Chinese citizens visiting the United States may soon be asked to present their social media accounts to the government.
Officials at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection under Trump’s administration propose asking Chinese visitors to disclose information associated with their “online presence.”
“Online presence” refers to a social media identifier, which could be “any name or ‘handle’ used by the individual on one or more platforms.”
The question is slated to be part of the Electronic Visa Update System (EVUS) currently used by nonimmigrant Chinese with long-term business (B-1), pleasure (B-2) and combination (B-1/B-2) visas.
The visitor, however, may refuse to provide information as the question is “optional.” They can still pursue an EVUS enrollment “without a negative interpretation or inference.”
According to Politico, the move comes as Trump officials discuss more intrusive steps to check foreigners entering the U.S. territory. Apparently, these include asking for social media passwords.
Last week, Secretary John Kelly of the Department of Homeland Security said the Trump administration would ask for those codes so it could try screening for potential terrorists:
“If they come in, we want to say, what websites do they visit, and give us your passwords. So, we can see what they do on the internet.”