back to article Uncle Sam wants to read your tweets, check out your Instagram, log your email addresses before you enter the Land of the Free on a visa

The US government will now require "most" visa applicants to provide details of their social media accounts before they are allowed into the country. The controversial policy seemingly came into force on Friday. As far as we can tell, it will require people to provide the URLs or handles of social media accounts – from Twitter …

  1. macjules Silver badge

    Require Social Media?

    Hate to break the news but the ESTA system has been asking UK travellers to do that since December last year. Certainly does not seem to have affected 10+ trips to sunny San Jose since then.

    Then again, I guess it depends upon how many times you tweet your hatred of Trump et al.

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Require Social Media?

      For ESTA, it is optional FWIW. For the DS-160, not so much.

      C.

      1. notamole

        Re: Require Social Media?

        I'm suddenly curious whether any terrorists have applied for work visas. Do they list occupation as terrorist, freedom fighter, militant? Does ISIS provide a Youtube course for filling in applications?

        1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

          Re: terrorists

          FWIW, the visa program includes things like fiance K visas and spousal derivative visas, so it's not all employment focused.

          Also, I think it's the DS-160 form - if not, it'll be another one you fill in - that asks you if you've ever trafficked child soldiers, built or used explosives, been part of a terror group, etc. So yeah, you would be asked to declare that kinda occupation.

          This is what happens if you tick the wrong box (in this case, on a visa waiver form) www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-45678517

          C.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: terrorists

            "that asks you if you've ever trafficked child soldiers, built or used explosives, been part of a terror group, etc."

            "Sole purpose of visit" - Oscar Wilde.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: terrorists

              It was Gilbert Harding.

              Wilde lost at US customs - he said he had nothing to declare but his genius, and the customs official said they had so much of that in the US that there was no need to tax its import.

              It was Harding who wrote, next to the question about intending to overthrow the government of the United States "Sole purpose of visit".

              In an unrelated incident, Alan Turing joined the Home Guard to learn how to use a rifle. When he had, he announced his intention of leaving and was told he could not because on the application form he had ticked a box agreeing that he was now bound by military discipline. To which he replied that he had noted the box and not ticked it.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: terrorists

                re: "Wilde lost at US customs - he said he had nothing to declare but his genius, and the customs official said they had so much of that in the US that there was no need to tax its import."

                Having read https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-45678517- when did all that US "genius" disappear, clearly didn't send any to the US embassy in London. And best not mention Trump!

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: terrorists

                  In the 19th century when Wilde was around, the US was in the situation that China is now - recovered economically from a disastrous civil war (Mao) and with a relatively young population full of ideas and confidence and not too bothered about other countries' patents.

                  Novus mundus senescit, to modify the phrase. And if anything is senex, it's the current President.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: terrorists

                Too late to correct a post I note that Turing didn't not check a box, he didn't sign his Home Guard identity card and therefore was never legally a member. And nobody noticed. Apologies for my faulty recollection.

              3. STOP_FORTH Silver badge

                Re: terrorists

                Wasn't it also Peter Ustinov playing Maximilian Rodrigues de Santos in the film "Viva Max!"?

          2. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: terrorists

            Just goes to prove how insane that question is. Literally nobody who should properly answer "yes" to that question will actually do so, so the only "yes"s that are reported are going to be innocent people.

        2. zb

          Re: Require Social Media?

          You are lucky that they don't ask for your El Reg login, you would never be allowed in again

          1. Mark 85 Silver badge

            Re: Require Social Media?

            Indeed. They might even toss some of us who are citizens out.

            Sidenote... I see that MySpace is on the list. Are they still around even?

            1. GrapeBunch Silver badge

              Re: Require Social Media?

              Obligatory MySpace reference, with Jennifer Saunders:

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uiQy6kqaxg

        3. Jaybus

          Re: Require Social Media?

          "I'm suddenly curious whether any terrorists have applied for work visas."

          A visa is for entering the country. Generally, a permit is needed for working, although there are a few visa types that are specifically for work and do not require a separate permit. Asylees, students who need to work based on unforeseen economic need, fiance's, people with temporary protected status, spouses of L-1 intracompany transferees and E1/E2 treaty traders/investors, and a long list of others can apply for work permits. So there is a very long list of visa types that may be associated with a work permit.

          According to the Strategic National Risk Assessment (https://www.dhs.gov/strategic-national-risk-assessment-snra), 57 of the 192 confirmed foreign-born terrorists between 1975 and 2017 were Lawful Permanent Residents (ie. "green" card holders) and definitely worked in the US. 41 were in the US on tourist visas, 11 were from Visa Waiver Program countries, and 9 were illegally in the US, so most terrorists were eligible to apply for a temporary work permit. I don't think there is a breakdown of how many of the visa holding terrorists applied for work permits, other than the 57 that held green cards.

          So, yes, at least 57 terrorists applied for work permits.

      2. iron Silver badge

        Re: Require Social Media?

        It doesn't look optional on the ESTA form. When I filled one in for a mate recently it looked mandatory to me.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Require Social Media?

          Perhaps Trump doesn't understand the difference between Social and Socialist

          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: Require Social Media?

            Perhaps??

          2. Will Godfrey Silver badge

            Re: Require Social Media?

            "Trump doesn't understand"

            FTFY

  2. notamole

    Hello darkness, my old friend

    Yet another example of the Obama administration opening a door, and the Trump administration blowing out the wall next to it.

    I have no idea how they'll enforce this though. The only social media account I've had in the last 5 years was Twitter, and I deleted it 3 years ago. Are they going to put me back on the plane because I don't like social cesspools?

    1. b0llchit
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Hello darkness, my old friend

      Yes, you apparently have something to hide. Cannot have that here, you know. If you are not using any "social media", then you are suspect by default. What are you up to? Why won't you share your life with us? You must be a terrorist.

      If only I could add a sarcasm tag to this. However, I do no longer believe that I am ranting in the realm of sarcasm and an Orwellian reality has caught up with me. Sigh.

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: Hello darkness, my old friend

        Orwellian reality has caught up? - sadly that was a while ago.

        I think Gilliams 'Brazil' is nearer the mark these days.

        1. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

          Re: Hello darkness, my old friend

          I think Gilliams 'Brazil' is nearer the mark these days.

          Hello, Buttle, my old friend...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hello darkness, my old friend

          >I think Gilliams 'Brazil' is nearer the mark these days.

          Orson Welles's 1962 adaptation of Kafka's the Trial for me.

    2. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: Hello darkness, my old friend

      I suspect this is in the same league as the generic questions on the visa waiver form:less to see what you'll admit to, but more to have a catchall 'you lied on your application, byeee!" with or without incarceration on the way out.

    3. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: Hello darkness, my old friend

      Word of advice don't renounce your US citizenship (if you have it) and expect an easy entry back to the USA. A friend of mine who has lived here for 40+ years renounced hers when she got married to a friend of mine. She did this mostly to stop having to submit a US tax return. No problems for a good number of years until her sister who normally came to the UK to visit her had a bad bout of flu. Very concerned for her sibling my friend applies for an ESTA to visit the USA. She is refused and was told to go to the embassy in Grosvenor Sq for an interview. Forttunately her sister was okay and made a full recovery before the interview where she had to apply for a visa.

      She's never used any form of social media and relies on the phone and email for communication. She said before her interview that they can look at her phone if they want. She said she'd point out the superior knitting patterns from the hundreds she has on there. Then there's the best type of wool to use etc.

      1. Twanky Bronze badge
        Holmes

        Re: Hello darkness, my old friend

        'superior knitting patterns from the hundreds she has'

        See! Communicating in code!

        1. Korev Silver badge
          Childcatcher

          Re: Hello darkness, my old friend

          Don't just do maths on the plane, someone might report you if things don't add up[0]...

          [0] Pun intentional

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: don't renounce your US citizenship

        Mysteriously, though, I bet one Boris Johnson - who did just that - has no problem.

        Do any US readers know that the UKs own Bouffant Buffoon made a big show in our press of throwing off the shackles of US citizenship ? I ask, because I'm surprised you're so happy with Trumps ringing endorsement of him.

        Mind you, didn't Donnie the T dodge the draft ?

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: don't renounce your US citizenship

          "I'm surprised you're so happy with Trumps ringing endorsement of him."

          Who's happy about that? I don't care who Trump does or does not endorse as he has no credibility.

          That said, I do wish that people -- particularly US Presidents -- who get so upset when other nations make statements about US internal politics would at least have the minimum level of dignity required in order to refrain from making statements about other nations internal politics. Also, Trump only really views certain types of people favorable, and that type tends to be pretty despicable.

          1. gwp3

            Re: don't renounce your US citizenship

            Trump is the opposite of dignity.

      3. llaryllama

        Re: Hello darkness, my old friend

        I gave up my UK citizenship 2 decades ago as I moved to Asia when quite young, on the rare occasions I travel to the UK or Europe I get the third degree about where my "other ID" is (I'm ethnically Scottish, I had an albino friend in school with darker skin). The last (and worse) grilling was from a British Indian guy at immigration who didn't see the irony behind his racial profiling that would most likely get him sacked if I was <insert ethnicity> with a European passport.

    4. Franco Silver badge

      Re: Hello darkness, my old friend

      "Are they going to put me back on the plane because I don't like social cesspools?"

      I've posted this here before, usually in response to an Alistair Dabbs column or something like that, but about 5 years ago I was asked in a job interview if I had something to hide. I asked why they would think that and they said that in their opinion my online footprint was very small for someone who worked in IT.

      Having decided at that exact moment that this was not a place I wanted to work, I made one or two suggestions regarding how stupid an assumption that was, which probably didn't go down too well.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hello darkness, my old friend

        I was asked in a job interview if I had something to hide.

        Interviewer: Do you have something to hide?

        Me: Yes I do, but so do you.

        Interviewer: What do you mean?

        Me: I mean we are both wearing pants...

        .

        For some reason, I didn't get the job.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hello darkness, my old friend

        I had my answer to that one ready should I need it.

        "I had IT security and DPA responsibility for my company. What did you expect? I wasn't going to give anyone anything that could be used to social hack my access."

      3. SgtFalstaff

        Re: Hello darkness, my old friend

        I had that happen to me in an interview just last year. The thirty-something HR drone couldn't believe I didn't have a Facebook or Twitter account. When they called for a second interview I declined.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hello darkness, my old friend

          In my field, IT security, I wouldn't hire anyone with a social media presence, period. It shows a total lack of discretion. Anyone that would put their information on social media is not someone that I would want safeguarding my data.

          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: Hello darkness, my old friend

            I understand (and share) the sentiment, but "IT security" is a rather broad field. I think that how meaningful having (or not having) social media accounts is depends on precisely what the job is.

        2. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: Hello darkness, my old friend

          What really blows my mind is that employers are even asking about your social media presence at all. I've never been asked that, personally, and I'm not sure how I would react if I were. I'd probably decline to continue with the application process.

      4. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Hello darkness, my old friend

        they said that in their opinion my online footprint was very small for someone who worked in IT.

        The appropriate answer might be: "It's because I work in IT I don't use social media. I know what a cess pool and time waster it is." Oh wait... is EL Reg comments considered social media?

        1. moiety Silver badge

          Re: Hello darkness, my old friend

          El Reg is considered antisocial media, so you're fine. Glad to help, now get the fuck off my lawn.

      5. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Hello darkness, my old friend

        online footprint was very small for someone who worked in IT

        I would have thought that a techie working in IT was *far* more likely to avoid social media - after all, we *should be) far more aware of how the information is collected and used..

      6. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Hello darkness, my old friend

        "I was asked in a job interview if I had something to hide"

        Wow. I'm a software engineer with a very tiny online footprint (and no footprint at all in social media). No prospective employer has ever mentioned that in an way. Maybe I'm just lucky.

        In any case, I agree with you -- the instant that a question like that would come up would be the instant that I become certain that's not a place I'd be willing to work.

        1. Franco Silver badge

          Re: Hello darkness, my old friend

          Remember this was about 5 years back, so before all the revelations about just how bad Facebook in particular were at slurping data, and also the people doing the interviewing are frequently HR rather than techies.

          I agree with all of the above comments regarding IT professionals being more likely to avoid social media, other than LinkedIn and even then I tend to only see fellow contractors rather than permies for obvious reasons.

          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: Hello darkness, my old friend

            "other than LinkedIn"

            Heh, I deleted my LinkedIn account five years or so ago. It's only last year that I stopped getting spam from them. Now that that's stopped, I'm very glad I left it.

    5. Aitor 1 Silver badge

      Re: Hello darkness, my old friend

      If you lie and happen to have a social media account from say, 10 years ago that you don´t remember.. well, you just broke federal law!

      1. not.known@this.address Bronze badge

        Re: Hello darkness, my old friend

        Downvoted because "from 10 years ago that you don't remember" falls a little outside the FIVE years mentioned on the paperwork...

      2. David Nash

        Re: Hello darkness, my old friend

        I have a facebook account that I never use and I don't remember the last time I logged in. Maybe less than 5 years, maybe more. If I log in to check, does that count as "using" it?

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Hello darkness, my old friend

          I have a facebook account that I never use

          Probably similar to my twitter account - only ever used to post reviews of Prog albums and then, finally, a short video of my wifes' Morris Minor mileometer rolling around to 00000 again.

          Yes, I know, what a wild and exciting life I lead..

  3. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Meh

    'sOK

    Although I have friends there, it's long since ceased to be the sort of place I'd want to visit. This is just another reason added to the list - besides, I don't have any such accounts at all, and never have.

    P.S. The first reason is I can't handle long distance air travel.

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: 'sOK

      Ditto !

    2. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: 'sOK

      You have an account on El Reg. I'm assuming you'd need to provide that. I have about 100 email addresses (every supplier gets a different one), so, in theory, I'd need to write on both sides of the paper and probably attach extra sheets.

      It's not a problem in itself, since I, too, have no desire to return to the US. Given that the Orangenius seems to be spawning replicants across the formerly-civilised world, the real problem is working out if there's anywhere left to visit that won't be soul-crushingly depressing.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 'sOK

        I doubt that the Register provides interesting information for the NSA except that with the exception of Matt Bryant and Bombastic Bob, nobody likes it. And they know that anyway.

      2. Toni the terrible

        Re: 'sOK

        Is "The Register Social Media"? I thought it was for unsocial nerds and the like, otherwise I wouldnt read it.

      3. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: 'sOK

        "You have an account on El Reg. I'm assuming you'd need to provide that."

        That raises an interesting question -- it wouldn't have occurred to me that I would need to provide that, as I don't consider El Reg to be "social media". It's an industry commentary site.

        So, I wonder how exactly the US government defines "social media".

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If I lived outside the US

    And thought I might want to enter it at some point, I'd create a social media account now, probably on Twitter since it doesn't really have the concept of "friends". Every month or so login and post a link to something silly so it looks like you're using the account.

    Give that when they ask you, and keep your real ones (if any) secret. In the unlikely event they're able to link you to the real ones just say you had your email hacked a couple years ago and the hacker took them over and you decided not to create new ones, so whatever has been posted on it since then wasn't you.

    1. tip pc Silver badge

      Re: If I lived outside the US

      If I posted a link every month or so it’d be vastly more usage than my actual social media accounts that I don’t use.

      I’m sure they’d work out your real accounts from any email addresses or phone numbers you provide them anyway, even your address is likely enough for them to know your accounts. Adding it to a form is likely a way for them to tell if your lying or not.

      Far easier to assume they know everything as the US tech companies have to comply with us law regardless of jurisdiction, just as the us are accusing Huawei of except us companies are under continuous compliance.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    they aren't likely to tweet out that they are about to carry out an act of terrorism - unless they are the President*

    1. deadlockvictim Silver badge

      On that note

      Noting that grabbing womens' genitals will get you elected president in the U.S., maybe a reverse pyschology is needed in order to get into the U.S.

      Those with no Twitter account are immediately suspect. Those with no disrespectful comments will be immediately disrepected. And those who say that they would like to practice the Second Amendment rights on cloth-heads will get them slapped on the back?

      And because it's slightly on-topic: Foils, Arm & Hogg:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rjab8fanzHc

  6. Jamie Jones Silver badge

    No "El Reg" on that list?

    Phew! I'm safe then!

    1. Nick Kew

      First they came for the low-hanging fruit

      Give it time.

      Amending a list is quick and easy.

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: No "El Reg" on that list?

      It's a travesty!

      Surely elReg deserves to be on the same list as ask.fm and qzone? Even myspace is on there!

  7. Magani
    Big Brother

    No passwords are requested.

    Why would they need passwords when it would seem all the agencies have back doors (allegedly)?

    Anyway, aren't they just reading this stuff. Shirley they wouldn't alter any old Farcebook comment you made in semi-jest years ago to make you look bad, would they? Would they....

    Sorry, but the US of A, despite its awe-inspiring scenery, is off my bucket list until they divest themselves of this Orwellian penchant for delving down into my boring private life. My tourist dollars will be spent in more welcoming parts of this planet.

    And as for ESTA, beware the frumious feature creep.

    1. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

      Re: No passwords are requested.

      And as for ESTA, beware the frumious feature creep.

      /slowly parsing as non-stalker-like behaviour (phew!)

    2. Louis Schreurs
      Big Brother

      Re: No passwords are requested.

      U$A is off my bucketlist too, but it will not get on it ever again.

      I’ve replaced New York with London.

      Will get replaced also if Brexit is followed by UK’s licking U$Arse.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: No passwords are requested.

        "I’ve replaced New York with London."

        That's OK. New York isn't really representative of the US anyway.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No passwords are requested.

      I think you are saying that very soon the Snark will turn out to be a Boojum, if it hasn't already.

  8. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

    I'm Cypherpunks

    ... and so is my wife.

  9. JohnFen Silver badge

    What about the antisocial?

    I know many people who don't have, and never have had, social media accounts. I assume such people exist outside the US as well. Will the US government believe them when they say "never had one"? And if so, what to prevent everyone from saying that?

    I guess this is a long-winded way of questioning how this can be enforced.

    1. Flip

      Re: What about the antisocial?

      Depends on your age. If you have grey hair or little hair (for men, anyway), it's reasonable to not have a social media account. If you're a young adult it would be very suspicious not to list any.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: What about the antisocial?

        So what will happen to the young adults who don't have any social media accounts?

    2. veti Silver badge

      Re: What about the antisocial?

      I don't think enforcement is the point. It's just another obstacle to filter out people who are less committed to visiting, and another tripwire that can be used to summarily throw them out of the country if it's expedient to do so.

      Nobody cares about or is going to do anything with the information. It's the act of providing it that matters.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: What about the antisocial?

        another tripwire that can be used to summarily throw them out of the country

        "Give me six lines written by an honest man and I can get them hanged"..

        (Paraphrase of Cardinal Richelieu)

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lot$ of touri$m down the crapper, few benefits

    I know it is customary to say here that US laws are the best that can be bought.

    This isn’t even true here. Pure nihilistic emotional jingoism at play as even a 12 year old would realize how unlikely it is to stop actual bad guys and gals.

    The US travel and hospitality industry had large interests in seeing this scrapped. But too few have dared calling the emperor’s new clothes on this latest bit of Trump stupidity.

    (I’m 100% sure plenty of Dems bitched about it, but the party as a whole bitches too stridently about too many things immigration-related so it’s easy to ignore*.)

    Where are the Republican lawmakers representing touristic areas?

    The leverage extreme views on either side of the US electorate hold over immigration policy is truly staggering.

    * as in calls to abolish ICE which are unlikely to appeal to too many voters:

    https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2018/08/27/few-democrats-favor-abolishing-ice-poll-finds/yz6spbXfJgnZJcSJaHcDUP/story.html

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Lot$ of touri$m down the crapper, few benefits

      In recent years, I've enjoyed driving tours of the East Coast, the West Coast, desert lands around Vegas, Washington to Nashville and back up via the Carolinas and last year Chicago down to New Orleans. Nothing booked this year, but I'm not exactly feeling welcome. With the thought of immigration at JFK looming, fuckit - I'm staying in Europe where at least I'm wanted. Sorry America, I love you, but you don't love me.

      And yes, there's probably enough detail in the above for the NSA to guess who I am, so they can pass my details on to the tourist board ;-)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Lot$ of touri$m down the crapper, few benefits

        While not wanting to burst your balloon of prejudice, recent encounters with US immigration at SF and Dublin (you can do immigration there before the flight) in past couple of years have been significantly more relaxed that I experienced 20 years ago ... or even with UK immigration on the way back (though again here the Dublin option is a winner - "immigration" at Dublin is little more than waving a passport at an official as you follow the transfers route into the terminal at Dublin and then in the UK as you're within the UK/Ireland travel zone there's "no physical border infrastructure" as it would clearly be impossible to do anything else)

        1. fajensen Silver badge

          Re: Lot$ of touri$m down the crapper, few benefits

          (you can do immigration there before the flight)

          In Copenhagen allegedly so there are people trawling the aisles asking questions and taking notes, except, at Kennedy airport you still get to get iris scanned, photoed and fingerprinted at the eventual end of a huge line, all surrounded by a platoon of armed and armoured goons wearing those "make me look even more like a true asshole"-sunglasses.

          I am pretty convinced that those goons are all hyped up on something new, to maybe boost their reaction time a few hundred msec. They all seemed insectile to me, the way that nobody looked bored or slightly sweaty.

          I have stopped going to conferences in the US. Once inside the US is OK, but, the same could be said about visiting the DDR. The US border control now gives the same feeling, that one might not make it in, or out, again because someone ticked a box on a form by mistake or because they can.

          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: Lot$ of touri$m down the crapper, few benefits

            "I am pretty convinced that those goons are all hyped up on something new"

            Nothing new. They're hyped up on something very old: fear combined with power.

      2. deadlockvictim Silver badge

        Re: Lot$ of touri$m down the crapper, few benefits

        What about Canada then? There's a lot to see there, and if driving tours are your thing, Canada can offer that.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Lot$ of touri$m down the crapper, few benefits

      Maybe there's an element of unfair competition creeping in here. Solidly US-based tourist businesses will be harmed but Trump's business is more geographically diversified so he'll not harming himself. Any loss of international business will be more than compensated for by what he's able to charge the US govet. for using his own facilities.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Lot$ of touri$m down the crapper, few benefits

        US-based tourist businesses will be harmed

        ..which will mostly affect costal states who, with the exception of Florida, are mostly Democrat. So Trump doesn't care because they won't vote for him anyway.

    3. Magani
      Coat

      Re: Lot$ of touri$m down the crapper, few benefits

      * as in calls to abolish ICE which are unlikely to appeal to too many voters:

      Too true. I couldn't live without my In Car Entertainment.

      1. Spanners Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Lot$ of touri$m down the crapper, few benefits

        * as in calls to abolish ICE which are unlikely to appeal to too many voters:

        Too true. I couldn't live without my In Car Entertainment.

        I'm thinking of getting rid of my Infernal Combustion Engine though...

    4. Cederic Silver badge

      Re: Lot$ of touri$m down the crapper, few benefits

      re: "calls to abolish ICE"

      I got a hug from an ICE employee just after he checked my passport in January. He should keep his job.

    5. GrapeBunch Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Lot$ of touri$m down the crapper, few benefits

      Where are the Republican lawmakers representing touristic areas?

      Swim tourism, lake fishing tourism, water-skiing tourism, boating-without-the-annoyance-of-having-to-follow-the-constraints-of-a-canal tourism...

  11. Chozo
    Big Brother

    First rule of interogation...

    Ask the suspect a question you already know the answer to

    1. VikiAi Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: First rule of interogation...

      Second rule: If they don't give the answer you have already decided you want, apply some form of abuse and repeat the question.

      1. Steve K Silver badge

        Re: First rule of interogation...

        No one expects the Spanish Inquisition....!

    2. Fungus Bob Silver badge

      Re: First rule of interogation...

      No, the The first rule of Interrogation Club is: you do not talk about Interrogation Club. The second rule of Interrogation Club is: you DO NOT talk about Interrogation Club!

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: First rule of interogation...

        The first rule of Interrogation Club is: - make sure it's soft enough to leave no marks...

        1. DropBear Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: First rule of interogation...

          *Gasp* ...no! PLEASE! Anything but the Comfy Chair!!!

          1. Olivier2553 Silver badge

            Re: First rule of interogation...

            Be careful about your wishes, anything could mean the soft cushion!

  12. IGotOut

    Yippee

    We're all looking at this wrong.

    Go to the USA, spend a huge amount of cash buying stuff, then say you didn't buy any of it.

    When your bank's asks if you gave your passwords out, say "Yes, to the man in the embassy, his employees and those nice people at the customs gate....oh and the bloke he was chatting to on the phone at the time"

    Kerching

    1. Michael Hoffmann
      Thumb Up

      Re: Yippee

      You know, that's so crazy it might just work.

      When your bank tries to go after the US government... well, good luck to them!

      Please proceed and make sure you create a Youtube HOWTO video. We're all sitting here with bated breath!

    2. Blofeld's Cat
      Devil

      Re: Yippee

      Nice try but ...

      Dear Mr Out,

      With regard to your claim for reimbursement, we note that you gave out your security details as strictly forbidden by the Terms and Conditions of your Super Gold Platinum Diamond account.

      We therefore point out that Gotcha Bank plc cannot be held liable for your reckless behaviour and decline your request.

    3. Steve K Silver badge

      Re: Yippee

      ..they aren't asking for passwords though (although that was in an original proposal)

      1. Mage Silver badge

        Re: they aren't asking for passwords

        Perhaps they don't need to.

        1. VikiAi Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: they aren't asking for passwords

          They don't really need to ask for any of it. They are just being polite!

  13. eldakka Silver badge

    Or arrested.

    Anyone not from those 38 countries, or anyone who wants to work in the US, or anyone who has traveled to seven specific countries (Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen) will be required to apply for visas and hence will be required to provide their social media handles.

    Also, anyone from those 38 countries who has ever been arrested, ever, for anything, even if released 5 minutes later without charge, let alone convicted, must apply for a Visa.

    1. Paul Kinsler

      Re: anyone from those 38 countries who has ever been arrested,

      Since in the UK you can be arrested then have that reversed by being "de-arrested", I've often wondered whether the US authorities would recognise such a de-arrest as meaning the original arrest didn't need to be declared.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: anyone from those 38 countries who has ever been arrested,

        Since being arrested all by itself (even if you are found not guilty) has serious consequences like making it harder to rent a place to live and get a job, I doubt it.

      2. eldakka Silver badge

        Re: anyone from those 38 countries who has ever been arrested,

        Check the US embassies website (emphasis mine):

        We do not recommend that travelers who have been arrested, even if the arrest did not result in a criminal conviction, have a criminal record, certain serious communicable illness, have been refused admission into, or have been deported from, the United States, or have previously overstayed under the terms of the Visa Waiver Program, 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.

      3. Paul Kinsler

        Re: dearresting

        This seems to be a good link on the subject

        http://www.keepcalmtalklaw.co.uk/de-arresting-how-does-it-work/

      4. fajensen Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: anyone from those 38 countries who has ever been arrested,

        Since in the UK you can be arrested then have that reversed by being "de-arrested"

        I bet that procedure follows the standard IT-pattern: The arresting and creation of criminal- and police- records is easy, has test cases and is totally automatic, the de-arresting and deletion of criminal- and police- record is an ad-hoc manual process, totally underfunded and naturally prone to "mistakes" - as in: Your records once created, shall never go away!

    2. Strahd Ivarius
      Trollface

      Re: Or arrested.

      Is MasterCard ok?

  14. Aussie Doc
    Holmes

    Sure.

    What could possibly go wrong?

    /s

  15. YetAnotherJoeBlow

    Wondering

    Why not have a shadow profile? Just use it a couple days a week or so and give INS this profile. Even better if you've had this profile at least a year.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Wondering

      Just remember to have this shadow profile follow the great leader.

      Of course that means you can't visit once the great leader is deposed and the new great leader takes over.

      1. Kiwi Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Wondering

        Just remember to have this shadow profile follow the great leader.

        Of course that means you can't visit once the great leader is deposed and the new great leader takes over.

        That's OK. I'll just use another profile.. I already have one... waiting in the shadows...

  16. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge
    Happy

    No passwords are requested -- Of course not!

    No passwords are requested.

    No need to. They already knows the password, right?

    1. Simon Ward

      Re: No passwords are requested -- Of course not!

      It's '1234'

      Same as my luggage, in fact.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: No passwords are requested -- Of course not!

      No need to. They already knows the password, right? captured all the traffic so they only need the handle to find out which bits are yours.

      SELECT * FROM captured_data WHERE HANDLE = ?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But who in their right mind would want to visit

    such a Shithole country ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But who in their right mind would want to visit

      Anyone interested in seeing the amazing scenery and wildlife in the shithole country?

      1. Louis Schreurs

        Re: But who in their right mind would want to visit

        Anyone interested in seeing the amazing scenery and wildlife in the -shithole country- Fourth Reich?

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: But who in their right mind would want to visit

        "Anyone interested in seeing the amazing scenery and wildlife in the shithole country?"

        Less shithole countries also have stuff worth visiting.

        In the meantime bucket list includes not visiting abusive countries.

      3. LDS Silver badge

        Re: But who in their right mind would want to visit

        Those scenery and wildlife the Interior Department and EPA are actively trying to destroy?

    2. IsJustabloke
      Facepalm

      Re: But who in their right mind would want to visit

      I have friends who live there, I like to see them and my god daughter so I'll continue to visit thanks.

      1. Someone Else Silver badge

        Re: But who in their right mind would want to visit

        Invite your friends (and god-daughter) over. It'll be safer for everyone involved.

    3. alferdpacker

      Re: But who in their right mind would want to visit

      While I get the same sort of feeling, I will say that when I visit the US I find the actual people are largely very pleasant and don't appear to be the same bunch of insane bigots we are shown on the telly.

      I sure hope people don't judge the UK based on the things our government does!

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: But who in their right mind would want to visit

        I think most people here understand that the way a government behaves doesn't strongly correlate to the nature of its citizens. As a USian, I really hope the rest of the world understands that as well.

      2. Olivier2553 Silver badge

        Re: But who in their right mind would want to visit

        I only visited USA once and it was a very unpleasant feeling. I felt like I was paraded around like a trophy "see our European visitor, isn't it nice". How can one be Persian?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But who in their right mind would want to visit

      Vermont, Massachusetts?

      It's a bit like looking at Europe from Ireland to the Urals, looking at what is the largest spoken first language*, and asking your question.

      *It's Russian

    5. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: But who in their right mind would want to visit

      Even after visiting the all over the USA many dozens of times, I still enjoy being there. I wouldn't want to live there permanently - especially as part of the workforce. But there is much to like there for a visitor.

  18. LDS Silver badge

    Somebody used Myspace in the past five years?

    That would be the most incredible discover from such a program!

  19. quattroprorocked

    I love the idea that they think people even know their own passwords.

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      Probably they recognised that and don't bother - after all there are plenty of back doors to those who do remember your password.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    (ESTA) scheme are not impacted by this latest change

    but we all know what's going to happen next.

    btw, all this is gonna weed out dumb terrorists. As to all others, never mind.

    btw2, it's really great to see that "passwords are not required", lol.

  21. Nick Kew

    Connections

    They'll see your "friends". Your followers, and who you follow. That's something they can automate.

    So if you want to enter the US, you'd better not follow any dangerous terrorist. Like, say, Greta Thunberg.

  22. VulcanV5

    I seem to remember an earlier sophisticated attempt by US authorities to identify security threats, a cleverly worded section of text on the visa application form:

    'Are you now or have you ever been a terorist? And what about your great grandmother, please provide details of her criminal record.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      One of my great-grandmother was from US....

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dear Reg readers.

    I'm in a quandary.

    I've been using @BigfatCock on twatter, BigFatCock@gmail.com for my emails and have an Instagram account of... yup, the same.

    I've been pushing out a lot of selfies of my big fat cock.

    Will I be allowed in?

    Thank you.

    BigFatCock

    1. STOP_FORTH Silver badge

      Use lube

      It's not a question of whether you'll be allowed in, more of will you be able to get in.

      1. Olivier2553 Silver badge

        Re: Use lube

        Yes, with a lot of lubricity*, it should work.

        That's a reference to something else (TOT), somewhere else, that amused me this morning.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ssshhh!

    I've fallen foul of the rules introduced under the Obama administration. I hope to visit the US (of A) this year to spend time with some friends. I made my travel plans, bought my airline tickets and then decided to complete the hitherto trivial task of getting an ESTA. A mere formality.

    It was then I found out that my tourist trip to "Discover Persia" a couple of years ago (where I discovered Persia is in Iran) would deny me an ESTA and require me to stump up £130 for a visa. My visa application also requires me to make a long trip darn sarf to London and pop into the US Embassy for a friendly chat. I thought I'd select a late appointment for my interview, to avoid an overnight stay or getting up at the craic of dorn, but the latest time offered is 10:30am.

    All these new requirements for phone numbers, e-mail accounts, etc., came into force while my DS-160 is already undergoing the process of being sent in, sent back, queried, lost, found, subjected to public inquiry, lost again, and finally buried in soft peat and recycled as firelighters, so I'm unsure what impact they might have on my application.

    Meanwhile, president Trump is visiting the UK so I'm keeping schtum about that on my social media account - even though I think he's a lovely man and wouldn't have a bad word said about him. So there!

    (Anonymous because I've already paid for my flights)

  25. illuminatus

    I last visited

    the US in 2012, and found the immigration controls then a total ballache. So, at this point, I find that I can no longer be arsed to go to the United States. I'll try my very best to live with the disappointment.

  26. Imsimil Berati-Lahn

    Excellent example of a DS-160 question.

    Q: Do you seek to engage in espionage, sabotage, export control violations or any other illegal activity while in the United States?

    A: [ * ] Yes [__] No

    Khuuh... you got me there... Tick.

    1. Spanners Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Excellent example of a DS-160 question.

      ...other illegal activity...

      Nothing illegal in civilised countries anyway.If what I get up to is illegal somewhere, perhaps that "where" does not hold up to scrutiny.

    2. LDS Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Excellent example of a DS-160 question.

      Mass shootings are still under "illegal activities" or become so widespread and protected by the second amendment they are now tolerated?

  27. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Bah, us Saffer guavamint is one jump ahead of that lot - by making visa requirements very strick and confusticated.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My email addresses?

    You mean all 50+ of them? Crikey...

    How about Blogs? I've got about 100 of those.

    The Register forums username = Anonymous Coward. That'll keep them busy.

    1. Strahd Ivarius

      Re: My email addresses?

      You can also try "Anderer Benutzen" and its variations....

    2. GrapeBunch Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: My email addresses?

      I wonder how many fb accounts there are with the name Joseph Smith? Not just the JS's but also admirers of the historical figure? How could ICE tell one from another? And if they get the wrong one, does that mean you're denied entry?

      In the old days, you could search for people on fb, and find dozens with even your own not-so-popular name. They've throttled the search results back now. But there's still a lot of people on each of most conceivable user names.

      A malicious entity could create full-on First Amendment (free speech) accounts in the names of selected foreigners. We already know that free speech does not apply to foreigners... For enhanced authenticity, and less work, all they'd need to do is copy the existing posts of a gen-u-whine wingnut. Even if the malicious account gets terminated by fb, how does that get treated in the ICE-universe?

      No, I have to suggest that the current measures are not the end of the measures. They will creep into spheres that everybody (not just the majority, as now) finds reprehensible. You will conclude that Orwell was an optimist. War is Peace. Ice is furore.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmm

    Sooooo,

    Many people have social media accounts under a pseudonym (for instance,I have a Youtube channel that doesn't use my real name). If you answer "no" to the social media question, how would Uncle Sam know whether I'm lying or not?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmm

      They'll confiscate your phone at the border if they have any suspicions.

    2. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Hmm

      The essence is if you didn't answer correctly to that question, and they can find it later (whenever they need it, in any way they can) - the result is you lied in your visa request form, and your visa can be invalidated - and they have at least a reason to force you to leave US....

      I wonder what it means for many security IT people (and other jobs that could require some level of protection) who may also use accounts not directly related to them. They would need to "out" them, or risk to be found "non compliant" later.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Hmm

        "I wonder what it means for many security IT people"

        This may become a nonissue. Since it appears that cryptographers are beginning to be denied entry to the US, other security types might not be far behind.

  30. Eddy Ito Silver badge

    US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said it would spend $100m on a new system to monitor social media activity of visitors.

    They really mean spend yet another $100 million. You know, pretty soon they'll be talking real money.

  31. skalamanga

    Fine, here's my google+ details....

  32. Sleep deprived
    Happy

    After TSA padlocks...

    For your convenience, the TSA now runs a password generator.

  33. steviebuk Silver badge

    Really...

    ....?

    So the so called "Terrorist" is flying in to be a terrorist cock. They begin to fill in the form.

    "Hmm, shall I be honest or just lie".

    I wonder what they'll choose.

    Who comes up with these stupid fucking ideas.

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