Applicants for US visas may soon be asked to hand over their social media site passwords by US embassies. During his first hearing in Congress since the Senate confirmed his appointment, the newly appointed Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, John Kelly, said that the idea is being contemplated as part of an attempt to screen out possible security threats.
Kelly says the move is one of the many possible ideas under consideration for implementation, particularly from nations such as Iran, Libya, Sudan, Yemen, Iraq, Somalia, and Syria. These were also the countries targeted by the controversial immigration ban implemented by President Donald Trump via executive order, suspended after a court challenge.
At a Department of Homeland Security committee hearing, Kelly said that they are looking into the possibility of extra or enhanced methods of screening and that asking for passwords to social media sites is one of the options under consideration. Kelly claims that security vetting for individuals from certain countries can be very difficult, but with social media passwords, their internet history could at least be investigated and checked out.
Kelly noted that if the idea is ultimately implemented, anyone who refused to cooperate and hand over the passwords for their social media sites would be forbidden to enter the US. Kelly added that tighter screening of some kind is inevitable, even if it results in visitors having to wait longer to get a US visa.