You may not enter the USA through … your friends’ social media
We are just learning about a student case from Harvard who was refused entry to the United States for a very unusual reason. So watch who you are friends with.
Number of travelers who are detained at the border by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a federal government agency dealing with customs and compliance with laws related to trade, customs and border crossing, is still growing, so it’s worth taking a closer look at this case, especially since similar cases also affect … American citizens. Everything indicates that during the audit we may be asked about the activity of our friends in social media and if this turns out to be “inappropriate” (which may mean everything), it may deprive us of the option to enter the US.
We wrote about installing suspicious software and browsing passengers’ mobile devices quite recently, but it was about China at the time, so it wasn’t a big surprise for anyone, but similar things in the US? That’s right, federal agents have the right to search our property at the border – including electronic devices – whether we are US citizens or not. In 2017, however, US Customs explained that searches exclude cloud content or social media accounts. Apparently, however, something changed in the subject, as Ismail Ajjawi, a Harvard student who was refused entry to the United States, learned about himself, when agents on the border searched his social media and found anti-American content posted there by his friends.
The student claims that he was ordered to unlock the laptop and phone, and then the agents spent 5 hours searching his devices – moreover, they asked him questions about political and religious views, expressing anger directly because of information posted on social media by his friends. – I do not have even one post on political issues, but my visa was withdrawn and as a result I was deported – he explains. The good news is that he can submit a confirmatory application and the university authorities cooperate with the relevant institutions so that the 17-year-old starts his classes on the planned date of 3 September.
It is worth adding here that Customs and Border Protection without a proper warrant last year searched 33 thousand people who wanted to cross the border, which is a huge increase from 4.5 thousand recorded in 2015. It should not be overlooked that, according to the will of the Donald Trump administration, from June this year all foreigners applying for a US visa must indicate their social media data in the application. The FBI also wants to monitor popular platforms to look for potential threats to the US, so everything indicates that soon we can completely forget about any privacy. Well, unless we completely disappear from social media, but on the other hand it can also be considered suspicious …