Learn how the U.S. government is screening visa applicants’ digital footprints.
In a bold move by the Department of Homeland Security, visa applicants may now be subjected to social media background checks. In light of recent world events, the DHS has begun taking stricter measures--particularly those concerning the digital sphere--to improve national security. These enhanced background checks could require visa applicants to reveal past social media handles, passwords, and other information deemed necessary for a comprehensive scan of one’s digital record.
The new questionnaire asks applicants for social media handles used within the last five years. The DHS may also request applicants for their passwords and other pertinent information.
What does this mean?
Social media screening could become a widespread trend, even in non-governmental sectors. With the world becoming an increasingly digital space, more individuals and companies are turning to social media to connect with the world around them. The digital footprints they create effectively extend their identities, opening the door to a vast world of information that can be analyzed, monitored (if necessary), and preserved.