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Homeland Security Will Soon Collect Immigrants' Social Media Info

Similar programs have already been tested by both ICE and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Posted at 8:37 PM, Sep 26, 2017

The Department of Homeland Security will soon start collecting social media and search result information on immigrants.

First reported by BuzzFeed, the new rule was originally published Sept. 18. It allows DHS to collect immigrants' "social media handles, aliases, associated identifiable information, and search results."

The policy would apply to green card holders, naturalized citizens, legal guardians of immigrants who have disabilities, and those involved in DHS national security or immigration-related investigations. BuzzFeed points out collecting that information could also affect anyone who has ever interacted or communicated with immigrants online.

Programs like this have already been tested by both ICE and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. But in February, the Office of Inspector General said those programs "lack criteria for measuring performance."

The new policy has already garnered criticism from lawyers and privacy advocates, and many question whether social media even helps with the vetting process.

The new policy is currently taking formal comments. It's set to take effect Oct. 18.