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Terrorism and Tourism: US Homeland Security found a solution

Terrorism and Tourism: US Homeland Security found a solution

Terrorism and Social Media, there is a connection, and US Homeland security knows it. Would a visitor to the United States put his or her social media information on a form necessary to enter the USA? Uncle Sam thinks so, and Homeland security orders so.

Starting this week, the United States Federal Government began asking some travelers to the U.S. to supply details about their social media accounts.  Facebook, Instagram and Twitter is supposed to tell US agents about visitors.

The collection of social media data, which was first proposed by Homeland Security this summer, does not apply to U.S. citizens. Instead, it is for now aimed at foreigners  who apply to arrive in the U.S. under the “visa waiver program”—an online tool that lets short-term visitors skip the formal process of applying for a visa.

Tourists and Business travelers from 32 nations are allowed to enter the United States under this visa waiver program.

The social networks include VKontakte, which serves as Russia’s Facebook, as well as JustPaste.it, a text-sharing tool that is popular with the terrorist group ISIS. Meanwhile, the form also lists little-used services like Vine and Google+ but omits the wildly-popular Snapchat.

Even though the request for social media information is optional, the program has attracted criticism from the tech industry and civil liberties groups. The critics point out that social media profiles can reveal deeply personal information—sexual orientation or political viewpoints, for instance—and that the collection program could lead other countries to impose similar requirements. As a result, Americans traveling abroad could have to hand over their Facebook profile to enter a foreign country.

Meanwhile, it’s unclear if the will improve security. It may rather start an avalanche in the global travel and tourism industry and by countries around the world to find out private secrets of visitors before they enter a country.

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