The US Federal Register department is proposing a new law that will mean a great deal to new immigrants and those people seeking US visas. The law, if passed, would require anyone coming into the United States to list social media accounts on a visa or immigration form.
Right now, the space that is provided on all forms is optional, but that might not be the case in the very near future.
Law With Purpose
Federal Register representatives have told press that mandatory social media information will provide the government with necessary details that will help to screen immigration and visa-seeking applicants. Presently, the proposal is under consideration and questions and comments are open until August 22nd.
Presumably, the social media information provided would help government employees investigate applicants prior to allowing those people to cross the US border. This extra layer of security is deemed necessary by the Federal Register in order to keep US residents safe (as was noted).
Why Social Media Matters
Over the past year or so, major terrorist attacks have been planned and executed with the help of social media. In addition to mainstream social media platforms like Twitter, many terrorists use some less popular social media platforms to communicate. It is also known that some chat platforms like WhatsApp are also used by terrorists when plotting attacks.
Some members of the US government believe that knowing exactly who is entering the country by researching social media accounts will help prevent terrorists from carrying out attacks within the United States. As with anything else, though, there are some possible drawbacks.
To some, the mere fact that the US government would ask for social media information is intrusive. To others, asking people to provide social media information is not enough, since it is fairly easy to lie about these details or provide false information. In many ways, it might seem like the government is grasping at straws trying to keep terrorists out of the country.
There’s also the issue of what the government will do with social media details. Considering that millions of visas are processed per year, that’s a lot of social media information about all incoming applicants. This could be one of the biggest databases of information that the US has control over and access too. If the law is passed, listing social media accounts when applying for any kind of visa would become mandatory.
It’s unclear how the US will process the social media information once it has been obtained. Seemingly, a department of people will have to check and then catalogue social media account information. These accounts will also have to be monitored regularly. To some, the whole idea of collecting this type of information is intrusive. To others, it is a necessity.
As mentioned, the new social media law has not yet been voted on. This vote will take place at the end of August and (if passed) will be put into effect quickly. What do you think about this proposed law?