US State Dept wants visa applicants to share social media, phone details
The US Department of State has proposed that all those who have applied for an American visa should submit their social media account details as well. The department has asked the Office of Management and Budget to approve the proposal which would be used for "identity resolution and vetting purposes", a notice issued by the department on Friday, March 30, said.
The notice has also stated that the visa applicants would have to give their telephone numbers, email addresses and information on international travel to give evidence on whether they have a history of deportation from any country or whether their family members have been involved in any terror activities.
The state department's proposal, however, exempted the diplomatic and official visa applicants from complying with the new rule.
If it translates into law, the visa rule would see nearly 14.7 million people getting affected, the Reuters reported. It said that in May 2017, the state department collected social media information from applicants if it was required to confirm identity or conduct a rigorous screening of national security.
The state department's latest call is consistent with US President Donald Trump's consistent stand on making the restriction on immigrants tighter. The president banked on the idea of stronger borders while campaigning for the 2016 presidential election through his mega plan to build a border on the US-Mexico border was yet to receive adequate funding, even though the massive federal spending bill that he signed recently. His idea of imposing a full ban on travelling into the US also hit a wall in the judiciary.
In October 2017, Trump said in the wake of a terror attack in New York in which eight people were mowed down by a truck driven by an Uzbek national that he had asked the Homeland Security Department to further step up an existent "extreme vetting programme".