WPF urges US Customs and Border Protection to change course on asking for social media accounts

The World Privacy Forum filed comments today with the US Customs and Border Protection agency regarding a proposal to request social media account information from arriving and departing travelers on entry/exit forms. WPF urged CBP to drop its proposal to request social media profile information from travelers on these key entry/exit forms. The entry forms in question are very familiar to most people who have flown out of and into the US. Here is a sample form.

WPF found in its analysis that the proposal did not meet the full requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act in substantial ways.  WPF also has significant concerns about the precedent of collecting social media identifiers from travelers in the first place, among other concerns discussed in the comments.

“We think that the request for social media identifiers is a terrible precedent. It is likely to result in other nations making similar requests of Americans who seek to travel abroad. We foresee escalation, with voluntary requests replaced by mandatory requests, and with requests for identifiers eventually replaced by requests for passwords. People traveling to countries with challenging political situations could face very difficult choices if this question becomes the global norm,” noted Executive Director Pam Dixon.

The CBP proposal has generated many comments. You can read WPF’s comments to US Customs and Border Protection here.