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DEEPLINKS BLOG

Tell the DHS: Social Media Passwords Should Not Be a Condition of Entry to the U.S.

April 21, 2017

New proposals to make U.S. entry screening even more invasive will threaten our privacy, freedom of expression, and digital account security—and you can raise your voice against them.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is currently considering new procedures to screen certain foreign travellers. Specifically, Secretary of Homeland Security John. F. Kelly said in a congressional hearing that the DHS is considering requiring certain foreign travelers to hand over their social media passwords in order to apply for a visa and enter the United States.

EFF is joining with Access Now and other digital rights organizations to raise your voices against this dangerous proposal. Sign the Fly Don’t Spy petition to tell Secretary Kelly to reject any proposal requiring passwords as a condition of entry to the United States.

Take ActionSign the Fly Don't Spy petition.

While you’re at it, email your representatives directly and demand that border agents get a warrant before conducting digital searches.

Take ActionEmail Congress and demand a warrant at the border.

We have written before about the serious privacy risks and Constitutional concerns of border searches, particularly when agents demand social media information. Social media profiles expose not only one’s social network and contacts, but can also provide a detailed map of one’s digital life if that social media account if used to log into other sides.

Requiring passwords and log-in access to social media--whether as part of screening procedures before arrival at the border, or at the border itself--expands border agents’ access to particularly sensitive information like direct messages, and invades the privacy of a traveller’s friends and connections. Such a requirement will chill online speech and association, and undermine the digital security and account protections otherwise available to users.

Want more information about your rights at the border? Check out our in-depth “Privacy at the U.S. Border” report, as well as two shorter guides on your constitutional rights at the border and digital security tips for before, during, and after your border crossing.

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