USA may soon require social media passwords from visa applicants

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Department of Homeland Security secretary John Kelly said the measure was being considered to provide officials more information on applicants from failed nation states such as Syria and Somalia, where conflict had made record-keeping hard.

Homeland Security Secretary, John Kelly, told a congressional panel on Tuesday that the USA is not considering adding any countries to its list of seven whose nationals were temporarily banned from entering the country. "So we can see what they do on the internet", he said.

"If the search of social media accounts leads to somebody being excluded from the country because of the religion they practice or the people they associate with, that's very concerning", said Ian Wagreich, an attorney with Hughes Socol Piers Resnick Dym, Ltd.

"We want to get on their social media, with passwords: What do you do, what do you say?" he told the House Homeland Security Committee, NBC News reported.

He said the seven countries - Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Libya and Yemen - are unable to vet their citizens and "provide us with information that we're comfortable with".

"We're looking at some enhanced or some additional screening".

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Homeland Security may not just be satisfied with your social media passwords and could also want financial details as Kelly mentioned that they were looking to obtain these records.

His comments came as a legal challenge temporarily halted Trump's travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries.

Kelly stressed that no decision has been made on this issue, but said tighter screening was definitely on the horizon, even if it means longer delays for awarding USA visas to visitors.

Testifying to the US Congress Homeland Security Committee, Kelly said information provided by applicants now isn't sufficient.

"If they do not want to give us that information, if they do not cooperate, then they do not come in". On Tuesday (7 February) the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco heard arguments from both Washington State, who are suing the government, and the US Department of Justice.