US extreme vetting now includes Aussie travellers

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The United States is now asking US visa applicants to disclose their social media account information or risk having entry requests knocked back.

The new law came into effect as of 7 June, and applies to all applicants, including Australians and around 15 million international travellers each year.

However, Australians entering the country for periods of 90 days or fewer will not have to divulge their social media account information, as they are covered under the Visa Waiver Program.

“National security is our top priority when adjudicating visa applications, and every prospective traveller and immigrant to the United States undergoes extensive security screening,” the US State Department told ABC News.

“We are constantly working to find mechanisms to improve our screening processes to protect US citizens, while supporting legitimate travel to the United States.”

On the new application form, travellers will have to disclose their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Reddit account details, including any account details they may have had in the past five years.

Applicants caught lying about their social media information could face “serious immigration consequences”, says The Hill.

The new laws have their share of critics, with some saying they could lead to censorship and freedom of speech infringements.

“This attempt to collect a massive amount of information on the social media activity of millions of visa applicants is yet another ineffective and deeply problematic Trump administration plan,” said American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project director Hina Shamsi.

“There is a real risk that social media vetting will unfairly target immigrants and travellers from Muslim-majority countries for discriminatory visa denials, without doing anything to protect national security.”

What do you think of such laws? Do you think Australian visa applicants should have to declare all social media account information? Or is this going too far?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?

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22 Comments

Total Comments: 22
  1. 0
    0

    won’t annoy me .. the USA is becoming more like Nazi Germany, a totalitarian state, it has the highest civilian death rates in the world by shootings etc, higher than African countries so often portrayed as trouble spots.
    It’s safer to visit Russia or China or go to Canada, you’ll get your fill of loud-mouthed, opinionated Americans visiting Canada…

  2. 0
    0

    How rare and very pleasing to see “fewer” used instead of “less”! Good grammar is a dying art.

    • 0
      0

      Amelia, if FEWER people got their knickers in a knot over things like this, then the imminent death of grammar would be much LESS of a problem.

      And as for spelling, try the following –

      Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in
      waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the
      frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae.
      The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm.
      Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the
      wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh?

    • 0
      0

      What a waste of time comment …. nothing to do with the subject wowowowo naybe Amekia has nothing 2Do only check the spellinge ….wowowow

  3. 0
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    Hello big brother. No privacy, no freedom, facial recognition, gate recognition, biometrics, fingerprint scans, They’ll want a stool sample next

  4. 0
    0

    One of the inevitable spin-offs from terrorism and lets not forget the nationality of the perpetrator of NZ atrocities. However nothing to get too upset unless you want to spend more than three months there and besides if your social media accounts are “social” what’s the problem ?

  5. 0
    0

    One of the inevitable spin-offs from terrorism and lets not forget the nationality of the perpetrator of NZ atrocities. However nothing to get too upset unless you want to spend more than three months there and besides if your social media accounts are “social” what’s the problem ?

  6. 0
    0

    Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Just as Australia needs to keep those wishing to arrive without proper identification and clearances America is ensuring that those wishing to enter their country are properly vetted. As I read the article, there may not be a lot of Australians caught up in this new legislation as very few would wish to stay more than three months. What it does mean for Australians is that America is trying to make a safer place for its citizens as well as tourists. If one has nothing to hide surely this is just a bump in the road?

    • 0
      0

      The “nothing to hide” statement depends very much on what is being looked for based upon the laws that apply to that circumstance.
      It is very easy to fall foul of a totalitarian State by behaving in a way that would be normal in the Australia of 40 years ago. While we all want to be protected from terrorists and criminals it can be too easy for laws can be framed by a government which do infringe on Human Rights.
      There is a fine line which can be crossed by politicians seeking to protect themselves from an inspection of their activities.
      George Orwell had a point with 1984 and we, and the USA, are headed down that path.

    • 0
      0

      The “nothing to hide” statement depends very much on what is being looked for based upon the laws that apply to that circumstance.
      It is very easy to fall foul of a totalitarian State by behaving in a way that would be normal in the Australia of 40 years ago. While we all want to be protected from terrorists and criminals it can be too easy for laws can be framed by a government which do infringe on Human Rights.
      There is a fine line which can be crossed by politicians seeking to protect themselves from an inspection of their activities.
      George Orwell had a point with 1984 and we, and the USA, are headed down that path.

    • 0
      0

      Wrong way round OM
      Actually “Liberty is the price of eternal vigilance”

      And Tom, heard you the first time mate

    • 0
      0

      I laughed about your ‘making America safer’
      There is a direct correlation between the USA invading other countries and the rise of terrorism and refugees

    • 0
      0

      Well Old Man if they wanted to make the place safer they could do no better than start at home. As more Americans are killed by Americans than any foreigners or terrorists, simply bringing in some sensible gun laws would be a good start. The constitutional amendment to allow the bearing of arm was written in the days of flintlocks and didn’t include sub machine guns. Insisting on unloaded, safe storage would reduce numerous deaths but Americans clearly put gun freedom well above the lives of their spouses and children and we’re told they are a civilised nation.

  7. 0
    0

    Anyone who thinks a social media search is not already conducted is kidding themselves. Even employers do it these days. As always be careful what you post because you never know when it will come back to bite you.

  8. 0
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    Have no intention ogf going to the states anyway. You think this is getting to a “nazi” regime, wait til you see what we have in store for us here.

  9. 0
    0

    What???? Thank goodness I don’t ever want to go to the US!

  10. 0
    0

    Given that USA citizens kill the equivalent of a world war of their own people every year, they are not even intersted in protecting their kids in schools, shoppers prowl malls with loaded guns and two year olds sitting in shopping trolleys shoot their own mother’s with loaded and cocked guns from their handbags, you have to wonder why they are worried about us? Far more Americans die on the roads or from drugs or just shooting each other each year than died on 9/11. But then I suppose that as Americans have killed over a million foreigners in numerous external attacks (often with Australia’s support) since WW2 perhaps they should be worried that quite a few might be seeking retribution. The USA, Unlimited Slayings & Assassinations – the killing nation.. . .

    • 0
      0

      Sad but true Viking.

      They are also the only country violently insane enough to have actually used nuclear weapons. And that was on the civilian populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

      Makes 9/11 look insignificant.

      So who are the real terrorists on this planet? The US not us.

    • 0
      0

      I agree with all three posters

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