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'Extreme Vetting' Would Require Visitors To US To Share Contacts, Passwords ( 505

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Trump administration is considering whether or not to deploy "extreme vetting" practices at airports around the world, which could force tourists from Britain and other countries visiting the U.S. to reveal their mobile phone contacts, social media passwords and financial data. "Travelers who want to enter the U.S. could also face questioning over their ideology, as Washington moves away from a default position of allowing people in to a more skeptical approach to visitors," reports The Guardian. From the report: Trump made the "extreme vetting" of foreign nationals to combat terrorism a major theme of his presidential election campaign. But his executive order imposing a travel ban on several Muslim-majority countries has twice been blocked in court. Media reports suggest it has already hurt the tourism industry. The changes might include visitors from the 38 countries -- the UK, France, Australia and Japan among them -- that participate in the visa waiver program, which requires adherence to strict U.S. standards in data sharing, passport control and other factors, one senior official told the Journal. This could require people to hand over their phones so officials can study their stored contacts and possibly other information. The aim is to "figure out who you are communicating with," a senior Department of Homeland Security official was quoted as saying. "What you can get on the average person's phone can be invaluable." A second change would ask applicants for their social media handles and passwords, so that officials could see information posted privately in addition to public posts, the Journal said. The Journal report said the DHS official working on the review said questions under consideration included whether visa applicants believe in so-called honor killings, how they view the treatment of women in society, whether they value the "sanctity of human life" and who they view as a legitimate target in a military operation.
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'Extreme Vetting' Would Require Visitors To US To Share Contacts, Passwords

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 04, 2017 @06:06PM (#54173919)

    The USA has lost its damn mind.

    • It took THIS for you to come to that conclusion?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This is enough to genuinely stop me from travelling to or via the US. I doubt I'm alone.

      Also, there is only one other country in the world that does this currently, and this isn't hyperbole, that country is North Korea.

      People in the US voted for Trump because they were desperate for change, but the reality is that they're merely voting to speed up America's fall. America is teetering on the brink with it's phenomenal debt and that has to be managed careful, sending a bull into the china shop who is willing

  • Where to start ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Calydor ( 739835 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2017 @06:10PM (#54173947)

    Sharing your password is against the ToS of every single social media platform out there, including but not limited to Facebook, Twitter, every forum ever, etc. Share your password to your account when you go to the US and kiss that account goodbye.

    And that list? Yes, I believe there are honor killings (DING). I believe women need more power in society (DING from any anti-feminist) or I believe genders are not equal because each gender has strengths and weaknesses different from each other (DING from a lot of people). I do not value the "sanctity of human life" in that I believe assisted suicide, under a lot of scrutiny and supervision, should be legal - we have mortally sick pets put down to spare them the suffering, but grandma HAS to be kept alive no matter what! I also believe abortion should not be illegal, so that's TWO dings in one question.

    Just ... what are they expecting with this? HONESTY? Or a well-rehearsed regurgitation of the correct answers?

    • that's what they're expecting. All of the folks you just described will get a pass if they come from Christian countries. At least, that's the plan. Whether it'll hold up in court or not is another matter. We used to have lots of laws/rules about this sort of discrimination where everybody's doing it but it's OK because they do it with a wink and a node and a dog whistle. But we've been chipping away at those protections for about 10 years now.
      • All of the folks you just described will get a pass if they come from Christian countries and have the correct skin tone and length of facial hair


    • It's either that or off to the re-Neducation camps you go!

      Re-Neducation Center []
      "Where the elite meet to have their spirits broken"

    • Just ... what are they expecting with this? HONESTY? Or a well-rehearsed regurgitation of the correct answers?

      Actually the problem I have is potentially worse since I cannot just give well rehearsed answers because I have no mobile phone and I do not use any social media sites, unless Slashdot counts. So I cannot give them a Facebook account or a mobile phone to scrutinize which will probably make me look extremely suspicious to them.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    We can't even get Asshole M'Gunt to share his tax returns. Fuck that guy.

  • Your papers please (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 04, 2017 @06:13PM (#54173967)

    The United States has done off the deep end. I will never be visiting such a douche bag country that would pull this shit. If the States wants less "Terrorists" then stop pissing every one off. Stop stealing from every one and killing innocent people.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 04, 2017 @06:15PM (#54173985)

    "Land of the free, home of the BRAVE"? NOT! Brave people don't fear their world, and free people don't ask others to give up their freedom...

  • by Daetrin ( 576516 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2017 @06:20PM (#54174033)
    Tourism is a $1.5 trillion industry in the US. I don't know what exactly the split is between domestic and foreign but foreign is definitely a significant chunk (one site claimed $21 billion from foreign tourists in April 2016) and if you're worried about trade deficits then that chunk is especially important.

    There are already concerns that foreign tourism revenue is starting to dry up after Trump's election and the (attempted) Muslim bans. If it's actually put into effect this "extreme vetting" will only accelerate that process.
    • by Registered Coward v2 ( 447531 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2017 @06:56PM (#54174335)

      There are already concerns that foreign tourism revenue is starting to dry up after Trump's election and the (attempted) Muslim bans. If it's actually put into effect this "extreme vetting" will only accelerate that process.

      Part of the challenge is foreign tourism tends to concentrate in certain areas, such as Disney, NYC, Hawaii, etc and is not spread more evenly across the country. Thus, despite the significant impact it may have on some areas others will think it's Ok because well, Trump; proving you can't fix stupid.

    • by sit1963nz ( 934837 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2017 @07:04PM (#54174397)
      Too late, tourists have already been put off.

      You will soon see its become really bad when the number of flights to/from the USA each day start falling.

      Our family is unlikely to visit the USA ever again
      Work encourages us to go to conferences outside the USA
      Flights to UK/Europe are booked via HongKong, Singapore, etc etc etc in preference to going via the USA
      If you must go via the USA, work laptops/phones can not be taken with you

      USA has just become too hard, too much risk.
      • by Harlequin80 ( 1671040 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2017 @07:26PM (#54174535)

        I was going to Vegas for a mates 40th birthday celebration. That was scheduled for September, we are now going to Macau.

        This came about because one of our mates is of Indian decent and follows the Sikh religion. Apparently in LA that was indistinguishable from Islam and he spent 4 hours being questioned at length. It caused him to miss his connecting flights and he then missed his first day of the project he was to be working on.

        Their primary issue, they refused to believe that his job had him travel the amount that he does, he sets up microsoft training conferences all over the world and has previously come close to spending too long in the US and nearly qualified as a US resident for tax. So he's been there many many many times. But apparently no one needs to travel as much as he does unless you're a terrorist. WTF.

        That was his last visit.

    • You and I think that sucks, but the batshit crazy poor under-educated Evangelical Christian white trash don't care.

      They can barely afford the MAGA red hat.

  • by CohibaVancouver ( 864662 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2017 @06:27PM (#54174099)
    More and more of my (Canadian) friends and family have made the decision to cancel discretionary trips to and through the USA in recent months.

    Most people I know who are are staying away aren't doing it because of Trump's EOs or new rules that are coming. The majority are caucasian Canadian citizens, so they'd breeze right in anyway.

    It's more that many Canadians that I've talked to feel that discretionary travel to the US is tacit support for Trump and his Republicans. We realize it's a drop in the ocean, but it's the only tool we have.

    My wife and her friends recently cancelled a 'girl's weekend' in Seattle. I have a cousin who recently made the decision to go to Cuba in May instead of the Hawaii trip she had planned. Other friends who cancelled a Disney trip. Still others who cancelled San Diego and went to Mexico.

    I also know of several people here in Vancouver who booked trips to points south and east and specifically avoided (cheaper) US carriers so they could avoid transiting the USA. They instead transited YYZ, YUL and MEX.

    None of these people are radical eco-hippie-lefties. Just average Canadians who have made the decision not the travel to or through the USA.

    I know, I know, anecdotal, we don't need you socialist commie Canadians anyway, Trump rules, America's great, don't let the door hit us on the way out, blah blah blah, but nevertheless that's tens of thousands of dollars deflected away from the USA right there in my little sphere, within the last month or two.
    • by thundercattt ( 4205847 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2017 @06:55PM (#54174317)
      You're not the first to say that. I had considered a few trips this summer to the U.S to visit friends. After all this nonsense, I decided to cancel and to exploring Europe.
      • by jez9999 ( 618189 )

        Good luck with all the cultural enrichment. Just be sure to look up Taharrush Gamea before you go.

    • by jez9999 ( 618189 )

      The average Canadian IS an eco-hippie-leftie. They voted for Trudeau ffs.

    • by jonwil ( 467024 )

      Don't forget that the US now demands any carrier flying within US airspace (which would include that flight from YUL to MEX) has to hand over all sorts of crap to the US government about the passengers flying etc (and even not allow people on certain lists to fly on such flights).

      Heck, even flights close to the US that don't cross the US land mass still get hit by a bunch of rules and regulations (and the airports in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver are all close enough to the border that all flights out of

  • A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.

    And you wanted "free" stuff.

    • A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.

      ANY government is big enough to take from you everything you have.

      Even the ones that can't give you almost anything.

  • I imagine the Tourism Lobby will have a dollar or two to, I mean, thing or two to say about this.

    Alternatively, can you imagine how we would react if the UK decided to do the same with US visitors?

    • And so they should.
      The Murder rate in the USA is huge compared to the UK (and Europe, Australia, New Zealand, etc etc etc)
      The prison population in the USA is huge compared to the UK (and Europe, Australia, New Zealand, etc etc etc)

      The "facts" prove citizens from the USA pose a significant increase in risk
      • I live in America and the people who scare me the most are the batshit crazy poor, under-educated Evangelical Christian white trash.

        • by sit1963nz ( 934837 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2017 @09:16PM (#54175079)
          Yep you are hundreds to times more likely to be murdered by a family member, work college, neighbour , or friend than you are to be involved in a terrorist act.

          The "Scareware" terrorism has nothing to do about keeping Americans safe, it is all about removing right and freedoms.

          Scared people are only too happy for someone else to make the decisions for them if they think it will "keep them safe".

          Over the last 20 years I think more people have been killed by vending machines falling on them than by terrorists
  • by RockyMountain ( 12635 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2017 @06:32PM (#54174153) Homepage

    The cost to personal liberty, the flagrant unconstitutionality, and the chilling effect on US international relations and tourism aside, this is ALSO a bad idea because it will have zero effect on the real bad guys.

    If you are a bad guy, why would you bring a phone loaded with contacts? Why would you provide a real, rather than a fake social media account? For a real bad guy, it is trivially easy to circumvent this new check. For the rest of us, it's a massive inconvenience, invasion of privacy, and an almost certain invitation to both systematic abuse and abuse by bad-apple agents.

    (BTW, topic drift... I was quite surprised to see financial data disclosure requirements described as "new". Unlike the phone search and social media stuff, the financial data part is _not_ new. It's been a requirement for certain visa applicants for at least 40 years. It doesn't currently happen at the border, but rather at visa application time. Perhaps the reason it's listed as being new is because it now includes visa-waiver-program countries too?)

  • by Jim Sadler ( 3430529 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2017 @06:41PM (#54174211)
    One way or another Trump will either resign or be removed from office quickly. In the mean time we need to stop all of his executive orders, budgets and laws from being passed as well as prepare methods for quick removal of any that manage to get through the obstruction that we will impose at every turn. One difficult issue will be whether to put Trump on trial for his numerous crimes that are now being exposed. These are not the fantasy crimes such as were claimed against Obama and Clinton but real, hard core crimes that may well include treason. The economic crimes alone are enough to put him in prison for life.
    • One way or another Trump will either resign or be removed from office quickly.

      You really think Pence will be any better?

      • He's more level-headed and much more grown-up than Trump, and he has no interest in Russian appeasement. Pence wouldn't wipe his ass with American diplomatic respectability every day and twice on Sunday. He wouldn't back Russia's stance (unintentionally or intentionally) on the EU or NATO.

        On the downside, he's almost as fiscally conservative as Trump and MUCH more socially conservative. Trump's a nasty bigot but he doesn't care much about enshrining his bigotry into law outside of national security and immi

    • True story, according to credible sources [].

  • by EndlessNameless ( 673105 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2017 @06:43PM (#54174223)

    How will this stop anyone besides the absolute dumbest terrorists? Won't they just start lying?

    Almost anyone can lie convincingly given enough practice. Look at Congress.

    • by sconeu ( 64226 )

      You see, there's the beauty of it! The last question is, "Have you truthfully answered all the above?"

  • It says "Tourists from Britain and other countries" then refers to paywall article. Anyone able read the full list of countries and post here?
  • putting the effort and money into road safety or public health. A far better Return On Investment.

  • Australian here (Score:3, Insightful)

    by caviare ( 830421 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2017 @07:32PM (#54174587)

    I was dismayed the last time I visited the United States, when after the indignity of being treated like a criminal by having my fingerprints taken for the first time, the border official said to me, "Now that wasn't such a big deal was it". Border officials have absolute power. Being on business, I was in no position to offer an alternative opinion and run the risk of being sent home.

    Your tourism industry will be suffering. I stopped travelling for pleasure to the US long ago. If I should visit Canada for a holiday you can be sure I will travel via Auckland or Asia and not LA.

    Fuck you guys, I'm tired of your shit.

  • People seem to think this is anything more than turning up the heat on the frog pot. We've been getting slowly boiled for a long, long time.

    Welcome to the United States.

    Zappa had it nailed on the jobless recovery too.

    Food Gathering in Post-Industrial America, 1992

  • Let's face it, the US economy is dependent on exports. Now, what do you export? Unfortunately the statistics I know don't declare tourism as an export article, but judging from the GDP data, we can at least start pondering

    agriculture: 1.1%
    industry: 19.4%
    services: 79.5%

    80 cents of every GDP dollar come from services. Services are now very, very hard to export. Either you have to send the person performing the service abroad, or you have to get the person using (and paying for) the service here. Since the for

  • Just don't go spouting any bullshit about freedom of speech, religion, freedom from unreasonable searches, etc. Or they'll throw you out as some sort of commie subversive

  • Treated as anyone should be - as equals. Oh well, that's me banned from Trumpelstiltskin's America then. Good.

  • Reciprocity ... (Score:4, Informative)

    by CaptainDork ( 3678879 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2017 @09:41PM (#54175193)

    ... should rule the day.

    All countries should respond in kind to any vetting and any banning by the USA.

    I'm an American and not particularly proud of it.

  • Pot, meet kettle! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jenningsthecat ( 1525947 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2017 @10:53PM (#54175483)

    FTS: "... questions under consideration included... how (visa applicants) view the treatment of women in society".

    Methinks VP Pence would fail that test miserably. His anti-abortion stance favours a law that would even prevent even rape victims from aborting the fetuses fathered by their rapists. He made a (thankfully unsuccessful) attempt to enact legislation forcing women to pay for funerals for the blood and tissue ejected when they miscarry. Now that's what I call a positive and respectful attitude towards women in society!

    As for the US government becoming an even creepier Peeping Tom when it comes to probing visitors' privacy, I no longer care. I was already saying "No!" when it came to visiting the States, and now I'm saying "Hell no!", so this doesn't represent a very big change. I don't know why Trump is wasting the money that US taxpayers, (not Mexico), will pay to build his damned wall. He's already erecting a pretty effective virtual wall - lots of people around the world are staying away because of the antics of the knuckle-dragging thug that runs the place. If he keeps it up, even the most desperate Mexicans may feel safer with the drug lords, corruption, and abject poverty in their native country than they would in the land of der Trumpenfuhrer.

Machines certainly can solve problems, store information, correlate, and play games -- but not with pleasure. -- Leo Rosten