Our social media posts can sometimes say a lot about who we are. It can reveal our preferences for food, for clothing, our political leanings, religion, and more. Essentially it can be a treasure trove of information about a person, and sometimes more revealing than we think it can be.
This is why back in June, it was reported that US customs was considering the idea of requesting social media information from foreign visitors to the country. If you thought that maybe this was a bit controversial, it’s too bad because in a report from Politico (via Engadget), the proposal has been greenlit by the Department of Homeland Security.
What this means is that if you’re a foreigner visiting the US, the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) form you’ll have to fill up will now see an extra field where you have to enter the account names of the social media platforms you are active on. It is marked optional but we guess if you’re trying to avoid any unnecessary holdups at customs, you’ll probably want to fill it in anyway.
Unsurprisingly this proposal was met with a lot of criticism who argued about the privacy risks of giving your online usernames away. Some bodies such as the American Civil Liberty Union claim that discrimination would “fall hardest on Arab and Muslim communities, whose usernames, posts, contacts and social networks will be exposed to intense scrutiny.”