the Department of Homeland Security announced in the Federal Register that it had been collecting information from social media accounts of immigrants and foreign visitors. According to that notice, US Citizenship and Immigration Services, which is part of DHS, keeps the data it collects from immigrants in what’s known as their “A File.” According to DHS, data gathered includes “social media [accounts], aliases, associated identifiable information, and search results.”

According to Edward Hasbrouck, DHS has been collecting social media data since the Obama administration — for at least five years. Hasbrouck works for The Identity Project, a civil liberties and human rights project focused on travel-related issues and freedom of movement.

Nuala O’Connor, president and CEO of the Center for Democracy and Technology, a Washington, DC-based nonprofit that promotes freedom on the internet, says, “The bad news is … we find this to be a gross invasion of individual privacy and really far more information that is necessary to do the important work of the Department of Homeland Security.”

You can read more in an article by Shirin Jaafari in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette at: http://bit.ly/2yMidLr.

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