back to article 'Hey, Homeland Security. Don't you dare demand Twitter, Facebook passwords at the border'

Over 50 human rights and civil liberties groups, nearly 100 law professors and security experts, and lawmakers have launched a campaign against digital searches at the US border. An open letter condemns recent comments by Homeland Security secretary John Kelly in which he proposed requiring selected non-citizens entering the …

  1. Mikel

    Disturbing

    In the US immigrants are taking cover wherever they can. It's a return to the bad old days.

    CBP has a great deal of power over their charges. Abuse of power here really doesn't have most of the checks and balances of the rest of American society.

    1. Wzrd1

      Re: Disturbing

      Actually, the traditional checks and balances still apply for those within the US.

      CBIS is an executive branch agency. Congress has the checkbook and can immediately defund the agency if it disapproves of the activities of that agency.

      The courts still apply the law and can hold CBIS agents, management and leaders in contempt of court for not obeying the orders of the court. If the executive branch then fires marshals for attempting to enforce the law, a Constitutional crisis occurs, which Congress either addresses or permits the entire Constitution to be null and void.

      In the latter case, it would then come down to how the military feels against a Commander in Chief destroying and undermining a Constitution it swore to protect and uphold.

      And how Congress would feel when Trump were summarily dumped inside of the House of Representatives by that military.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Disturbing

      "In the US immigrants are taking cover wherever they can. It's a return to the bad old days."

      Name _ONE_ country where non-citizens have the SAME rights as citizens.

      *crickets*

      You use the term 'immigrants' loosely. You should be saying 'visitors'. *ILLEGAL* immigrants should be arrested and deported. LEGAL immigrants are on their way to becoming citizens, or have valid visas for working within the country. Doesn't every OTHER nation on the planet have SIMILAR rules that they ENFORCE? So much *WHINING* over what should otherwise be a SIMPLE issue!

      1. Stevie Silver badge

        Re: Name _ONE_ country where non-citizens

        Non citizens of the US do not have "the same rights" as citizens.

        But insofar as they do have rights, Canada springs to mind as a country with a more enlightened policy and laws when it comes to "undocumented" aliens.

        The term "illegal immigrant" can cover many bases you are seemingly not aware of. For example, under current draconian interpretations, an I-95 that takes too long to undergo a change of status* INSIDE THE GOVERNMENT MACHINE can stick a former legal immigrant in a very dodgy place.

        Ask me how I know this.

        * needed to rectify a situation created by a pissy Immigration Official who was having a bad day when the holder came through the gate, otherwise unencumbered with issues, and therefore decided that the holder of a brand new six month H1 Visa should only have a ONE month stay despite clear proof of employment beyond that date and an embassy-issued document "covering" the actual requirement

      2. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

        Re: Disturbing

        "Name _ONE_ country where non-citizens have the SAME rights as citizens."

        Well, skipping over your broad-brush terminology of "non-citizen" and using the US Merriam-Webster definitions of "Citizen" and "Noncitizen", I can indeed provide an example of a country where, by law and on paper, non-citizens of various types (refugees, asylum seekers, migrant workers etc.) have the same inalienable rights as "citizens".

        It's called the United States of America.

        Even ignoring the legal definition, let me quote you some very, very famous pieces of text. You may even know them.

        "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..."

        "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

        If you want America to "Be Great" again, try repeating these words to yourself until you understand them. When you do, repeat them to others.

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  2. NoneSuch
    Big Brother

    Trips

    I had three trips planned to the US this year. A trade show event in Chicago, a Las Vegas weekend stag and Boston convention. All cancelled.

    They can make whatever rules they want. I can choose to not go there.

    PS. We need a stiff middle finger icon.

    1. Andy Non

      Re: Trips

      I'd been thinking of a holiday in the U.S. taking in the Grand Canyon, but bugger that now. I'm not visiting the Fascist States of America while the goon Trump is in charge. Plenty more places in the world to go.

      1. Chunky Munky
        Stop

        Re: Trips

        Agreed. 'Er indoors retires at Christmas and we're going to celebrate with a 'once in a lifetime' trip. The short list was Grand Canyon/Vegas/San Francisco etc or New Zealand. The US trip would have allowed us to spend more time there for the available budget. However, we're now off to the travel agency at the end of the month to book the New Zealand adventure

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Trips

          New Zealand is awesome, you won't regret the choice.

          (Not an anonymous Kiwi).

          1. Kiwi Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: Trips

            New Zealand is awesome, you won't regret the choice.

            Well, mostly anyway.. Though be sure about any waterways you wish to swim in, reports today indicate that our government has decided to end pollution by re-defining what is classed as "pollution" (disclaimer : haven't yet got around to looking at it in depth, just a few little bits on the radio as I've been out and about today).

            I do however welcome you, and hope you enjoy your stay. You'll find most of the people welcoming, the beer horribly cold, not sure how you'd rate the food, the tap water wonderfully clean, and the scenery (often) beyond words. Just take note of anywhere you want to swim.

            (Also not an anonymous Kiwi)

      2. macjules Silver badge

        Re: Trips

        I am in a position now where I can not get out of going to Baltimore this March. Now I know that they might want access to my Facebook and Twitter I shall quite happily follow the same process that I daresay Daesh fanatics use and simply create another user account and let them have that one.

    2. Notas Badoff
      Unhappy

      Re: Trips

      An organization I belong to normally alternates conferences yearly between US and either Europe/Asia. Because of a great hosting proposal for last year, the last two years were non-US. Surprises abound, as suddenly this year's conference will now be in Spain. Spain as a better site for religious tolerance blows my mind, but fits the times.

      I'm not sure this organization *can* ever again be hosted in the US. And I think the US might not notice, tolerance passé, more's the pity.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Trips

        Well nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition

    3. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: Trips

      Ditto, a minimum of two conferences cancelled. My view to my bosses (and those working on the conferences) was: "If Snowden can, so can I. We're a tech company FGS, we can make that work."

      Hell, even today at a conference we had video conferencing running during presentations to make sure those who couldn't attend in person could attend remotely.

    4. Wzrd1

      Re: Trips

      Good for you! Make sure that the venue is aware of why you canceled your trip. The more businesses are impacted and they know why, the less support the Oaf Filled Office will have for such nonsense.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Trips

      I had three trips planned to the US this year. A trade show event in Chicago, a Las Vegas weekend stag and Boston convention. All cancelled.

      From your trip cadence, it appers likely that you are Canadian. If that is the case, I hope you do realise that Canadian CBP agents have very similar powers to search and impound all your electronic devices, as well as to make you produce your passwords - local or online. One major difference with the US is that the rules governing these searches are secret, or possibly have been deliberately not codified. As the result, you are entirely at the whim of the CBP agent you are dealing with, which is rarely a good thing.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Trips

      Quite right. I actually got told off at work for even mentioning the issue, the reason cited was "ties with US business".

      If they want to support Trump when so many others agree with my position then that is their business.

    7. Disk0

      Re: Trips

      we cancelled this year's trip to the inlaws. I used to only have to worry about random people with guns, texting drivers in trucks, stray bears, dodgy infrastructure that can fall apart above or below you, and the odd overly assertive hobo demanding to be renumerated for their rendition of Kansas' Dust In The Wind.

      As someone who tries not to be delusional, I can no longer in good faith trust that the authorities let both of us into the US, that we will be left alone when there, and let out when we want to.

      Every policy so far has been more of a clusterfuck than any B-movie I have ever seen, overbearing, misapplied, illegal, unconstitutional but before all, directed as hateful actions towards anyone who is not brownnosing the screeching orange retard.If anything, it is becoming "Kafka: the reality show"

      There is no way of knowing when exactly they are going to go full Kristallnacht, I hope they don't, but when they do, that's not the kind of vacation fun I am looking for.

  3. Ketlan
    Mushroom

    Bollocks to Trump

    They can demand all they want - I don't have anything to do with Twitter, Facebook or any of the other time-wasting crap on the net. Besides, there are plenty of places to go rather than the US.

    1. Red Bren

      Re: Bollocks to Trump

      "I don't have anything to do with Twitter, Facebook or any of the other time"

      We don't believe you and if you don't comply, there's a lovely holiday camp in the Caribbean where you can stay until you reconsider.

      Of course, while everyone must have one twitter/facebook/time-wasting crap account for posting cat videos, no one could possibly have a second account for nefarious reasons...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bollocks to Trump

        Sorry to disappoint. No such accounts here.

        My cat doesn't approve of them either.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Wayland Bronze badge

      Re: Bollocks to Trump

      No, this is Fake News. The story is the active component here, they're not going to do this. They want to hear you all bleat. Bahh Bahh Bahh.

    3. wikkity

      Re: Bollocks to Trump

      RE: I don't have anything to do with Twitter, Facebook

      They'll also want your theregister password

      1. Sixtysix

        Re: Also want your theregister password

        My elReg password?

        It was set up so long ago (time and emails) that only the fact my browser remembers the username/password allows me to post!

        And yes - my machine has been replaced, probably multiple times, which does imply that at some stage I managed to guess the right email, and then brute force my own (admittedly formula based) password by repeated attempts.

        Hmm - leave it with my Agent, I'll be able to hack in soon... really... sooooooon.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm a US citizen

    And they asked me to turn over my phones and passwords the other day when coming back into the country. Fortunately I work for an international law firm, so I was aware of my rights, but too many travelers are not.

    I suppose they were just trying to harass me because my co-workers and I were handing out flyers to other passengers that detailed their rights under international law and how rights under the US Constitution apply to everyone, regardless of citizenship status (except the stuff that explicitly uses the word 'citizen'). We got permission from the airline to do so beforehand, and they had their lawyers sign off on it as well.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm a US citizen

      I had to visit the US last week.

      I was waved straight through security with barely a glance.

      Later on the plane realised I was listening to the audiobook of "In the high castle" so my phone's lock screen was the cover image = a Swastika on top of an American flag

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'm a US citizen

        "Later on the plane realised I was listening to the audiobook of "In the high castle" so my phone's lock screen was the cover image = a Swastika on top of an American flag"

        Reminds me of flying into apartheid South Africa. It was only when customs asked if I had any books or magazines that I remembered the book in my pocket was "To Kill a Mocking Bird". Fortunately he was more concerned with confiscating things like Mayfair or Playboy - which the locals used to leave behind on their seats.

        1. poohbear

          Re: I'm a US citizen

          To Kill a Mockingbird was okay. Had it as a setwork in high school.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I'm a US citizen

            "To Kill a Mockingbird was okay."

            I discovered later that it was on open sale in the equivalent of W H Smith's in Pretoria. As were the two very derogatory South African satirical novels of the expelled Tom Sharpe.

            Never did fathom out the SA censor's criteria. Some people said that the censors were not fluent in English - so non-pictorial stuff went unchallenged. Amateur Photographer magazine often went on sale with its front cover torn off.

            The "Carry On" films got away with double entendres - both verbal and visual. Normally they shredded "permissive" films - irrespective of plot relevance. There was general surprise when they passed "The Love Ban" (Anyone for Sex?) with some full frontal female nudity. It was explained that the censors probably wanted to promote its anti-Pope theme.

            They gave "Dirty Harry" a "family viewing" certificate - after only cutting a fleeting view of a topless woman. The gory violence was left uncut.

            1. anothercynic Silver badge

              Re: I'm a US citizen

              Ask Pieter-Dirk Uys (one of South Africa's best satirists) about the fun he used to have with the South African Censor Board, especially when he had a new show to promote... *smirk*

              Yeah, I'm old enough to remember the man and his antics.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: I'm a US citizen

              As were the two very derogatory South African satirical novels of the expelled Tom Sharpe.

              The part where a bishop gets charged with willful genuflection by the police is just brilliant :)

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: I'm a US citizen

                "The part where a bishop gets charged with willful genuflection by the police is just brilliant"

                Fnarr, fnarr...

                </Frankie Howerd mode>

    2. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: I'm a US citizen

      Would be nice to know what those rights are and get that on printed material. The more travellers know what their rights are, the better.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @anothercynic

        "Would be nice to know what those rights are and get that on printed material. The more travellers know what their rights are, the better."

        You have the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used to get you to return to your own country. You have a right to an attorney, but we don't allow you to use your phone to call one nor will we call one for you because you're not under arrest (yet) so there's no use.

        Probably something like that :P

        1. DropBear Silver badge

          Re: @anothercynic

          "You have the right to remain silent"

          ...unless we're asking for one of your account handles and/or passwords/PINs, in which case remaining silent will be considered threatening national security.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'm a US citizen

        "Would be nice to know what those rights are and get that on printed material. The more travellers know what their rights are, the better."

        I'll see if I can find an English copy of it, all I have is the copies for Middle Eastern languages (Arabic, Hebrew, Farsi, Kurdish, Turkish, etc). The other language versions are normally hosted on our website, but its been down for the last few weeks due to DDoS.

        But essentially it is a re-printing of select sections of the Constitution and Bill of Rights (Specifically 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,9, 11, etc and short explanations of with those mean to a foreign citizen. (particularly, that while they may be able to turn you back, they can't detain you without cause). As well as some excerpts from the Vienna Accords and various other agreements.

        One of the first things listed is that they have the inalienable right to have a private conversation with a representative of their country or a country that is delegated that capability. The others at the top include the concept of Due Process and the Miranda Rights.

        The rest is mostly about due process, the right not to incriminate one's self, the right to a trial by jury, and similar rights. There is also a list of organizations and non-profits that will provide legal representation. We're working with the Human Rights Council to get them printer and fully distributed. We're also talking to a couple airlines about having them included with the Customs Declaration forms that passengers are given.

    3. billse10

      Re: I'm a US citizen

      "my co-workers and I were handing out flyers to other passengers that detailed their rights under international law and how rights under the US Constitution apply to everyone, regardless of citizenship status"

      Good for you - and colleagues. Don't suppose it's available for download is it?

    4. 404 Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: I'm a US citizen

      Yeah, they don't like that.

      Held my wife up so long punishing her for asking for a pat down instead of going through the machine, she almost missed her flight. Then TSA was eyeballing me looking at my watch, wondering when/if she was going to make it, since I could *see* her from where I was in the terminal, and TSA comes over to hassle me...

      Security Theatre...

      *the one with no pockets, cuz TSA doesn't like that either...

      1. Mark Jan

        Re: I'm a US citizen

        I've only been to the US once. Returning from Boston a couple of years ago the staff couldn't have been friendlier or more accommodating when I asked for a pat down instead of a body scan. (I don't like body scanners of whatever flavour for health reasons). The TSA agent was professional, friendly and chatty and far better mannered than the goons who greeted me at Heathrow.

        1. Kiwi Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: I'm a US citizen

          The TSA agent was professional, friendly and chatty and far better mannered than the goons who greeted me at Heathrow.

          "Heathrow? This is TSA Boston. Hey listen, we got a guy named Mark Jan on his way over to you. Yeah that's him. Hey listen, he asked for a pat-down rather than a trip through our body-scanner, and he had this weird look about him as we did it. You might want to give him some extra attention when he arrives".

    5. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: I'm a US citizen

      We got permission from the airline to do so beforehand, and they had their lawyers sign off on it as well.

      Which airline was that? I think they deserve a bit of positive publicity.

    6. Someone Else Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: I'm a US citizen

      We got permission from the airline to do so beforehand, and they had their lawyers sign off on it as well.

      What airline? I'd like to reward them with my business.

      1. LaeMing Silver badge

        Re: To Kill a Mockingbird

        It's like these nutters who 'smuggle' bibles into China. You can buy a bible (or a Koran, or the texts of any major religion) in any Chinese big-city major bookshop.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'm a US citizen

        "What airline? I'd like to reward them with my business."

        KLM's Middle East subsidiary (Might have actually been KLM themselves, not sure how their corporate structure works)

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Trollface

    "only block those [..] who have never entered the country previously"

    Oh, you mean like those terrorists who scout the target area months or years in advance ?

    So you'll let those guys through because they've already been here. Well done. Way to Keep America Safe.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "only block those [..] who have never entered the country previously"

      "those terrorists who scout the target area months or years in advance"

      I call those people White, Racist, Christian, Fuckheads. You dirtbag Christians were bombing the US well before the Muslims got the idea. And you're all immigrants! Every last White American Idiot is an immigrant from some other country, not North America. Still, don't let your hypocrisy hit you in the ass on the way out!

      1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

        Re: "only block those [..] who have never entered the country previously"

        Broken irony detector?

      2. Vector

        Re: "only block those [..] who have never entered the country previously"

        "Every last White American Idiot is an immigrant from some other country..."

        No, most white American idiots are descended from immigrants, though some actually are immigrants.

        I, myself, am a native American (I am not indigenous but I am native). My grandfather and his mother and sister were immigrants, but I was born here and have never known any other home.

        This, in fact, is a large part of the problem: people in the US forget that we are largely descended from immigrants and those nouveau natives now want to keep the country to themselves.

        But even with all of that, this new idea of forcing people to surrender access to social media accounts is ludicrous! It's as much an invasion as asking for the keys to your car or house!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "only block those [..] who have never entered the country previously"

          "people in the US forget that we are largely descended from immigrants"

          Especially that guy who keeps coming up on the news? Can't remember his name. German ancestry - grandfather was German went to the US around the time of the gold rush. Father was born in the US but was such a great patriot he was accused of profiteering during WWII, and then also investigated for various Civil Rights Act issues (I guess being arrested during a Klan march will do that for a reputation). Weirdly although his father claimed to be Swedish, but the son has been talking nonsense about Sweden recently.

        2. IsJustabloke Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: "only block those [..] who have never entered the country previously"

          "This, in fact, is a large part of the problem: people in the US forget that we are largely descended from immigrants"

          The evidence seems to suggest the exact opposite of that; and seems to me to be a big part of the problem... as in "I'm Irish/Italian/Polish/Armenian/whatever American" which seems to be the way an awful lot of people seem to identify despite the fact that having been born there to parents that were also born there would make them "American" (I've no problem with "American of [country] extraction" I myself am English of Italian extraction )

      3. Kiwi Silver badge

        Re: "only block those [..] who have never entered the country previously"

        I call those people White, Racist, Christian, Fuckheads.

        Sounds like somebody just woke up on the wrong side of a full scale body-cavity search....

  6. druck Silver badge
    Mushroom

    What next?

    Protests about taking finger prints at the border came to nothing, as will the handing over of passwords.

    What next, a full DNA sequence and a brain scan in order to enter that god forsaken former colony?

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: What next?

      If you have a brain then you're not allowed in.

      1. DropBear Silver badge

        Re: What next?

        Nonsense, of course you are. You just have to leave it at the border for the duration of your stay. You can have your brain back when you leave, we might even get it nicely washed for you...

      2. Someone Else Silver badge

        Re: What next?

        If you have a brain, why would you want to come in (under the current environment)?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What next?

          "If you have a brain, why would you want to come in (under the current environment)?"

          As an American citizen, I am researching places to get TO, and remain. If the Twit-in-Chief gets removed from office I would remain, but long before a second term I'll be out.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the majority of Americans do not want this bullsht

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/cover_story/2017/02/the_first_month_of_the_trump_presidency_has_been_more_cruel_and_destructive.html

    1. SundogUK

      Re: the majority of Americans do not want this bullsht

      I can assure you that Slate does not represent the majority of Americans. Not even close.

    2. Someone Else Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: the majority of Americans do not want this bullsht

      Since when does what the "majority of Americans want" (or don't want) matter? It's only what the fat-ass 1/10th of 1% want that matters; the rest, in the immortal words of Jefferson Airplane, "doesn't mean shit to a tree".

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What do you mean 'looming'?

    It's already happening, a colleague and his family are Muslims, the daughter is a US citizen and was intimidated into handing over her smartphone and all social media passwords by TSA on her return home after a family wedding in the UK.

    Sorry US, calling yourselves the land of the free has become an ironic joke.

    1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      Re: What do you mean 'looming'?

      I note a few days ago a news story about a Welsh teacher accompanying other teachers and kids from a school in Wales, was stopped and prevented from flying to the USA as a US customs point in Iceland. He was born British, with a UK passport, but had a 'Muslim' surname. So all the legal protests and all the standing laws of the USA as as nothing compared to one little swaggering jumped-up security guard.

      1. Hey Nonny Nonny Mouse

        Re: What do you mean 'looming'?

        Happened to a British born Muslim friend of mine back in the Bush days too, his name flagged an alert on some watch list and he was refused boarding at Manchester airport for a family holiday to Disney.

        Kinda narrows down the name combinations when you realise an awful lot of Muslim boys are named Muhamed first and then live their lives using a middle name for daily life.

        1. Steve the Cynic

          Re: What do you mean 'looming'?

          "an awful lot of Muslim boys are named Muhamed first and then live their lives using a middle name for daily life"

          Could be worse. I used to work with a guy who went by his middle name because his first name was "Allah".

  9. Gene Cash Silver badge

    This has been a policy since at least 2008

    For once, Trump isn't at fault, as much of a dickhead as he is. It stems from the Ninth Circuit US v. Arnold decision: https://www.eff.org/cases/us-v-arnold in 2008

    It's good that it's finally getting pushback even though it's REALLY FUCKING LATE.

    https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2008/05/protecting-yourself-suspicionless-searches-while-t

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: This has been a policy since at least 2008

      Arnold wasn't required to hand over his social media passwords. That is new, and it's all Trump.

      1. Diogenes

        Re: This has been a policy since at least 2008

        That is new, and it's all Trump.

        Male Bovine excretment

        Look at the New York Times dated June 28 2016 ...

        WASHINGTON — The federal government has proposed adding a line to forms filled out by visitors to the United States that would ask them to voluntarily disclose their social media accounts, a step that it said would help in screening for ties to terrorism.

        or there is Politico 22/12/206 (before Trump was sworn in for those who need to remove shoes to count to 20)

        NEW YORK — The U.S. government quietly began requesting that select foreign visitors provide their Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts upon arriving in the country, a move designed to spot potential terrorist threats that drew months of opposition from tech giants and privacy hawks alike.

        1. Roj Blake Silver badge

          Re: This has been a policy since at least 2008

          Diogenes: the 2016 article refers to people having to hand over their user names or URLs, not their passwords. There's a big difference!

        2. Simon Harris Silver badge

          Re: This has been a policy since at least 2008

          I notice the word 'voluntarily' there.

          "voluntarily: done, made, or given willingly, without being forced or paid to do it"

          i.e. not compelled to do it.

          1. NightFox

            Re: This has been a policy since at least 2008

            Sure, voluntarily - no one's going to force you to do it, you can just decline and jump back on the next flight home.

            Besides Sir, if you've got nothing to hide then why on earth wouldn't you want to support us in our fight against terrorism? Heck, no, there must be some goddam reason you're acting so un-American and unpatriotic (apart from not being American). Sir, are you obstructing me in my duties? etc etc etc

        3. Someone Else Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: This has been a policy since at least 2008

          What part of a "proposed" adding of a line to a form equates with requiring its disclosure?

      2. subject

        Re: This has been a policy since at least 2008

        Be fair. Mr Trump only wants your Twitter password so he can log on to your account and force you to follow him. And what's wrong with that? Anyone on Twitter deserves to follow Mr Trump. It's a benefit, not an punishment. And listening to Mr Trump's pearls of wisdom is simply joyful.

  10. MNGrrrl
    Mushroom

    Won't come to anything

    First, I wish there was a 'murica icon on El Reg... but this one is the closest fit (dramatic irony is fun).

    Here's the thing: You could get signatures from every professor, every student, from every field, but they won't listen. Terrorism is the new communism... and before it was fascism. And before *that* it was europeans... and then native americans, all the way back to when we were hating on the British (by the by, I think you guys are great. Sorry about that whole Brexit thing, and how we were such dicks about your nuclear weapons program you risked a nuclear catastrophe to prove what valuable allies you were. Very much a dick move for us). In every generation there has been a scarecrow, a boogieman that hides under the bed.

    Why? Because our executive branch heads the military, and nothing promotes a strong military like fear of "Them" does... whoever Them is. And so, we've always had a scarecrow, and the scarecrow has been the traditional way in every society of effacing individual freedoms in deference to the State. That's all there is to it. There's no complicated politics, no real danger... there's nothing here. But by making nothing into something, the power of the executive branch is expanded. And there has always been collateral damage... there's always been a dog we kicked. During WWII we had the Japanese internment camps. We did it again with Guantanamo Bay. We tortured people and defaced our core principles -- and we did it all so we could have a slightly more powerful President. And now we have Homeland Security, the bottomless wellspring that current and future Presidents can draw from whenever they want, trading freedom for power.

    The average American doesn't want the TSA. They don't want Homeland Security. They have been convinced it is a "necessary evil", and believe that because every television, every radio, every Facebook and Twitter post, even our cameras and cell phones are watching us and whispering the same message constantly: "Fear! Fire! Foes!" And it has embedded itself into our culture and become pervasive to the point most people have stopped noticing... or caring.

    It's hardly without precident... remember that when Germany tried to take over the world and hit you guys hard... when Winston Churchill said "Never give up, never surrender"... he wasn't up against the whole of the German people. Only a very few were actually Nazis. The rest simply didn't care. They provided a strong economy and sense of security and... satisfied with their improved quality of life they simply didn't care anymore. It was the path of least resistance -- and historically, that's always where the general public, in every country, has fallen. Whatever is cheapest. Whatever doesn't rock the boat. And so it is here -- a small minority are responsible for these injustices. The rest... simply don't care.

    And no amount of petitioning or protesting is going to change it until it's their house that gets burned down, their children that get sent to the war, their wealth that's on the line. As it has always been... everywhere. Ever.

    1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      Re: Won't come to anything

      Terrorism is the new communism... and before it was fascism.

      It's ironic really; Putin is now a Good Guy (TM), and they're rolling out the red carpet for fascism.

    2. GortonSM

      Re: Won't come to anything

      "Fascism will come to America in the guise of National Security" - Jim Garrison circa 1968

    3. LDS Silver badge

      "Only a very few were actually Nazis"

      It's really true that those who don't know history are doomed to repeat the same mistakes. Yes, only a few were Nazists/Fascists/Communists and the others just obeyed to orders... and the millions of people killed in the concentration and "re-educations" camps or gulags - after being often denounced by their neighbors - happened just because they "simply don't care"?? No, the truth is most people willfully adhere to evil - especially when it is designed to exploit their weakness and promise a "new order". Then, when this "new order" shows it's quite like hell for most of them, if it crumbles then those who hailed it since the beginning say "me? no, no, always against it....".

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Won't come to anything

      +1 vote for the idea of having a 'Murica icon. Perhaps the upside down flag from House of Cards? Or the nazi one from Man in the High Tower?

    5. Baldy50

      Re: Won't come to anything

      Before I start, sorry, just can't help myself sometimes.

      http://www.timesofisrael.com/homeland-security-report-disputes-threats-from-trumps-banned-nations/

      I can agree to scrutinize someone if they've gone to a country known for training people to do acts of terrorism to a degree and strong ties to terrorist organizations but if they are home grown by whatever organization how can you stop that?

      They might just be there to visit family or attend a loved one's funeral, doesn't seem fair to penalize them cos they have family abroad.

      By checking FB and social media accounts for radical comments etc, IDK, might catch some I suppose, there will always be people disgruntled with the system and maybe a little crazy but if we don't solve some of the problems in our society instead of a few nutters we are promoting this shit to a level that's becoming a nightmare for us.

      There are militia movements in the US too and lots of gun clubs, I think home grown radicalism (Whatever faith) is going to be the big problem for any country, this IMO presents the biggest threat cos they may be clever enough or trained to stay off the radar.

      Find the bases used for training and identify those attendees training there needs to be a priority on all possible risks to honest working folks.

      I was parked next to one the four bins the IRA had planted bombs in one day before in Warrington (The one outside the bookies, not MacDonalds BTW, full of kids, a Saturday) and my niece was in the play center that got targeted two days before whilst shopping in the Arndale center, Manchester, so missed that one thank whatever God you pray to, Messed up the gas holders though they failed to go off and two of the devices on Bridge street, luckily the one outside MD's.

      Mentioned that before, but sick of this shit, life's hard enough without it.

      I think religion has become the enemy sometimes and yet inspires so much good in others, eye in the sky is a good movie to watch, load of bollocks mind you, if you've ever seen 'That seriously gone wrong drone strike footage'!

      Rant over.

  11. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Yeah, I can see them taking notice of civil liberties groups

    Just as they took notice of BoJo's assurance that the Muslim ban didn't apply to British citizens...

    British Muslim teacher taken off US-bound flight: I was treated like a criminal

  12. martinusher Silver badge

    A nuisance, an imposition but not the end of the world

    Its not particularly difficult to delete your social media application before crossing the border. After all, this information is stored in the cloud so you just pull it back as needed when you get to where you're going.

    I'm the first to agree that this is wrong, wrong, wrong. However, you need to know when and where to pick a fight with the Federal government; doing this at the port of entry is definitely not a good time. Play dumb, deny knowledge of anything like social media -- after all, any self respecting terrorist will be using a burner phone and sanitized social media accounts so why not just copy them?

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: A nuisance, an imposition but not the end of the world

      Or.. hand over the stuff they want. Once past security, change the frikkin' passwords.

      Actually, just don't do social media or have dummy accounts.

      1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: A nuisance, an imposition but not the end of the world

        "Or.. hand over the stuff they want. Once past security, change the frikkin' passwords.

        Actually, just don't do social media or have dummy accounts."

        Yeah, make sure you change your name by deed poll too if it sounds too furrin for the yankees.

    2. Filippo

      Re: A nuisance, an imposition but not the end of the world

      The thing is, if you have a Facebook account, and tell them you don't, you may be fine. Unless they find out that you actually do have a Facebook account, and told them you didn't. At that point, you are in deep carp for lying to them, which is itself a serious crime. So it's quite risky.

      Re changing your passwords, sure, but that will only protect any new content you make after leaving the airport. Forensic software can quickly download everything on your account within minutes of you givine the password.

      Personally, if I had to travel to the USA, I would be concerned... I have a Facebook account, but I only made it because a game required it for online backups, so it has literally no content. Same for Twitter, I only made that account because there was one feed I wanted to follow years ago. That has to be mighty suspicious.

      1. Korev Silver badge

        Re: A nuisance, an imposition but not the end of the world

        I have two factor authentication enabled pretty much everywhere that supports it. If I was made to hand over my passwords, would I be protected or can they bypass it?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: A nuisance, an imposition but not the end of the world

          "I have two factor authentication [...]"

          They will take your mobile and pin code too - or any other necessary device you carry.

          1. Law

            Re: A nuisance, an imposition but not the end of the world

            You could leave your normal sim at home and use a payg for travel in the US. That way, they don't get the 2fa codes.

            Or, use the payg sim for the codes instead, just leave it at home. If you need a code, leave the phone with a friend and say only forward them to my number if I request it personally from you via a phone call.

    3. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      Re: A nuisance, an imposition but not the end of the world

      Once you start with the preemptive cringe, where do you stop?

  13. dan1980

    As I, and many others, have said before: what if you tell them you don't have any such accounts? And I don't mean: what if you actually don't have any accounts.

    What will they do if you just tell them you don't have any details to give?

    This is the big question because it undermines the whole concept. How do you know they are lying? Yes, if you have a Facebook account in your name with your photo then that is something that can be searched and found but what if you don't have any directly identifying information visible in those accounts?

    At that point, the border control staff have two options: believe you and let you though or don't believe you and single you out for more rigorous screening. The latter amounts to discrimination, though, unfortunately, not of any kind that you are protected from.

    It's a thought that crosses my mind when I see police. Not that I have ever had any negative interactions with them, but I do not carry any photographic ID day-to-day. I just don't.

    So what happens if I am stopped by a police officer and asked for identification? Australian police have the authority to do this and I have an obligation to produce my ID when asked but I have no obligation to either own such ID nor to carry it on my person at all time.

    And that's the problem (one of them!) here as well - border staff will have the authority to request details that you are under no obligation to actually have in the first place.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Australian police have the authority to do this and I have an obligation to produce my ID when asked but I have no obligation to either own such ID nor to carry it on my person at all time."

      The UK wartime ID cards were finally withdrawn several years after the war. The trigger was an incident where a policeman demanded to see someone's ID card - and the incident escalated. I believe the police in England can ask your name and address - but not sure you are obliged to give them an answer.

      1. billse10

        The Met have guidance on stop & account / stop & search that says "it's up to you if you provide your name and address" ..

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          They also say "The search is not voluntary. If you do not cooperate the officer can use reasonable force to conduct the search."

          Which means they can take you round the corner out of sight of CCTV and beat you to death - and then have the case against them dropped

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "Which means they can take you round the corner out of sight of CCTV and beat you to death - and then have the case against them dropped"

            Which is one of the reasons that we, in the US, have a second amendment. Immunity to prosecution does not extend to immunity to bullets.

            1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

              2nd Amendment gives you immunity?

              So the police take you round the corner out of sight of CCTV and beat on you and your defence is to shoot them? What fantasy to you inhabit?

              1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

                Re: 2nd Amendment gives you immunity?

                Presumably one where he's labelled a cop killer and hunted down for shooting an "innocent" cop during a routine stop and search. Because being considered and armed and dangerous cop killer never raised the probability of death...

              2. Disk0
                Holmes

                Re: 2nd Amendment gives you immunity?

                That's either Compton, Baltimore or anywhere in Florida

            2. Kiwi Silver badge
              Trollface

              Immunity to prosecution does not extend to immunity to bullets.

              From what I hear, if you're "black" and live in certain parts of the US, they will give you plenty of opportunity to develop one!

              ----> Does this count as a "cynical bastard" icon?

      2. Youngone Silver badge

        In New Zealand I am obligated to tell any policeman who asks my name and address. I am not obliged to show ID unless I'm driving, in which case I must show a valid drivers license.

        My son recently was asked for ID by a policeman outside a nighclub. He politely told the policeman his name and address and refused to hand over his ID.

        The policeman took it in reasonable spirit, but did say "how do I know if you're telling the truth?", to which my son replied "That's really not my problem, is it?".

        1. dan1980

          @Youngone

          Quite so.

        2. Wzrd1

          @Youngone, in some US states, refusal to present ID upon demand is a misdemeanor.

          1. Someone Else Silver badge
            Big Brother

            @Youngone, in some US states, refusal to present ID upon demand is a misdemeanor.

            Pretty sure those aren't the states where Voter Suppression ID laws are in force....

      3. AndyD 8-)&#8377;

        Laws change, and popularly known facts become out of date - but - it was a well known fact that you were obliged to reply when asked by the police to give your name, but it didn't have to be your 'given name' - hence the large number of Mickey Mice living in the UK

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > "I believe the police in England can ask your name and address - but not sure you are obliged to give them an answer"

        You're obliged to give your name and address once arrested, or if being reported for a reportable offence (there may also be something to do with issues whilst in charge of a motor vehicle). Otherwise, you're not. And refusal to provide details can't be regarded as suspicious behaviour allowing a search (under PACE guidance).

    2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      As I, and many others, have said before: what if you tell them you don't have any such accounts? And I don't mean: what if you actually don't have any accounts.

      What will they do if you just tell them you don't have any details to give?

      As many others have replied; you might get away with it but if they find out or know that you do have such accounts you will be up to your neck in deep shit for having knowingly and deliberately lied to them. As to what they can do to you; you are a lying sack of shit non-American, so pretty much anything is on the cards.

      Besides; what does it say about you that you are prepared to lie? Of course, you have your reason for lying, but you will have proven yourself a liar, a liar who attempted to deceive US agents in the course of their duty. That's not a great badge of merit no matter how justified you think you were.

      I'm not against lying; I can accept justifications for lying. I just don't see wanting to get into America to be one. Unless you were thinking of somehow 'resolving an issue you perceived there to be'. Which is probably how US border guards will also see it.

      Choose the moral path; don't lie, don't go.

  14. Dr Dan Holdsworth Silver badge
    Pirate

    From the department of stating the bleedin' obvious

    Facebook is an American company.

    America has the Patriot Act, which effectively says that plod over there can shout "Terrorists!" then march in and seize data from any American company they so choose, with hardly a murmur.

    So, if a person's Facebook record is of such amazing interest, the simple option for our idiot cousins over the water would be to ask the incoming suspect their name, then go over to Facebook, back their database up to that of the NSA and then simply grep through for info on that particular Facebook user.

    Simple indeed, and not done because this trawl has been dreamed up by lackwitted goons in the ports, not in the American executive or legal hierarchy.

  15. Florida1920 Silver badge

    Do you think they'd believe me

    If I told the truth: I don't have any social-media accounts. Fortunately, I'm a U.S. citizen, and thus exempt from all this spying.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Do you think they'd believe me

      No, you are not exempt from all this spying.

    2. Korev Silver badge

      Re: Do you think they'd believe me

      Fortunately, I'm a U.S. citizen, and thus exempt from all this spying.

      I believe they outsource this to GCHQ...

    3. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: Do you think they'd believe me

      "If I told the truth: I don't have any social-media accounts."

      What do you think this is that we are posting on? The Register doesn't, I imagine, have a special exception.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Do you think they'd believe me

        Do they specifically mention commenting on news sites and are you expected to give over your El Reg, Grauniad, CNN, and NYT usernames and passwords?

        Will you be denied entry to the country if you're pro-FAKE NEWS?

        The slippery slope has turned into a precipice.

        1. Simon Harris Silver badge

          Re: Do you think they'd believe me

          I would have thought you'd be welcomed into the country if you're pro-Fake News...

          just as long as it's the right type of fake news.

      2. David Nash Silver badge

        Re: Do you think they'd believe me

        I recently filled in an ESTA application. There is a list of what they consider "social media" and "The Register Forums" isn't one of them unsurprisingly.

        I barely use FB and TW, nothing interesting in mine. Unless a practically empty account is.

        I need to talk to my kids about it though.

  16. Skizz

    What if...

    You don't have any social media accounts *cough* me *cough*? Or would that, in itself, be a reason to refuse entry because you're obviously a terrorist hiding stuff? Or what if I don't know the password until I enter the States, someone else could have set it up for me and posted the password to where I was going to be staying? It's the stuff of bad movie plots!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What if...

      What actually counts as 'social media'?

      I have Facebook (actually multiple accounts, but I've forgotten most of them now), but there are probably more people who can read my posts on El Reg than there are who can read them on Facebook - do the El Reg comment boards count as social media?

      I have a linkedin account which I set up last time I was looking for a job (and hardly even look at these days), but that place now seems to have turned into something more facebooky.

      I have various accounts with hobby related discussion chat groups - do they count as social media too?

      Should I just give them a soup of passwords and make them waste their time reading about model trains, photography, and stuff?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What if...

        "Should I just give them a soup of passwords and make them waste their time reading about model trains, photography, and stuff?"

        Those who are sensitised to prejudice will find something in the most innocent of things. The more innocent things appear - then the more convinced they become that you are being very clever.

        "If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him."

        Origin unknown although often attributed to Cardinal Richelieu - the power behind the 17th century French throne.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Promoting Fear

    Asking for handles and passwords is only done as propaganda for the fear regime.

    They don't need your facebook account to see if you're against the government or not. They can figure that out by your credit card purchases, by the movies you watched, the pubs you went to, your mac address during the last protest, or god forbid by that anonymous mask you bought on amazon.

    Heck, with virtually no posts of my own, facebook concluded my political affinity just by the handful of people I friended. The pre-cogs can figure out when you're going to snap, before you even think about it.

    The act of asking is mainly to assert their authority and to promote more fear.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Promoting Fear

      And to make sure that you think twice before doing anything that may cause you problems later.

      Like visiting the ACLU or Democrat websites or forgetting to follow the glorious leader on twitter.

  18. Winkypop Silver badge
    Devil

    OK guys, you've had your fun

    I think it's time for 'Bozo the Wonder Chimp' to finish up his 'be POTUS for a month prize' period.

    You can wheel out the REAL guys now.....

    1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      Re: OK guys, you've had your fun

      Didn't Big John pour from his heart a paean of praise for The Golden Donald (I quote) just a few months ago? I am keen to see how Trump is going to work his wonders, seeing that he has backtracked or dropped support of Taiwan, ending of many trade agreements, dropping NATO, getting Mexico to build a wall, need I go on. He is forging ahead with throwing Ukraine under the bus to smooth the road to Moscow, making sure whole groups are stamped with 'evil alien', and trying to speak against anti-semitism while having one of the biggest anti-semites in the USA draft his Executive Orders (which he confuses with orders from a CEO, apparently). I happen to want a few things Trump said he'd do, because two very different planets can be in the same night sky, but he has reneged on all of them.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As a man....

    ...would it help if arrived head to toe dressed in Melania's ladies fashion gear?

  20. dncnvncd

    It's working already

    From the looks of these posts it seems the mere mention of such policy is already keeping out many undesirables. It's amazing our these same legislators supported eavesdropping electronically on Gen. Flynn. The United States police already have the authority to impound cell phones in the event of an accident or crime. DHS probably can attain the info over megadata programs once visas are obtained by cross referencing so it seems like a waste of resources to obtain it individually. But if terrorists were committing terrorist attacks there would be no need for any of these policies. Too bad our traitorous legislators don't know who the enemy is.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re. Its working already

    Doesn't FB already have a "No giving out passwords" aka "No password sharing" policy?

    Simple fix, warrant canary. Have the software look (as is routinely done on Twitter) for geographically implausible logins, and if seen it assumes the password has been compromised and requests additional ID.

    Caveat: forging an IP address is trivial but forging an IMEI/IMSI/etc takes a lot of effort.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Point missing

    Kieren has missed a very important point in the article.

    This is only the application of what was prepared by those agencies under the Obama regime and would have been much worse if Hillary had the controls in her hands.

    1. sabroni Silver badge
      Coffee/keyboard

      Re: Point missing

      Thanks for that! Cheered me right up!!

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Point missing

      Worse in what way? Please educate me!

  23. Sirius Lee

    As I read this article I remembered the article published in The Register *just last week* which reviewed the should's and should not's with respect to data security when travelling to the US. It was clear in the article that demanding passwords is not a new thing. That TSA staff have been able to require access to phones for years and, if password to social and other accounts are on the phone then their contents are fair game. And if you do not offer up your phone then staff are within their rights to confiscate the device and send it away for forensic investigation.

    Since this is not a new thing or even a new practice why is a fuss being kicked up now. I have no love for President Trump but I have even less love self-serving hypocrisy. This hypocrisy feeds Trump's narrative of fake news when this 'news' should have been brought to light while Barry was in charge.

    1. Goopy

      Because, ya moron, you can't read. NOT FOR US CITIZENS RETURNING TO THE US.

  24. kmac499

    Let's welcome Trump

    On his Status VIsit to meet Brenda; once Hair Force One has landed as he goes through the VIP lounge at Heathrow, let's ask for his phone and Twitter account password .. Oh what fun

    All Hail El Douché

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  25. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    In the UK a British teach was stopped from boarding a plane to the US from Iceland.

    AFAIK even when you group book you have to provide passport details for background checks (despite the */11 planes being internal flights) so he should have been advised beforehand he would be be refused entry to the US.

    It was a stopover for a party of schoolchildren from his school.

    Would you be surprised his name was Mohamed and he was of the darker complexion?

  26. Peb

    But what

    Happens when you don't know your Facebook password? I never type it in, the only way to know it would be to reset it - and then reset it again post security checks

  27. MartinB105

    I still haven't seen any explanation of what happens for those who don't have any social media accounts.

    Also, if this becomes a real problem, we can just create dummy accounts with little/nothing on them and hand over the passwords to those instead.

    Better yet, social media websites should fight back and allow us to define a second dummy password on our real account. When using the second password, it only shows content that we can predefine in advance, and any posted or shared content from the "dummy" account won't be shown to any of our friends.

  28. Ashton Black

    Problems...

    This must just be security theatre.

    The problems, as I see them are that any reasonably paranoid person (criminal or not) would:

    1) Not use his/her social media for anything that would arouse suspicion.

    2) Alternatively, have multiple accounts, some of with which he/she could hand over to placate the authorities.

    3) Not bring cell phones/laptops into the country that weren't sterilised, as it were.

    I mean it's basic field craft and this has been pointed out numerous times to the authorities, which leads us to the conclusion that this isn't about finding criminals at all, but seeing to be doing "something" no matter how ineffective.

    As an aside, I listened to a report on Radio 4 last week, which asserted that starting in the weeks the "Muslim ban" has been in place, the number of people of all ethnicities that have flown into the US has declined by 8%. (Compared to the year before and factoring in economic variables). The tourist industry must be loving Trump.

  29. VulcanV5

    When a lunatic gets elected . . .

    . . . it was said by some, in advance of the November election, that even if a complete mad man was voted into The White House, enough checks and balances existed in the form of expert advisers, experienced politicos in both parties, and the sacrosanct Constitution itself to ensure that the lunatic did not turn the country into a complete mental asylum.

    'S funny. The way things work out.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: When a lunatic gets elected . . .

      "[...] enough checks and balances existed in the form of expert advisers, experienced politicos in both parties, and the sacrosanct Constitution itself to ensure that the lunatic did not turn the country into a complete mental asylum."

      The same was said in 1933. Rule by decree became normal. The judiciary was purged of any "traitors against the will of the people". State departments were headed by cronies and left to do whatever they thought the leader wanted.

      The leader absented himself from day to day detail and generally retreated to his country estate where he amused himself watching entertaining films. Occasionally he attended a rally of the faithful - where he railed against the lies in the newspapers - and told them he would make the country great again.

  30. tiggity Silver badge

    Toursist drop

    I have had hassle visiting US (on business) in the past (well before latest escalation), with unfriendly & aggressive staff (which got even worse when they took my fingerprints, too much of them worn down (temporary as I had been doing plenty of heavy duty landscaping work, sans gloves, so lots of finger skin was (temporarily) worn down ))

    Although there's plenty of great geography, wildlife etc to see in the USA, bad experiences on (unavoidable) business visit had already put me off the idea of ever visiting as a tourist (the pre perestroika / glasnost USSR was way less PITA than USA) but I'm sure this latest security theatre might put even more people off. I'll spend my tourist cash in countries that make (even if its pretence) an effort to be welcoming

    Shame as most of the US folk I met were friendly and pleasant, but the hell of border control (in enough of a bad mood after a long haul flight) manages to override that.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Toursist drop

      I suspect I will no longer be able to pass the border without a couple of hours of interrogation since I will pass with equipment that will have no usable data on them but an email account that we forward all spam and malware to - they're welcome to that, any time :).

      I've given up years ago to consider the US a viable place to visit anyway. As a foreigner, I will be walking unarmed in a country where every halfwit can carry a gun, become law enforcement or be president and they can take all your possessions and money off you by simply falsely accusing you of crime.

      Not really what I'd call a beacon of Freedom and Liberty..

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They can have my passwords - all of them ..

    .. because at that point THEY are liable for what happens with those accounts, not me.

    If I were a smart terrorist (a subset which the DHS appears to consider very small judging by their approach to catching bad guys) I'd identify accounts of people about to cross the path of the DHS and insert dodgy broadcasts to coincide with the moment the DHS gets their hands on the passwords.

    As most people working with Big Data don't know the difference between causation and correlation if it bit them in the leg divider it wouldn't take long for the DHS to start a hunt for an internal mole that doesn't exist.

    I can't believe that in the vast volume of people they have there isn't one at a management position that is capable of thinking these things through. It's a good thing the average terrorist seems to match the DHS in (lack of) intelligence and sense of humour.

    Given that we are all working to identify extremists, I'd say that security staff at a non-US airport isn't doing its job if it allows someone like Trump in without a ham fisted cavity search. But that's just my personal opinion.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Chain of custody

    The problem I see with giving them my passwords is that it lets them plant false evidence.

    AC because I'll be going there soon.

  33. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

    British Muslims, are being turned away from America seemingly for no real reason.

    I beg to argue with that statement - there *is* a very real reason. Unfortunately, that reason is that the people of the Land Of The Free voted a right-wing nutjob to be their President.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    isn't it against their T&C

    to share passwords? this does not put people in a good place either...

  35. This post has been deleted by its author

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    With the Patriot act

    Why aren't they doing all the checks before they issue a visa?

    I would think the answer would be set the account up with 2 factor authentication and a long password that would be tricky to remember, then deactivate it and don't bring the relevant phone.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: With the Patriot act

      "Why aren't they doing all the checks before they issue a visa?"

      And who says they aren't?

      Also, lying to an official is an offence, so if they they already have the results of a search to compare with what you report on arrival, omitting an account - even one you no longer remember, or have the password for, is all the excuse they need to detain you, or ship you back.

  37. SotarrTheWizard

    Dammit, if you want into my social media accounts. . . .

    . . . .at least use the gorram backdoors that No-Such-Agency has installed. . .

  38. SotarrTheWizard

    Mind you, I'm a US Cit. . .

    . . . and even 20 years ago, noticed it was far more of a hassle to enter the US than any other nation: mind you, my experience is with Europe, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand. LONG before the TSA.

    I can't even imagine what it's like now. . .

  39. chivo243 Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Just Fscking horrible

    I'm scheduled to visit this summer, I'm an ex-pat with a french spouse. I am worried is an understatement. I will have to be tranq'ed to the max before dealing with those idiots. Don't get me started about my spouse...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just Fscking horrible

      "I'm scheduled to visit this summer, I'm an ex-pat with a french spouse."

      Visiting the USA - or the UK?

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So how does this work with software like 1Password, which I use to generate my nice long random passwords including weird characters?

    "Do you have a [social something or other] account?"

    "Yes"

    "Password, please"

    "Sorry, I don't know it. All random characters on my computer at home"

    1. Kiwi Silver badge
      Trollface

      "Password, please"

      "Sorry, I don't know it. All random characters on my computer at home"

      "Sorry sir, you'll just have to go home and get it. When you return, see that gentleman with the elbow-length latex gloves and the "he enjoys his job way too much" smile on his face".

  41. Gis Bun

    They're already asking for passwords. Someone who was denied entry going from Canada to the US was forced to give up passwords.

    Border officials are claiming something like "entering the US is a privilege" as an excuse.

    1. Goopy

      The US Constitution says it is a right.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "The US Constitution says it is a right."

        Only for Americans.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "only for Americans"

          The Rights under the Constitution apply to all people who reach these shores.

  42. Goopy

    Here is what happened last week coming into US O'Hare from Banff Canada (I do this once a month).

    They ask me to turn on my phone, I do. They ask to see (hold) it, I oblige. They ask for the PIN. I say no, and add, if I am going to jail for it, let's add assault.

    They give my phone back. "On your way sir, your cleared.".

    Don't try that. We'll see who I get next month!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      See who you get next month....

      See who you get next month indeed. They have unlimited power in the moment, so much so that their co-workers will stand by or leave when the real abuse starts. Sure you can complain but that's cause.

      American citizens on the other hand have had rights at their own borders and now it looks like they will be losing those. Decades of losing and giving up rights might be catching up with Americans but I doubt it, they seem the least aware of what they had.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: See who you get next month....

        American citizens on the other hand have had rights at their own borders and now it looks like they will be losing those

        Er, no. You gave those up after 9/11.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All hail der Trumpenfuhrer

    Der Trumpenfuhrer and the Congressional Republicans like to swagger around, talk tough, fondle their guns, and abuse people who have no recourse. This is their way of hiding the fact that they are nothing but scared little kittens.

    They're afraid a furriner with a funny name might do something bad. They're afraid to compete with other countries, or to allow furrin citizens to compete with us here. The world is sooo scary!!! So they lash out randomly, like a toddler who missed his nap, while trying to convince everyone that this will somehow make us "great."

    Sad.

  44. kraftdinner

    Who cares

    Facebook, Twitter, Google etc. own all your shit anyway, what's the big deal. You really think being a privacy ghoul makes you more special? (or secure). Funny ducks you are...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Who cares

      Facebook, Twitter, Google etc. own all your shit anyway, what's the big deal. You really think being a privacy ghoul makes you more special? (or secure). Funny ducks you are...

      That you have given up is no argument for others to bend over and take it. Not. going. to. happen.

      As a matter of fact, I just fired a formal complaint to Data Commissioners in 2 separate countries about a very big US company who locked my account to force me to give them a phone number. Not only didn't they get MY number, what they did also violated privacy law by demanding more data than would be reasonably required. Furthermore, once I regained access their OWN systems did not indicate a valid reason, and accusing me of spam would not work either because I create aliases for each provider so I can tell who has been passing email addresses around so in the unlikely case that there WAS junkmail in that name it would suggest they leaked it themselves.

      Anyway, they messed up so badly it will be an almighty pleasure causing a veritable truckload of manure to land on their doorstep, because now I will add some other fun stuff that has been lying in a drawer for a while.

      And, on top of that, some of their software is buggy and thus malfunctions, and they've known about that problem for 3 months or so - hello Trading Standards and the "not of merchantable quality" aspect which you can't walk away from by means of a EULA. I'm of the opinion that when someone gets you so far that you react they deserve all the misery you can heap upon them and then some (in my case the "and then some" consists of also briefing the very aggressive consumer association I am a member of, because they're worth it).

      So no, I refuse to accept having no privacy as the new normal in the same manner that I refuse to accept the dramatically lowered standards of public conduct, ethics, justice and social interaction that the new US President aspires to as ones I should adopt personally. Not going to happen.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nobody expects

    The Homeland Securquisition..

    Had some issues getting parts, maybe I should label them as "Physics package" next time?

    (hint: also describes anything with a precision engineered part, such as a Rb module lamp)

    Why would anyone in their right mind throw away a Rb rack mounted clock that cost £20,000+ ? A certain ISP seemed to think they had no further use but two of them ended up in the skip at scavenging yard. Needless to say I was not informed until after the event so can't even go and have a look to see what state they are in.

  46. Potemkine Silver badge

    Talking about illegal immigrants...

    I read recently an article about California farmers who backed Trump now are worried : it's hilarious: these guys who have no problem exploiting illegal immigrants are now crying because the fascist wingnut they elected applies the program they voted for...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Talking about illegal immigrants...

      Yes, they forgot that that program rather interferes with their God given right to exploit people.

      It'll be interesting to see how popular Trump will be when all the crops rot in the fields and the prices go sky high as a consequence. It's not that that didn't happen before, so they had ample track record but I suspect mentioning that would be labelled fake news..

  47. Jake Maverick

    and what do you think is going to happen to you when you don't even have such accounts...and therefore unable to comply anyway? i've lost out on jobs because i don't have a facebook account for example......

    and it's the same with hotels....I can't use hotels because of the ID requirements....and when g-men know where you are sleeping it's not safe to sleep there anymore....+ there's the matter when they know you're not at home they can break in steal vandalise install cameras etc in your home a lot easier...this was legalised under RIPA 2001 but common practice years before that....there is no rule of law.

  48. EUbrainwashing

    Boot on the Right Foot

    If you have done nothing wrong you have nothing to fear. Say it with me children. And when you all are chanting these such mantras enthusiastically, unquestioningly, your world can then be changed, snap, to one far less free than that from which you came.

    Civil liberties stand as a defence from whatever future holds. To assure an enduringly free society the balance must always be; government must trust people and not demand legislation that requires the people to trust government.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The worrying thing here

    Is that people already hand over more information every day, in the form of:

    Mobile phone PAYG topups, where you can if you wish pay with cash but they prefer it if you use cards.

    Used to get mine from one garage for nearly a year until the authorities saw sense.

    Burner phones don't work, this has been known since 1995 and in fact the only reason people buy them now is because they want the extra battery life not found on a typical smartphone.

    Garage receipts. Needless to say those "tattle" numbers show when, where and how much fuel you purchased. Its encoded pretty well but between the garage records and other information its possible to identify a given driver and even use a Bayesian algorithm to predict when they will be back for more fuel.

    Internet history, nuff said. Unless you buy WiFi cards in packs of 10 and swap them randomly (burner cards?!?) or just do what I do and buy used laptops to gut for the parts you are going to get tracked.

    Its even possible to track someone based on their biology, scanners exist that can read HR, body temperature and respiration from tens if not dozens of feet away and can identify one individual in a crowd. New scanners also exist that can tell someone's smoking habits, eating habits (using 40K levels), etc.

    Don't even get me started on passport tracking, even the non-smart (chipless) passports do actually have hidden chips which serve a different purpose entirely. They also used UV markings on some for a while and the later variants don't even show up unless you have a spectrometer and the right light sources.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is nothing less than a bill of attainder!

    "A Bill of Attainder is an act of a legislature declaring a person or group of persons guilty of some crime and punishing them, often without a trial."

    "The United States Constitution forbids legislative bills of attainder: in federal law under Article I, Section 9, and in state law under Article I, Section 10. The fact that they were banned even under state law reflects the importance that the framers attached to this issue.

    "Within the U.S. Constitution, the clauses forbidding attainder laws serve two purposes. First, they reinforced the separation of powers, by forbidding the legislature to perform judicial or executive functions—since the outcome of any such acts of legislature would of necessity take the form of a bill of attainder. Second, they embody the concept of due process, which was partially reinforced by the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. The text of the Constitution, Article I, Section 9, Clause 3 is "No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed"." -https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_of_attainder

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