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John Kelly confirms intentions to analyze social media and browsing history of US visitors

General John Kelly, United States Secretary of Homeland Security, offered his view on recent news that the Trump administration was discussing the potential for information collection of social media and browser history data - when assessing applications to visit the United States.

Kelly confirmed that the policy will involve "certainly an accounting of what websites they visit" whilst potentially collecting "telephone contact information so that we can see who they're talking to." Information collection under Trump's policy is therefore very much likely to include access to social media posts, browser histories, and phone numbers.

According to Talking Points Memo, Kelly remarked in the press conference:

“It might be certainly an accounting of what websites they visit. It might be telephone contact information so that we can see who they're talking to, but, again, all of this is under development. [...] We have to be convinced that people that come here, there's a reasonable expectation that we don't know who they are and what they're coming here for and what their backgrounds are.”

The US government has previously requested travelers to disclose "optional" social media information about themselves since December 2016. According to Politico, the visa waiver program offered applicants the opportunity to disclose their account names for corresponding social media networks, however, it seems the latest immigration policy could transition this towards mandatory information collection. Social media sites of interest include Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube - some of which, amongst a number of tech companies, had conveyed their concerns regarding the news of the executive order to limit immigration.

Source: White House Press Conference via Gizmodo | John Kelly image via Algemeiner

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