SURVEY: Your views on US Customs' plan to search your social media at the border


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Hmm forcing usernames out people at border crossings is skeezy.
Searching for them online and finding the publicly available data, well duh any of us can do that. Also jeebus the data overload seems like you just make the haystack so much bigger and open to so many bullshit false positives that they will miss what they are actually looking for.


And going through the survey a lot these questions are well yes, WITH A WARRANT.

I already freaking do.
Hooray for having a grandpa who did intel/troubleshooting work for the DoD and knowing I already have records and teaching me that there are plenty of ways to find out stuff with old school tools and methods just that it takes more time and manhours.


There’s something to be said for requiring manhours.


guess it’s time to setup an account that praises Supply Side Jesus, says “MY GUNZ!” and shows me drinking and objectifying women. That will mean I’m a TRUE AMERICAN!!!


It’s one thing to knowingly accept an employment situation that requires you to divulge information about yourself to the government. Contractors with clearance know they have to report to the government every time they travel abroad.

The concept that certain rights of a citizen are forfeited at border crossings, and using that loophole to suck up as much personal info as possible, is skeezy as fuck.


Yet another reason to add to the headache of do not want for a clearance.


Filing this under ‘Things We All Saw Coming About Ten Years Ago’. Not that it makes it any less repugnant.

They want to search my social media? Best luck. Pretty hard to look for something that doesn’t exist. Not that I’d allow them the convenience of knowing that.


Easy! Just submit a FOIA request, and I’ll take care of you.


You’ve been putting a smile on my face every day this week but none more so than with this post. Bravo!


Plenty of fear-mongering about this. Yes, the idea is silly and invasive, but not as insane as headlines make it appear.

The proposal is to add this as an optional field for ESTA and form I-94W, the “Non-immigrant Visa Waiver Arrival Record”.

None of this applies to citizens, only to nonimmigrant visitors. And CPB can already use any information they wish to reject visitors, including social media posts, so this isn’t giving them new power.


It depends on what level of clearance you have - I had fairly vanilla clearances back in the 1980s, and while I had to tell them if I was going to Communist countries, I didn’t have to get permission to travel and I don’t think I had to even notify them, at least for Western countries and probably for neutral (it’s been decades since I had a clearance, don’t remember all the rules.) And you didn’t need pre-publication review on your writing until you got to specific Nuke or Spook clearances.

But there’s a big difference between telling your boss and security officer you’re going to Hong Kong on vacation and having all your papers and computer accounts get searched by border guards when you do. None of their business on the way out, none of their business on the way in, especially for citizens. They can ask me if I’m bringing in taxable items above the deductable or anything banned in the US, but that’s all.

Many years ago I was coming back from a trip, and the Customs officials were wearing patches that said “US Customs - Defenders of Liberty”. No, they’re [expletive deleted] not! They’re tax collectors. But at least I had the sense to shut up about that so my wife didn’t have to duct-tape my mouth shut to keep us from getting arrested.


Fair points. I’d still argue it’s a bit shady to say “please enter info about your accounts” and only elsewhere say it is voluntary.


Take it from a guy in the nucular-weapon industrial complex - you have no idea. I willingly give up much for my job, but that’s my choice and I’m well paid for it.

The general population however, I’m horrified at the invasions of privacy that happen every day. There aughta be a law or something against that…


I still don’t understand this. Whether it’s ICE or an employer - what happens if I don’t use social media? And then what happens when the next guy says he doesn’t?


I actually do. My grandfather didn’t come to my wedding as he gave up his right to travel abroad for retiring. Even though it was just Canada.
I got pestered twice to apply at my former job and I politely said no not unless you are going to require it. It would have been for data spills and all I would do is yank the physical drive and run it through the special magnets then drop it in the special destroy bin. They had more than enough guys who could do that already and reading the initial paperwork was enough to give me a headache.


That’s where I am with this.

There’s no law or policy that compels people to engage on social media, or to have access to the internet… or to even own a computer or mobile device.

So, aside from searching online for every single name on every piece of ID of every person coming through any given border, how is this even remotely viable, let alone enforceable?

Furthermore, even if such arduous and time consuming queries are conducted what happens if there are multiple results, or no matching results at all?

Yeah, someone’s ‘inner-Big Brother’ clearly didn’t think this idea all the way through.


We’re aware. It doesn’t dampen my concern any. I don’t think the headline is overstating it.

“Survey: Your views on U.S. Customs’ plan to search your social media at the border if you’re a non-US citizen who isn’t planning on migrating to the U.S.” is a bit long.

My friends and relatives who visit from other countries (or would if the U.S. wasn’t flirting so much with dystopia) shouldn’t have to deal with this crap coming in. At least not, as @TobinL pointed out, without a warrant. A real one. Not one issued by even our current regular court system.

One that’s based on real, quantifiable suspicion of actual wrong-doing.

Already being an American citizen doesn’t make me feel any better about this.


So you think declining to state isn’t going hold up your entry? You have more faith in the DHS than I have. What if someone is like me and they don’t have a social media account? Will they hold this against them when they decide to expand the program and make it mandatory for everyone (because we all know they will expand it)? Finally, what keeps a visitor from setting up a dummy account just for this reason? Does this make us safer?

Honestly, I think that the government just wants access to your contacts so they can snoop. Just like the LinkedIn, Google+, and Facebook requests I receive because someone allowed these three companies unfettered access to their contacts.


I mean, I’m mostly okay with that for people with security clearances. That’s a purely voluntary choice, not something anyone should ever feel forced into, and they’re up front about what it entails. And there are things that the government has a right to keep secret, and keep an eye on, for everyone’s safety.

I just don’t think that entails snooping into everyone’s data at all times, with no suspicion or warrant.