On June 23, 2016, U.S. Customs put forward a proposal in the
Federal Register to request that persons entering and exiting the
United States voluntarily provide information about their social
media account names.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (USCBP)
(part of the Department of Homeland Security) posted a Notice
entitled "Agency Information Collection Activities: Arrival
and Departure Record (Forms I-94 and I-94W) and Electronic System
for Travel Authorization". USCBP/DHS proposes to add the
following question to ESTA and to Form I-94W:
"Please enter information associated with your online
However, the I-94 and I-94W documents are declarations. As a
result, failure to complete the forms and answer the question may
result in problems at the United States border.
Have you watched
the television program "Border Security: America's Front
Line"? USCBP officers can be intimidating and aggressive pit
bulls asking for information from travellers. This means that the
provision of the information may not be truly voluntary when
requested from visitors to the Unites States.
I can understand why USCBP wants the information. After recent
of the mass shootings in the United States, the social media
postings of the shooters/criminals/terrorists have been scrutinized
and usually they have posted alarming information on social media.
The warning signs are there if only they were seen at the time for
what they were.
I also can understand that the exit information may
help USCBP identify Americans who are travelling to terrorist
training camps and stop them from leaving/going.
The problem is that if the provision of social media information
becomes mandatory, USCBP may accuse honest people of being
untruthful and providing false statements if they do not provide
the information or cannot honestly remember the social media
Depending on which social media forum one is on, the
user names may be different because a person was not the first to
claim the name and could not/would not buy the username from the
first to file.
There is potential for good people to be perceived
as bad people. There is the potential for persons to forever lose
their NEXUS passes because of being labelled
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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