48 hours to stop the US govt from spying on its visitors!

30 September 2017 — OpenMedia

This is urgent: There’s less than 48 hours until the U.S. State Department closes public feedback on whether they should be gathering the social media history of people applying for U.S. visas. Under new rules, 65,000 people a year are being asked to provide every social media handle they used over the past five years – enabling government bureaucrats to scour through everything they’ve posted on those accounts.1,2

A few months ago, this new rule was granted a 6 month emergency approval rather than the customary 3 years. And now, the Trump administration wants to know if the public thinks it should be extended for even longer.

You’re one of the 11,732 people from around the world who took action with us, and sent an emergency fax to ask that this new rule be removed.

That’s why I’m asking if you can take action again, right now?

Submit your comment here

Please paste this information at the top of your comments:
Title of Information Collection: Supplemental Questions for Visa Applicants
OMB Control Number: 1405-0226
Form Number: DS-5535

It’s not a pretty form, but I hope I can make it easy for you make your voice heard! While it’s best to write your own comments, here are a few talking points to help you on your way:

  • Please do not renew the requirement for visa applicants to provide five years of social media handles.
  • Using social media posts to vet applicants puts free speech at risk around the globe.
  • When arbitrary power is granted to officials to deny visas based on their interpretations of an individual’s social media history, the chilling effect on free speech affects all Internet users, who fear openly expressing personal or political views in case such rules could someday be made to apply to them.
  • Internet users should not fear having to justify each tweet or Instagram post to an immigration official.
  • These new measures will also have huge implications for tourism and trade in the U.S., as well as the threat of reciprocal rules being put in place for American travellers.

Comments are being taken through this form: https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=DOS-2017-0032-0001

Please paste this information at the top of your comments:
Title of Information Collection: Supplemental Questions for Visa Applicants
OMB Control Number: 1405-0226
Form Number: DS-5535

This policy puts Internet users everywhere at risk of self-censorship. It sends a message that at any point, governments could change the rules to make anything you’ve ever tweeted or instagrammed a basis for making decisions about your ability to visit, work in, or move to another country.

Together, as a global Internet community, we MUST stand together: to protect vulnerable Internet users, to defend our privacy, and to uphold free speech online. I hope sincerely that you can be a part of this with us.

Thank you for everything you do!

Victoria with OpenMedia

P.S. You can also edit or submit this pre-filled email to make your comment. Thank you again!


[1] Trump administration approves social media screening for visa applicants: The Verge
[2] US can ask visa applicants for social media history: BBC News
Background and further reading from Regulations.gov


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