back to article Any social media accounts to declare? US wants travelers to tell

The US Department of State wants to ask visa applicants to provide details on the social media accounts they've used in the past five years, as well as telephone numbers, email addresses, and international travel during this period. The plan, if approved by the Office of Management and Budget, will expand the vetting regime …

  1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

    I agree with Malia. Hell, I'm a citizen, an information pack-rat and I'd be hard put to fill in some of that information. They aren't applying for a security clearance, I hope. That seems to be the standard applied.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      I agree with you and Malia. If I weren't a citizen they probably wouldn't let me in. No social network, AOLHell for email, cellphone that only makes phone calls and no home phone. Oh.. and I don't shop on Ebay or Amazon. I'd be suspect immediately but since I'm a citizen, I'm probably being un-American.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        I vent my spleen on USENET all the time, shun 'social media' (I don't consider El Reg comments to be 'social media'), block cookies and script, do what I can to avoid tracking by online stores, and own a 'dumb phone' that I rarely use [it's pre-paid a year at a time, uber cheap that way].

        Fortunately U.S. citizens aren't asked that question. [if that ever changes, my answer will always be "pack sand"]

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          "(I don't consider El Reg comments to be 'social media')"

          Yes, and from the article...

          "For social media platforms not on the list, visa applicants "will be given the option to provide information."

          I wonder if the option to own up to "other" social media platform will include a legal definition of what they consider to be "social platforms"? Or is this designed, like some other immigration questions, to be very difficult if to impossible to answer so they can have a ready made excuse to deny entry to anyone they don't like the look of?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Comment withheld for moderation

      2. Slx

        They'll want your TheRegister handle ...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          That's why I post anonymously!

          1. Joe Werner

            I wouldn't call this "social" media - for me this is work ;p

    2. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

      Do I have to declare my silver commentard badge?

  2. frank ly Silver badge

    What about the El Reg commentardiat?

    Does that count as a social media account? (Or is it a subversive organisation?)

    1. Ole Juul Silver badge

      Re: What about the El Reg commentardiat?

      El Reg is certainly on my list of what I call social media. I'd have to declare some Forums as well. However, I wonder what they'd think of my personal number one social media, which is IRC.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What about the El Reg commentardiat?

        El Reg is certainly on my list of what I call social media

        Nothing social here, buggerit.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What about the El Reg commentardiat?

      Social Media The Register (https://forums.theregister.co.uk/)

      My Username: "Anonymous Coward"

      1. IceC0ld Bronze badge

        Re: What about the El Reg commentardiat?

        Re: What about the El Reg commentardiat?

        Social Media The Register (https://forums.theregister.co.uk/)

        My Username: "Anonymous Coward"

        bearing in mind some of the comments posted under 'AC' that may not be the most expeditious path to gaining entry to the USofA. Gitmo however .....................................

    3. Steve Knox Silver badge

      Re: What about the El Reg commentardiat?

      I've always considered it more of an antisocial media account.

    4. Haku

      Re: What about the El Reg commentardiat?

      Good point, frank ly, what constitutes "social media"?

      There are many websites dedicated to specific interests / hobbies / jobs etc. which have dedicated forums to their specific subject, and most of them have a "general chat" subsection where any topic within reason can be discussed.

      Does that mean there are potentially hundreds of thousands / millions of social media websites?

    5. Ted Treen

      Re: What about the El Reg commentardiat?

      If it's NOT subversive I want my money back.

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
        Alert

        Re: What about the El Reg commentardiat?

        DHS Official: You appear to have an account at The Register?

        Traveller: er.. Yes

        DHS Official: Would you follow me please. You can leave your belongings there, this won't take long.

        As the Official leads the Traveller to a screened off area, he takes a pair of rubber gloves from is pocket...

    6. LDS Silver badge

      El Reg? EU should ask for NRA membership

      I think EU should start to ask Yankees to disclose if they are member of the NRA, and how many guns they own. Disclosing any membership in groups that are nativist, ultra-nationalist, racist, supremacist, neonazist, etc. should also be required. A subscription to Breitbart would count...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: El Reg? EU should ask for NRA membership

        I think EU should start to ask Yankees to disclose if they are member of the NRA, and how many guns they own.

        That would be nice. But it would require a spine, and I can't see the EU or national politicians having one.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: El Reg? EU should ask for NRA membership

        Not a member, 4, one was a gift, one inherited, two I bought. I belong to a traditional skills group, we learn how to camp with no tools; make fire, filter water, build shelters, what is edible, small animal traps, coordinates. I always pull over to help at accidents unless professionals are already there as I have first aid/CPR training, As well as these groups over the years; Lifeguard, road racing (on tracks), martial arts, security, electronics, IT security, and was a great Q2/3 player. Can I visit, or will my Rail god skills make you feel insecure?

    7. Adair

      Re: What about the El Reg commentardiat?

      Just highlights the complete bullshit of the demand and the neurotic paranoia that lies behind it. No different to asking: 'Are you, or have you ever been, a terrorist?

      This kind of imbecilic bureaucratic thinking is no different to asking 'Have you stopped beating your wife?'

      If the US wants to operate at this level of stupid they really don't deserve to have anyone visiting the 'Land of the Free' (TM). There are far more worthy places where I can spend my time and money, even if only in transit.

      I now travel via the East and have done for some years, initially to avoid the 'failed state' while they persist in their arrogance and stupidity at the border, but now because the experience is simply so much more civilised.

      [Rant over]

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What about the El Reg commentardiat?

        "Are you, or have you ever been, a terrorist?"

        As far as I'm aware, many "stupid" questions in this vein are asked simply because if it's later shown that they were lying on the form, it makes it legally easier for the US authorities to throw them out of the country or whatever.

        1. Adair

          Re: What about the El Reg commentardiat?

          I'm sure you are right, but the question is: what constitutes a 'terrorist'?

          And, seriously, who is going to answer 'Yes'?

          In fact such a question is brain-dead idiocy, and any country demanding an answer to such a question fully deserves all the mockery and contempt that is heaped upon them. They make themselves look ridiculous, and do nothing at all to uphold national security.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Are you, or have you ever been, a terrorist?"

          Did Nelson Mandela ever get to visit the US?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What about the El Reg commentardiat?

        Brings to mind one of the tick-box questions on the student visa application form, I'm paraphrasing cos my memory is shite, but it goes something like:

        "Are you entering the country with the intention of overthrowing the government? [Y] [N] "

        Well, shucks! You got me there.... <tick>

        It later says:

        "Answering YES to any of the questions in section (whatever) may delay processing of your application"

        I'm keeping my judgements to myself.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Trump slump

    That's what they're calling the drop in inbound tourism. It's not going to get better at this rate...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Trump slump

      Yep. I've been to the USA more times than I can remember since the mid 1970's. I've even worked there (legally) for a couple of years.

      However while Trump is in the Whitehouse, I'm not going there.

      Shame really because most of the people are great. Most of my friends are resigned to another 6 years of him and several are actively looking at leaving. Canada is high on their list of places to move to. As they are in Upstate New York, or New Hampshire, it is not that far anyway.

      1. Warm Braw Silver badge

        Re: Trump slump

        I stopped going when they introduced fingerprinting and charging. The visitor hostility has been ratcheting up for some considerable time - Trump is just continuing the historic pattern.

      2. Hollerithevo Silver badge

        Re: Trump slump

        I just transited via the USA going out and coming back, and my ESTA application invited me to tell all on my social media. I wondered if it would be the last time that would be a request. On my arrival at my destination, I met several others from Europe who had gone via Singapore or Tokyo or China or Dubai, so as NOT to transit through the States, and I realised I hadn't saved that much time or money.

        My transit included two nights (one outbound one inbound) at a US airport hotel. That, plus spending, wasn't exactly a huge contribution of tourist dollars to the USA, but the next trip that takes me to the Pacific will see me going to ther way and the US won't even get my wee mite. Because it ain't worf it.

        1. djstardust Silver badge

          Re: Trump slump

          Well it is supposed to be the greatest country on Earth. They can keep it to themselves.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        As one Canadian guy said, "Canada is not your f------ safety school"

        "Most of my friends are [..] actively looking at leaving. Canada is high on their list of places to move to."

        How many of those people are actually interested in moving to Canada because they have an interest in the country and culture in its own right? In how they can contribute to *its* society and how they'd fit in?

        And how many are the types who only mention Canada when they run into problems with their own country's political system, who only think about its existence in terms of being an escape route for disillusioned Americans like themselves, who don't pay much attention to it otherwise and assume it's just like a "liberal utopia" version of the US? Who implicitly assume- because it hasn't even occurred otherwise to them- that they'll not only be allowed in but welcomed with open arms because they're "good" Americans?

        And then forget about it again until the next election, because it's too much work and they were never *really* interested in Canada?

        (Disclaimer; I'm not Canadian, but I'd already noticed- and made similar comments on- this attitude when I came across this article- which *is* by a Canadian. It's definitely not anti-American as such, but it's a nice dose of reality for the "I'm going to move to Canada if X gets elected!" crowd).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: As one Canadian guy said, "Canada is not your f------ safety school"

          "Most of my friends are [..] actively looking at leaving. Canada is high on their list of places to move to."

          Too bad the Canadians don't really want any more Americans. They tend to be a bit volatile, regardless of political affiliation

        2. KBeee

          Re: As one Canadian guy said, "Canada is not your f------ safety school"

          There does seem to be an assumption that the US can limit or stop people moving to live there, but woe betide any Country trying to stop a US citizen from relocating.

  4. Trigonoceps occipitalis

    This will deter foreign citizens from wanting to come to the US

    Bloody well deters me and I'm mostly in the nothing to hide category - not so sure about nothing to fear.

    1. Marshalltown

      Re: This will deter foreign citizens from wanting to come to the US

      It deters me and I'm a citizen.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This will deter foreign citizens from wanting to come to the US

      It'll probably be OK if you have a lot of money

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This will deter foreign citizens from wanting to come to the US

      Me too. It’s a shame because a sizeable minority of Americans are very decent people...those that don’t vote for the warmongers Trump or Clinton.

  5. Richard Jones 1
    FAIL

    I've Heard of Bucket Lists But The US must Want to be The Slop Bowl of Undesirable Locations

    I used to visit the USA in the 1980s, but I moved on from those roles and with the move I broke the association. I have probably had 5 passports over the years I doubt I could find the number on more than 1 or 2. In addition to such now undesirable locations as the USA I have also lived in, visited, or passed through a range of locations such as The Lebanon, Iran, Bangladesh, Italy Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Sweden, France, A middle East Kingdom, India, Japan, Canada and maybe a few others; time weakens the memory. Could I ever be bothered to dig through old memories or lost in the dust of time dates to fill out their dumb form? No chance. Trump should should just put up a simple sign saying, closed to visitors. As for social networking wot's that?

    The last five years is easy data is easy, I've barely been out of the house so travelling across the pond is just not going to happen without anyone making it the least desirable location on earth

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: I've Heard of Bucket Lists But The US must Want to be The Slop Bowl of Undesirable Locations

      France?! You quisling! Officer, arrest this man.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    its optional....

    The thing is, as a foreign visitor you are not entitled to enter the USA. They have a right to filter out any people they don't want based on any reason they can think of.....

    If you do not like the intrusion of the questions they ask before you are allowed in, then dot go to the USA..

    they can look at my social media accounts if they like. My twitter account is mostly me just insulting piers morgan....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: its optional....

      so then,

      let them ask those silly questions at departure airport, before boarding the aircraft so you don't have to pack up and piss off again.

      1. ITS Retired

        Re: its optional....

        No, no, no... That would not be enough hassle. You have to arrive at our border first, so they can then refuse entry. After the refusal for entry, you have to spend hours, or even days, waiting for the flight back -- Both ways on your dime of course.

        1. The Oncoming Scorn
          Coat

          Re: its optional....

          In Calgary airport (& others in Canadaland) you go through US customs first, all done on self serve terminals, a friend of mine has a NEXUS fast track pass.

          As I hold both UK & Canada passports, it's a relatively stress free & easy experience if I use the Canadian one, my wife had to jump through the additional hoop to get her ESTA valid for two years as she only travels on her UK one.

          I met Norman Lovett (Holly from Red Dwarf) in 2016 at a convention, he just hoped he'd get his moneys worth out of his ESTA, by not dying before he had to renew it\attend another convention.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: its optional....

        let them ask those silly questions at departure airport, before boarding the aircraft so you don't have to pack up and piss off again.

        That did actually happen to me once. At Toronto airport, you may go through US customs and passport control BEFORE you get on the flight to the USA. Makes it easier when you get there, because it arrives the same as a domestic flight.

        It's only the idiots who show up forty minutes before the flight who have problems with this. A bunch of such nasty americans tried to push their way to the front of the line "because their flight was boarding" but we wouldn't let them. Your poor planning is not my problem

    2. th3ro

      Re: its optional....

      It's not optional if you're travelling on business at the request of your employer.

      1. andersenep

        Re: its optional....

        @th3ro:

        yes, it is. if you don't like what your employer requires of you, then fucking quit. it's that simple.

      2. eldakka Silver badge

        Re: its optional....

        > It's not optional if you're travelling on business at the request of your employer.

        Since no-one not a US citizen can guarantee that they will be allowed entry to the USA, how can any employer reasonably expect any employee who is not a US citizen to be able to enter the US and thus predicate employment on being able to enter the US?

      3. d3vy Silver badge

        Re: its optional....

        "It's not optional if you're travelling on business at the request of your employer."

        It very much is.

        I've refused to drive an hour our of my way before so you can most definitely opt out of travelling further,

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: its optional....

          "It's not optional if you're travelling on business at the request of your employer."

          It very much is.

          I've refused to drive an hour our of my way before so you can most definitely opt out of travelling further,

          What about the part where they refuse to be your employer any longer?

          1. d3vy Silver badge

            Re: its optional....

            "What about the part where they refuse to be your employer any longer?"

            Because you refused to travel to the other side of the planet?

            Well, you'd probably have a few months of stress followed by a nice holiday after the tribunal when you get your pay out...

        2. FlamingDeath Bronze badge

          Re: its optional....

          "It's not optional if you're travelling on business at the request of your employer."

          The operable word being, request

    3. Marshalltown
      Alert

      Re: its optional....

      That really depends on how you view US history. Prior to the Civil War (American) anywhere from half to four fifths of the immigrants from Europe arrived as indentured servants. Some "voluntarily" indentured themselves. Others were shanghaied off the streets and came to bound for America as "indentured servants." Britain also sent "excess" population with criminal records our way as indentured servants. The short lesson here is that while this period is often referred to as the "colonial" period, the majority of immigrants would be called "refugees" these days and many arrived unwillingly regardless of their continent of origin. One of the south's reasons for "preferring" African slaves was that they looked different enough to be tracked readily of they escaped. There was no significant Federal interest in immigrants until the late 19th Century when the "Chinese Exclusion Act" was passed. Ten years after that the first immigrant (from Ireland) was processed at Ellis Island.

      For some of us "hardline" Americans "illegal immigrant" sounds un-American.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: its optional....

        One of the south's reasons for "preferring" African slaves was that they looked different enough to be tracked readily of they escaped.

        Never heard that one before. It sounds almost like a racist apologist wrote that. European indentured servants would still have been considered human, unlike slaves, who were mere property. That, and the fact that they might have to be released from their indenture in five years, versus outright buying a long-term source of labor. Then there was that whole Bacon's Rebellion thing.

    4. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: its optional....

      "as a foreign visitor you are not entitled to enter the USA"

      While that is technically correct, it certainly shows up the bull and rhetoric of The Land Of The Free and all the rest.

      I have family in America and, sorry, my desire to ever go there, even for holiday, evaporated long ago. It's a shame, the people are quite nice, the administration considerably less so.

      Posted not AC.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: its optional....

      The problem is that many US companies that do deal with Europe for example, or the famous Vegas tech conferences.... as you say it is an option, and I opt not to go and I’m happy with it. Whoever in US I need to make a deal with I ask them to come instead, interestingly they all experience that in other countries the quality of life is likely better and then they are coming all the time, bringing us money abroad, that works very fine with me as well. Remember the last year Vegas shooter? That happened when guys from my company were there on the Netapp Insight. Most Europeans that were there will just go to the European NetApp insight this year because they don’t even feel safe anymore, and guess the dude was American! The same way the kids shooting in schools are as Americans as they get I believe!

      US has a huge internal market, that is a fact, Americans as a people they have many qualities, but as well defects, now the problem seems to be that the country are promoting the defects rather the qualities.

      Instead of restricting guns to resolve the shooting issues they ask students to come with transparent backpacks or put metal detectors on school entrance! How can this be a good thing for the future?!

    6. Adam JC

      Re: its optional....

      You do realise your comment being posted as AC carries a hefty level of irony along with it, right?

      You've totally missed the point, what we're saying is that some people either can't remember or flat out don't know some of the questions. If you opt not to have a social media account, you're likely to be given the third degree upon entry as (Surely!) everyone has a Facebook account, right?!

      As a self-respecting British citizen with nothing to hide; a perfectly clean criminal record and a desire to visit the USA one day (In-fact I'd like to have our honeymoon there next year), I have to say that my desire is rapidly diminishing after reading things like this....

  7. Grade%

    New punk song...

    Trump the USA! Trump the USA-A!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm Amish.

    One word & I've just rendered 99% of your questions as irrelevant. No electronics, no electricity, no phones, nothing. You can't scrape a social media account that doesn't exist. You can't intercept email that never happens. You can ask for my last five years of employment history, but since it's all in a community that doesn't pay any mind to record keeping, good luck trying to verify anything.

    "I don't use any technology I can't create with my own two hands. I know animal husbandry, blacksmithy, barn raising, carpentry, cobblery, digging wells & cesspits, fishing, goat herding & milking, horse shoeing, herbalism, llama shearing, masonry & brick making, praying, bible reading, sheep shearing, turkey farming, leather working, saddle making, harness & tack repair, & how to drive a buggy. I was born in the Year of Our Lord this many years ago (holds up fingers) to Zebeddiah & Honesty Zydeko. I was home schooled. I've never owned a car. I'll move in to the home I built just as soon as the Father Parsons blesses it. I need a visa so I can go to Canada to visit another enclave of my Amish brethren to complete my religious teaching. After that I come back home & get started on raising a family of fifty seven children, just like my folks did!"

    1. Loud Speaker Bronze badge

      Re: I'm Amish.

      Never realised being Amish was so much fun.

      Can I join?

      1. JakeMS Silver badge

        Re: I'm Amish.

        @Loud Speaker I was just thinking the same thing!

    2. Stoneshop Silver badge

      Re: I'm Amish.

      One word & I've just rendered 99% of your questions as irrelevant. No electronics, no electricity, no phones, nothing.

      It's a good thing someone built a semaphore-to-Internet gateway then.

      llama shearing

      How about yak shaving?

      1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

        Re: I'm Amish.

        No yaks available.

      2. Scroticus Canis Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: It's a good thing someone built a semaphore-to-Internet gateway then.

        The clacks have gone electronic? Since when?

        (where's the Wizzard Hat icon then?)

    3. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: I'm Amish.

      There are not many Amish outside of Canada and the US, though according to Google there are Mennonite communities in Mexico and South America, no Europeans.

      So using that excuse won't get you in.

      American people are wonderful, I lived in N Cal for two years and traveled a bit, the government and politics not so much, the immigration folks just like many of those at the borders of the UK suck.

      I think I am limited to El Reg and a very limited interaction on Linked In, why would I keep an old passport number, I don't even remember old phone numbers or for that matter my wife's mobile number, it's in my phone and on my laptop and tablet.

      I recently had to prove my identity for the UK,( I'm a Brit) I haven't lived there as a resident for 19 years, have no credit history there and do not receive utility bills here, it's all online, so unable to jump through the particular hoops that the UK seems to think proves who you are. Even to the point of not wanting to accept a notarised document with signed photos and passport copy and in Spain it takes two separate notaries to do that.

      Fortunately I no longer have any urge to go to the States, or the UK for that matter.

      1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: I'm Amish.

        There are Mennonite communities in France: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mennonites_in_France

        1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

          Re: I'm Amish.

          Memmonites originalted in the German part of Europe*, emigated to France and other places, and also to the new world.

          *i.e. before the unification of them into Germany

    4. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Re: I'm Amish.

      So how would you get to america ?

      In a hand-built rowing boat ?

      1. The Oncoming Scorn
        Go

        Re: I'm Amish.

        I think The Pilgrim Fathers & their ilk did sail in a hand built boat with hand sewn sails.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm Amish.

      I need a visa so I can go to Canada to visit another enclave of my Amish brethren to complete my religious teaching

      These would be Canadian Amish trying to enter the USA. Also, this spiel doesn't work at airports.

      And most of them used motorized washing machines, BTW.

  9. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    Wonder how many State Dept employees would make the cut?

    I dated one, until I realized she was b@tsh!t crazy. Wait, there is no blank on the form for that. Good to go!

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Wonder how many State Dept employees would make the cut?

      No sweat. If they find enough shady business in your history, you'll immediately become a prized member of the Orange Turnip's Inner Circle. That is, if your bank accounts show a sufficient number of digits left of the fractional separator when converted to Real Money.

      He's in dire need of a few new ones as he's burning through the current ones at a bigly rate.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wonder how many State Dept employees would make the cut?

      I dated a Mormon once. I was fuckng stupid

      1. Dr. G. Freeman

        Re: Wonder how many State Dept employees would make the cut?

        AC, I married one.

        1. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Wonder how many State Dept employees would make the cut?

          Hopefully not the one I dated, mate. If so, drink this --->

  10. ravenviz Silver badge

    ESTA

    It was on an ESTA application two weeks ago, I thought it odd, but it was not mandatory. Anyway I entered nothing as I felt one's social media presence was not defined well enough. The application acceptance, normally instant, went to Pending, and I had to check their site the following day, rather than them email me, which I did, and it had been accepted.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: ESTA

      My entire social media presence is an "internal" corporate Yammer account that I occasionally look at but never post to. Like many here, I have my own domain so have unlimited email addresses and would likely not have the space on the form to list all the ones I've used in the last 5 years, even if I could remember all of them. Any contact with any business gets to use theirbusinessname@mydomain.com

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: ESTA

        Any contact with any business gets to use theirbusinessname@mydomain.com

        Which means there's a wide selection of choice words to be used for contact with the US State Department. Preferably those not known as being invective to the average US (un)civil servant.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ESTA

      I've just filled the ESTA form for my in-laws: both Japanese, over 70 years old. Some of the form itens were ill defined, some were sort of buggy (got several error messages about "format of the address" until a checkbox appeared asking if I was sure it was on the right format). One of the form itens was about former employment: he's been retired for the last 20 years, and his ex-company was bought by another, converted to another one and closed since them. The form asked for address and phone number of previous employers.

      There is also this section with questions similar to "are you a terrorist? yes or no?" I am quite sure that terrorists would never lie on that.

      The only fun bit was when I asked them about social network accounts. She recalls seeing something about Facebook on the news and asked if she needs an account for that. I replied "no" :-)

      Just got the approval for both, but the process is at least unnerving.

      1. eldakka Silver badge

        Re: ESTA

        The thing you have to remember about these forms is that apart from a few critical pieces of information (your personal identity details), the rest of it is filler and there as an excuse for kicking you out of the country.

        If a border official has a bad feeling about you, or you are arrested for some reason (or even just investigated) after you've entered the country, they can kick you out and point to a useless, irrelevant but incorrectly answered question on the form and say that is why they are expelling you.

        "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." (Attributed to various people including Richelieu and Voltaire).

        Edited to add: The second reason for the rubbish questions is to serve as a bar for people in coming to the country. It's a test of sorts in and of itself - how badly does the person applying want to actually come? If it's made onerous enough, only those who have a real need e.g. business people, or those who really want to come - they've been dreaming of seeing Hollywood for decades, will bother to fill out the form. Casual visitors (window shoppers) may decide it's not worth the effort. Thus acting as a filter in itself.

  11. Pseu Donyme

    An implicit admission ...

    ... of the extensive communications and data snooping the US government is involved in: the obvious use unique identifiers like social media ids, phone numbers, email addresses is as a selectors for queries into databases containing the snooped stuff.

  12. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
    Trollface

    I Wonder....

    If this might open up an oppotunity for an anti-social media account instead?

    Misanthrope that I am...

  13. Loud Speaker Bronze badge

    legal?

    Surely it is illegal to even ask for this under the GDPR?

    1. Martin Summers Silver badge

      Re: legal?

      Erm, that's kind of ours and Europe's thing not theirs.

      1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

        Re: legal?

        So it's illegal for an American Embassy in a European country to ask the questions legally necessary for a visa application, effectively stopping all travellers from those countries to the USA?

        Time to sell airline shares, perhaps?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: legal?

          "So it's illegal for an American Embassy in a European country to ask the questions legally necessary for a visa application...."

          No it's not illegal. An American Embassy, in any country, is a part of the USA. The 'host' countries laws end at the boundary wall.

          1. John Miles

            Re: The 'host' countries laws end at the boundary wall

            As Wiki says - " Contrary to popular belief, most diplomatic missions do not enjoy full extraterritorial status" but they do enjoy protection from some local laws and host country need permission to enter. The protection from local laws allows them to ask questions an EU state can't

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: The 'host' countries laws end at the boundary wall

              "The protection from local laws allows them to ask questions an EU state can't"

              Does GDPR actually prevent the questions being asked or does it just limit what can be done with the data if it's asked for then voluntarily given?

              1. John Miles

                Re: Does GDPR actually prevent the questions

                I don't know - I suspect companies are only allowed to ask questions pertinent to their relationship with the person, but if it is legitimate then I think it is about how you handle the data (at least that is what work has been in a panic over), I just not sure how they will impose their will on USA.

        2. katrinab Silver badge

          Re: legal?

          No, because a US Embassy is legally US territory, not EU territory.

          If for example you sell stuff to the US Embassy in London, you report the sale to HMRC as an export to outside the EU and don't charge VAT on it.

          1. Slx

            Re: legal?

            That could get quite interesting in Ireland as in Dublin and Shannon Airports you actually clear US customs and immigration in Ireland, and land effectively as a US domestic flight. It's very convenient, but I wonder about the exact status of those areas of the airports here in terms of EU data protection laws.

    2. Solo Owl

      Re: legal?

      "Surely it is illegal to even ask for this under the GDPR?"

      Wnat makes you think anyone in the US Govt gives a mouse turd for the GDPR?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    America Fuck Yeah

    Go elsewhere, the rest of the world is amazing...

  15. Chozo
    Devil

    Could be fun

    Is there a maximum number of entries limit ?

  16. teknopaul Bronze badge

    just the username

    Thanks, we dont need the password

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: just the username

      "Thanks, we dont need the password"

      I don't think that means what you think it means... or did you intend it "that way" ?

      heh

    2. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: just the username

      If they ever ask for passwords I'm sunk. I keep mine in a password manager and do not know any of them except the one to the password manager and my work passwords.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: just the username

        I'm sure they'd be fine taking an export from your password manager along with the master password.

        1. JakeMS Silver badge
          Big Brother

          Re: just the username

          "I'm sure they'd be fine taking an export from your password manager along with the master password."

          Yup, this is why you never travel to the colonies with tech, whether it is a laptop, a phone or otherwise. If you have it with you, they can request to have full access to it.

          That includes copying everything off the device, and you must provide them any passwords to unlock it.

          Thus, if travelling to the "USA", don't take any tech with you. If you need a phone, buy a cheap throw-away one that doesn't hold any data.

          If you don't have it with you, they cannot request to search it.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Trump's Struggle

    This is regressive and xenophobic posturing that is akin to something we would see in authoritarian regimes. It is fundamentally un-American.

    If Trump has his way, the US will be joining the ranks of those authoritarian regimes.

    Those of us with 3-digit IQs and the ability to perceive empirical facts have realized in the past year that our democracy is far more fragile than we thought.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Trump's Struggle

      no, no NO!

      Have you ever KNOWN an 'authoritarian' manager? They have certain common characteristics:

      a) must be involved in the minutiae, i.e. "micromanagers" [Trump is a 'delegator', big time]

      b) The "I love me" wall filled with accomplishments and trophies. If Trump has a trophy room, I dont know about it, although I saw a funny comic that had a single stuffed elephant head with the caption "the establishment"... [I suppose you could count the buildings with 'Trump' on them, but they're more "accomplishments" than trophies]

      c) No sense of humor about himself - Trump sometimes jokes about himself, even in a 'state of the union' address. I think if you told a Trump joke that wasn't "pandering to the perception" he'd laugh at it. But don't you DARE criticize Obama or Mrs. Clinton!!! [you get "racist, sexist, misogynist" etc. accusations thrown at you for DARING to criticize!]. Trump would be the guy to put a lampshade on his head at a party, and parade around as a parody of himself for laughs.

      d) 'power motivated' - it's about having control (over others), and NOT about getting the job done. I think in Trump's case he's motivated to 'get the job done', aka 'achievement' motivation. Reagan was very similar.

      Back when I was in the Navy they had this leadership school where they discussed management style. They did this movie with 3 CPOs in it. CPO number 1 was a delegator, and his immediate subordinate ran the division, whereas the CPO gave approval and got assistance from higher ranking people as needed. This is "a delegator". Then there was the 'authoritarian' CPO, who spent a lot of time yelling at people and telling them YOU ALL HAVE TO STAY UNTIL WE'RE DONE and things like that, the classic bad attitude authoritarian dictator. Then there was the 3rd CPO, "Chief Chuckles", who got along with his subordinates because he was "affiliation motivated" and wanted to be liked [nevermind his department was screwed over because of his incompetence].

      SO that illustrated 3 management styles: delegator [the good one, like Trump], authoritarian [definitely Obama and Mrs. Clinton], and 'affiliator' (ineffective and incompetent). The delegator is 'achievement' motivated [get it done]. The authoritarian is 'power' motivated [_I_ am in charge, do it _MY_ way]. And the 'affiliator' just wants to be everyone's drinking buddy, "affiliation" motivation [or similar].

      Trump isn't a dictator, because he's not "power motivated". Although you MIGHT make the case that ANY politician at 'President' level would have to have an ego the size of the state of New York, that doesn't seem to be Trump's motive. He wants to DO something, and spells out what that is, and then DELEGATES making it happen to others that he trusts.

      Anyway, this is basic psychology applied to management styles. I know it's not the "anti-Trump" pandering to the perception, but it's pretty well known among those who do management training stuff. It seems to have been common knowledge back in the 80's.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Trump's Struggle

        I know I shouldn't feed the trolls, but twitting all the time about he being right and the others being wrong does not count? And those in which he wrote he is a genius? And those fake Time Magazines with him in the cover he keeps in several locations?

        Oh, never mind. Keep believing. Bob! All else are fake news.

      2. find users who cut cat tail

        Re: Trump's Struggle

        a) must be involved in the minutiae

        Check.

        b) The "I love me" wall filled with accomplishments and trophies.

        Check.

        c) No sense of humor about himself

        Check.

        d) 'power motivated' - it's about having control (over others), and NOT about getting the job done.

        Check.

        But thank you you anyway for providing us with this nice list of criteria.

  18. elvisimprsntr

    Good idea. Lets expand to all US senators, congressman, and their staff. Start with Huma Abedin and go from there.

  19. Dr Scrum Master

    Does the bit about the terrorist activities of family members apply to the Irish?

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Only if they weren't funded in the 1980s from New York, Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Three Felonies a Day

    ""I could not possibly remember all the information that is asked for, therefore setting the possibility for entrapment..."

    One down, two to go.

    Actually, this first one would probably lead to 43 charges totaling 217 years, but they'll offer you 12 years if you accept their plea bargain deal.

  21. jonfr

    No need for going to the U.S

    There is no need for most people to go the U.S. Better option is go to Canada and go to the border where it at river and watch U.S at distance (safe distance).

    At least I am not going to the U.S for the next 20 years.

    1. Solo Owl

      Re: No need for going to the U.S

      El Reg will give special kudos to any of you-all who visit all 10 province and all 3 territories. (Added bonus if you make it to St.-Pierre et Miquelon, a small island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence where the official currency is the euro.)

      1. eldakka Silver badge

        Re: No need for going to the U.S

        Since the Overseas Collectivity of Saint Pierre and Miquelon is a French external territory, and not a part of Canada, it's not exactly surprising, or unusual, that the official currency of the territory is the same as that of its parent country, France, rather than that of a neighbouring country, Canada, is it?

    2. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      Re: No need for going to the U.S

      I have colleagues who decided to go to Canada rather than take another trip to the USA. One guy and his family made the decision because they were Black and anticipated hassles or refusal for entry. When they came back, they raved about Canada and wished that had been their go-to place years ago. Skiing is going to be in Castlegar this winter!

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Help yourselves.

    My average Facebook post is usually about 1,000-1,500 words all of them exclusively to do with me moaning about my journey into work every day! I find Facebook, being such a cesspit that it's incredibly cathartic to dump all the irratating shite about my daily commute into Facebook posts that no one reads! I feel purged when I write a post and mentally ready to continue. I know someone else who does exactly the same thing on their blog, purely exclusive moans about smelly commuters, irritating people on trains and busses! Knowing the average TSA operative has a reading age of 8 years old, they're more than welcome to sit and read hundreds of posts containing thousands of lines about the 7:25 from Orpington and it's irritating passengers!

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sauce for the goose?.

    EU countries and especially the UK should apply the same requirements to US citizens wanting to visit AND should start holding them up at airports by fingerprinting them.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Sauce for the goose?.

      Why would we want to inflict that on our tourist industries? Better to stick to the moral high ground, sit back, point and laugh.

    2. d3vy Silver badge

      Re: Sauce for the goose?.

      Being a UK citizen we dont need a visa to enter the US so wont have to go through this, why would we want to implement it here?

      1. The Oncoming Scorn
        Alert

        Re: Sauce for the goose?.

        You still need ESTA.

        I don't with my Canadian passport - Yet.

      2. LDS Silver badge

        "Being a UK citizen we dont need a visa to enter the US"

        Just wait Trump doesn't need something to blackmail some sort of deal...

      3. eldakka Silver badge

        Re: Sauce for the goose?.

        > Being a UK citizen we dont need a visa to enter the US

        /pedant on

        Actually, you do.

        A visa is automatically created and granted in the visa systems, just because you didn't have to fill out any forms or see any specific paperwork, doesn't mean a visa hasn't been created and issued for you. Your entry and exit records will have a visa ID number associated with it. The Visa Waiver Program is not a waiver of having a visa for entry, it is a waiver on the standard visa application process.

        /pedant off

        The Visa Waiver Program is only applicable for certain types of less than 90-day visits. Therefore if you want to spend more than 90 days in the US or are travelling for one of the many non-applicable classes, then you need to apply for a visa.

        And, note that this auto-allocated/granted visa only applies if you have an absolutely clean record. If you have ever been charged with anything, even if they were later dropped or the charges dismissed in court, you will need to go through the full visa application process. From the US embassies site:

        We do not recommend that travelers who have been arrested, even if the arrest did not result in a criminal conviction, ..., attempt to travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program. The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act does not apply to US visa law and spent convictions,regardless of when they occurred will have a bearing on a traveler’s eligibility for admission into the United States.

        And:

        Can you advise me if my arrest, caution, conviction will prevent me from traveling visa free and registering under ESTA?

        We cannot advise whether a traveler’s specific situation will have a bearing on their eligibility to travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program. Our advice is that if you have ever been arrested, cautioned or convicted you apply for a visa.

        So that arrest for drunken and disorderly 30 years ago where you were released the next morning without charge - apply for visa.

        1. d3vy Silver badge

          Re: Sauce for the goose?.

          @eldakka

          Thanks for that, good info!

          For all intents and purposes though the vast majority dont need a visa - or at least dont need to go through the whole process...

          I think my point is still valid, we are not required to provide this info at the moment and I dont think that we should follow suit by asking for this info as part of our application process.

          Really, whats it going to prove anyway? That you're not stupid enough to carry out nefarious activities in the open? If I was doing something dodgy I'd have at least two accounts one nice clean one with pictures of bunnies bibles and american flags ready to be inspected and the other one where my secret stuff happened.

          Of course I have no need to do that because I'm quite boring an have no need to hide my activities (This doesnt mean I want my personal accounts scraped at every border crossing though!)

    3. aks

      Re: Sauce for the goose?.

      I remember landing in Bangkok airport just after my daily connecting flight to Singapore had left.

      Being there for 24 hours, I had to get a visa. $5 for neighbouring countries, $10 for Europeans and Canadians, $100 for USA citizens. Purely because the USA charged Thai people $100 for a visa.

      This is 20 years ago but the concept remained in my head.

  24. JakeMS Silver badge
    Pirate

    What If..

    What if, like me you do not have any social media accounts? What happens then? Do they assume you're lying and send you to gitmo for torture?

    Would it be safe to give them the many different usernames I use on private torrent trackers instead?

    Would that stop them asking about the social media accounts I do not have?

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I just don't want to visit the USA that much and they don't want people visiting. Seems rather mutual.

  26. Robert D Bank

    I've been to the US once for about 6 weeks in late 90's. Most people were pretty cool and easy to get on with.

    But now post 9/11 with all the paranoia, intrusive monitoring and rampant xenophobia there I would NEVER consider going there at all. This kind of crap now being asked for on VISA applications simply reinforces that. They only reason they're doing this is because they're judging people by their own standards, in a country where 55k people are shot by each other each year, where those with money are the only ones that receive justice, where the government is corrupted by money and the electoral system is being gamed from within by big money interests, and healthcare costs can bankrupt even quite wealthy people.

    I have travelled most corners of the world including some places that have real, unapologetically repressive dictator governments and never had any of this intrusive scrutiny, and most people were pretty cool and easy to get on with, just like the US.

    The worst thing is the US pushing this attitude out to the world, insisting on other countries following the same approach. I haven't seen any evidence that this has made the world more secure, it has just made travel a pain in the arse at any border point. And the less contact people have with each other as a result of of reduced travel, the less they understand each other, the more they mistrust each other. But maybe that's the point, it's much easier to attack the unknown 'them' than a friend. Sad.

    .

  27. Velv Silver badge
    FAIL

    Riiiiiigggghhhhttttt!

    I mean, it’s not like anyone with nefarious activities in mind has never lied to anyone in authority.

    And I hate to point out that the nasty people Trump is trying to stop are also those who come from countries with some of the poorest infrastructure and tightest controls on social media, and are therefore the most likely not to have social media accounts. Or maybe that’s the red flag they’re looking for?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "I mean, it’s not like anyone with nefarious activities in mind has never lied to anyone in authority."

      Agreed. I was going to add that I can't imagine anyone posting terrorist videos and content along side pictures of their pet kitten, so why get access to the social media accounts. But I then remembered that those committing the recent terrorist activities in the States (the bomber in Texas comes to mind plus miscellaneous mass shootings) had posted stuff to their social media accounts which would have given them away (IIRC). So maybe the US immigration department is judging everyone else by their own standards and expecting professional international terrorists to be as stupid as the home grown variety and to post the extremist material to their own personal accounts?

  28. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    That's not the USA I knew

    And loved...

  29. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Coat

    It is fundamentally un-American

    Yup, but it is very Trump.

  30. silverfern

    1. If I were a cynic, I would surmise that, as with the US-Visit scheme generally, Uncle Sam is requiring all this - mainly useless - information on purpose in order to deter all those from coming to the US except those who really want/need to come.

    Reason: to reduce the risk of terrorism by keeping out the wackos. (This is also why they ask you if you have ever been a member of a Communist party: it keeps out all the nutcases, dangerous or otherwise.)

    But as someone once said (it may even have been here, too), if you're looking for a needle in a haystack, you don't keep piling hay onto the stack.

    2. But as I really am a cynic, it's clear that the US-Visit scheme is, in fact, not designed to prevent terrorist attacks but simply to show the American people, i.e. the voters, that Uncle Same is "doing something" about 9/11. It's not supposed to "work", it's just window-dressing. (How many terrorists have been caught as a result of the US-Visit programme?) Not that any of this is news but it's worth re-stating for the record.

    And Uncle Sam can get away with it because foreign visitors have no lobby in the US. But if it gets votes, well, hey, I guess that "works" too.

    1. Solo Owl

      "And Uncle Sam can get away with it because foreign visitors have no lobby in the US. But if it gets votes, well, hey, I guess that "works" too."

      Actually, foreign visitors have a lobby — it's called the tourist industry.

      1. silverfern

        Not really. Do you seriously think Uncle Sam gives a shit about the US travel industry?

    2. MrReal

      "Reason: to reduce the risk of terrorism by keeping out the wackos."

      All of the 'wackos' are part of carefully planned false flag events.

      No tinfoil hat is required to see the gaping holes in all the attacks in the US, only people ignorance of Operation Gladio (a NATO terrorist program in europe) would think terror comes from the population.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Useful?

    So if I provided that information, what, realistically, can they do with it? Verify it in the time between the request for a visa and its granting? I doubt it, with that kind of volume. Its only purpose will be to piss some people off ( I'm not seeing any happy commenters here) and scare off the rest.

    The best thing this country could do is gut the CIA, DHS, NHS, FBI and start over.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Useful?

      Although those 3 letter agencies, doubtlessly, have more power than they should it's the Pols that cause, allow, this stupidity.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The 10 minute rule

    If it takes more than about 10 minutes for me to fill out any forms for visas then I simply don't go to that country or use a visa free option where it's available which often comes with a reduced time allowance like 90 days instead of say 6 months or 1 year. For vacations this will often suffice.

    If you want a 6 month (that's right just 6 months) visa for Thailand they will without fail audit your bank account for the last 6 months to make sure your balance has not dropped lower than £5000 in that time period. If your balance has dropped below the £5000 minimum then the visa will be denied. This is already hurting the Thai tourist industry where many people go for the entire winter season. There are other warm and easier countries to spend the winter season in within the same region.

    I've been to the US many times over the last 20 years and travelled extensively all around the world, in the past I found that the smaller and more insignificant the country the more stringent the checks are, this seems to be reversing these days.

    People from the UK, Europe and a lot of the more developed world travel mostly on the visa waiver scheme so my guess is that these would be unaffected unless the 'ESTA' (not a visa so they say) starts to include questions about this.

    1. Martin
      WTF?

      Re: The 10 minute rule

      If you want a 6 month (that's right just 6 months) visa for Thailand they will without fail audit your bank account for the last 6 months to make sure your balance has not dropped lower than £5000 in that time period.

      Not that I have any plans to go to Thailand, but how on earth are they going to audit my bank account unless I tell them my bank details, and also give them authority to contact my bank to get that information?

      And if I have to do that to go to Thailand (or anywhere else) that's another country to add to the growing list of countries I'm never going to visit.

      Which is a shame.

  33. JohnFen Silver badge

    What about people without social media accounts?

    Not only do people with no social media accounts exist, but there are lots of them. Will the state department accept "I don't have any" as an answer?

  34. danR2
    FAIL

    Congrats, Trump. you just wiped out Facebook and Twitter

    1 billion people delete their accounts. Overnight.

    1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Re: Congrats, Trump. you just wiped out Facebook and Twitter

      You say that like it's a bad thing.

      1. danR2

        Re: Congrats, Trump. you just wiped out Facebook and Twitter

        I'm saying it from a Trumpistani's perspective: taking a wrecking-ball to a free-market economy. Why stop with rattling Amazon? One minute he's a bull in the regulation china-shop, next he's a one-dotus regulator.

  35. Slx

    While it won't impact the majority of us (at least from the UK, Ireland, Australia, NZ, Most of Europe end so on) just visiting on 90 day visa waivers, it's still potentially incredibly intrusive. Also a lot of people coming from countries with rapidly growing IT sectors, aren't entitled to visa-waivers into the US, so will be subject to this kind of stuff.

    Also, given the way the US has gone politically, pretty normal views could be seen as 'un-American' by someone with a very right wing political leaning.

    I could see a lot of people deciding to have conferences and so on in Europe or elsewhere instead of US cities as a result of this. It's really over the top.

  36. Suburban Inmate
    Big Brother

    Why are they even asking?

    Surely they already know who the subversives are, having snaffled their crimethink straight off the fibre?

    1. MrReal

      Re: Why are they even asking?

      They've only got 17+ security agencies paid billions to hoover up all our data, so obviously we need to donate our information to immigration on arrival to help them make our lives difficult for 'impure thoughts'.

      Hopefully the TSA will like reading it too, they've cost a lot of money, caused a lot of problems and caught exactly 0 terrorists.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Do we have any rights left

    At this rate they might as well burn the Constitution + Bill of Rights and start again.

    You would literally be better off having a trusted third party do the vetting for them, having your laptop, phone etc scanned before traveling and information collated into a neat PDF containing the sort of information they are looking for.

    1. Martin
      Happy

      Re: Do we have any rights left

      At this rate they might as well burn the Constitution + Bill of Rights and start again.

      Look on the bright side - with no Constitution, there is no second amendment...

  38. mfraz

    MySpace

    How am I supposed to remember what my MySpace account details were?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: MySpace

      "How am I supposed to remember what my MySpace account details were?"

      Did MySpace still exist 5 years ago? My, how time flies!

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: MySpace

        Did MySpace still exist 5 years ago?

        Even more surprising: it still does.

    2. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

      Re: MySpace

      Not to mention Orkut!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: MySpace

      The same way they wanted me to remember in the ESTA the number of my previous passport.

      By chance, I did have it.. but cmon..

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So just out of interest

    What if you fly into south America, Mexico for instance and then drive into the US, if they have the same checks then the road across is gonna be gridlocked or even go in via Canada.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: So just out of interest

      What if you fly into south America, Mexico for instance "

      You appear to be geographically challenged. Would you like some help with that?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So just out of interest

        "You appear to be geographically challenged. Would you like some help with that?" no I am good

        Being expert at colouring in was never my thing and to be frank Canada is about the only place on that continent I care about and only because it has all the good things the UK used to have but gave up pretending to be the US

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: So just out of interest

          I'm not sure what the relationship is between colouring in and which continent a country is on.

          1. heyrick Silver badge

            Re: So just out of interest

            Didn't you colour in maps in primary school?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: So just out of interest

          "Canada is about the only place on that continent I care about and only because it has all the good things the UK used to have but gave up pretending to be the US"

          <cough> 2 words... Celine Dion...

  40. aks

    April 1st come early?

    Just an idea.

  41. TeSk

    Immigrant visa only?

    This won't apply to student visas I hope? Cause I've to apply in May.

  42. tvnewswatch

    Pointless and ridiculous

    Whilst this would evidently be an infringement of personal information it is somewhat pointless in that it may be difficult to prove one was lying if one declared not to have a Facebook, Twitter or YouTube account. The stipulation applies to countries like China and Iran where such platforms are often blocked anyway. Indeed China mostly resides in a kind of Intranet with homegrown services such as RenRen, Sinaweibo and Youku replacing the above services. That said most people in China are hooked to Weixin (also known as WeChat) and is essentially peer to peer, for the most part, so knowing your 'handle' would be of little use. This is also rediculous in that the US would have little to glean. A real terrorist is not going to give their real terrorist social media accounts anymore than they're going to check the box saying they have been involved in such activities.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Pointless and ridiculous

      "it may be difficult to prove one was lying if one declared not to have a Facebook, Twitter or YouTube account."

      Unless they already know and just want to check if you are telling the truth.

  43. imanidiot Silver badge

    And the US fallsanother notch

    On the places I'd like to visit list

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: And the US fallsanother notch

      Same here and I live here!

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Do unto those....

    Well seeing as they may want to do this to us, let our countries respond likewise.

    It’s a tit for tat world out there at the moment and damaging invasive requests like this just help drive a wedge between countries. I feel that America is trying to put up its own iron curtain and re-start the cold war.

    If they do manage it then oh well we shall so miss them too -it will reduce the noise over here....hehehe

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Glad I'll never have to visit. I have no desire to be shot. Although I wonder what they'd make of my facebook profile that states I swam the channel at 5 and gave up chain smoking at 11 !

  46. BahnStormer77

    how do they define social media?!?!

    Where do they draw the line? And what counts as a suspicious LACK of accounts? Everybody is deleting Facebook or at very least, censoring it to the point of it looking suspicious... what else do they want to know about?!? I've got "social media" accounts in the form of forum memberships, but that includes stuff for cars and dishwashers that I got rid of 15 years ago.... several hundred forum memberships in total.... and no Instagram/Twitter/Picasa, etc... I'm probably going to get grief for having some type of accounts and not enough of others...

  47. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Fun?

    Now what if your current employer decide to send you over & they take a shufty at your facebook page, and up pops a message from a friend from 6 years ago full of things that go boomz, goatse and tubgirl stuff, and based on that they decline your visa?

    Whose fault would that be?

    I have a twatter and faceboob account, but both are used so seldom nowadays.

  48. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

    I post here and on one other site. That it's it for me and "social networks".

    If I should visit the USA in the foreseeable future, I will create a user account with VKontakte to have something to show.

  49. Dave 15 Silver badge

    mmm... what bollocks

    If they need me to tell them what accounts I use then what are their spies doing with all the data they collect? If I was a terrorist would I tell? Of course not. Mind, that never stopped the idiots having a question about being a member of a terrorist organisation on their old visa waiver.... wonder if Jerry Adams said yes or no?

    As to my international trips... I really really dont have time to put them all in... one or two a week every week and not to the same countries.

    Guess I will just have to say no to any trips to the USA

  50. MrReal

    It's OK for the US Government to arm known terrorists in Syria.

    To have waged a War Of Agression against Iraq and Libya with no evidence.

    To threaten NK for having the temerity to want to defend themselves.

    The sanction Iran because their pharisee friends in Israel demand it.

    But messages on social media pointing this out might result in us being refused entry to the land they stole from the native American Indians?

    Well, that's one way to kill tourism and business I guess. Bye bye America, I liked you better before you became a military police state with places like Guantanamo Bay, outside of even US law.

    If 20 years ago someone had told me I'd feel safer today visiting Russia than America I'd have laughed in their face, but that day arrived some time ago.

  51. Daniel Bower

    What if you just don’t tell them?

    I mean they’re asking you so they probably don’t know. Just your hotmail account set up for the purpose and nothing else...

    1. the future is back!

      Re: What if you just don’t tell them? WHAT?

      That’s a crime and leverage to inflict endless, ludicrous grief.

  52. the future is back!

    As long as the rivers flow etc.

    I’m an American Indian (that’s what it says on card I must carry 24-7) and can live on both sides of the border - I will leave determining that up to you. Need no visa to be in US. And my hearing aids need the paired app om my iphone. And these inept, pedantic fools can peremptorily grab my phone? Is my password keeper a social app? My pwds are unknown to me without it. What a moronic policy. And there is NOWHERE NEAR the smart staffing in existance to handle this mess

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They asked this question for my ESTA application last August - I left it blank and border patrol at San Diego airport pretty much waived us through (after taking finger print scans) with no hassle whatsoever. Will see soon if Miami officials have a similar attitude.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Twatter

    I have plenty of anti-Drumpf posts on Twatter, including some uninvited messages from myself to the Cheeto in Chief simply calling him a moron. If I put that account on such a form, would it cause me hassles?

  55. Phage

    Confused now

    I've not been over to the US from the UK for some years, but I have two half-sisters there, that I would like to see again. What is the implication for UK citizens ? Does this apply to me or not ?

    Fingerprints are bad enough but my entire data history.... Probably enough to stop me going.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Confused now

      It includes everyone except American citizens. So yes, you.

  56. Jason Hindle Bronze badge

    The Trump Slump...

    So, not only do they want lower tourist numbers, they also want a lower quality of tourist? I doubt your average Daily Mail reader* is exactly the last of the big spenders, when on that annual Flori-duh holiday.

    * Daily Mail reader perhaps used as a euphemism for the Nothing to Hide/Nothing to Fear brigade.

  57. cortland

    A WHAT curtain?

    From Alaska to San Diego, an [idiot] curtain has descended on the United States...

  58. Marty McFly
    Mushroom

    Stay home

    "This will deter foreign citizens from wanting to come to the US"

    I'm good with that.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Representation

    FYI, our politicians and media DO NOT represent the citizens, only themselves.

    And most of us in the US know that what we see on media about other countries is likely as much BS as our is. What does "the media say about the UK?" you might ask-

    All the bugs will kill you, there are everywhere, knives are illegal but everybody has one and stabs people every day. Guns were taken away so Muslim radicals can rape women and girls at will, and they do all the time without prosecution. Everyone's teeth are crooked.

    Now I am sure that is not normal life in the UK, but that's what the media says it is.

    15 years ago the UK was all crocodiles, before that it was all Mad Max. - normal life that is. Don't let the media be your judge of other people, I don't.

  60. Polyphonic

    The good old US of A has been off my travel plans for a long time.

    This doesn't move it up the list any.

  61. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

    Glory to Arstotzka.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBQE_TNI7zw

    (If you've not played this, do so.)

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