Civil Liberties Coalition Submits Comments on DHS Plan to Collect Travelers' Social Media Information

The Brennan Center and a coalition of civil liberties organizations submitted comments to the Department of Homeland Security on their plan to collect social media information from travelers seeking entry to the United States.

October 3, 2016

In light of the revised System of Records Notice (SORN) for Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), posted on September 2, 2016, the Brennan Center and a coalition of civil liberties organizations submitted comments to the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Bureau (DHS/CBP). The comments concerned the DHS/CBP plan to permit the collection of information from, and expand routine uses for, social media information from travelers seeking entry to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program and other persons, including U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, whose names are provided to the DHS/CBP as a part of a traveler's Form I-94W or ESTA. As described in the comments, we believe that this policy is fatally vague, lacks transparency, and will result in the overbroad collection, retention, and sharing of significant amounts Americans' data for purposes far beyond the initial reason for collection. These comments provide the DHS/CBP with a list of the plan's shortcomings and fall into three main categories: overbroad collection of Americans' data; overbroad retention and sharing; and, lack of transparency.

The Brennan Center has previously submitted comments on the DHS/CBP plan to prompt travelers to enter information associated with their social media identifiers under the Visa Waiver Program, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board's (PCLOB) plan to examine counterterrorism and surveillance activities conducted under Executive Order (EO) 12333, and the NSA's surveillance activities under both Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, and Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Act (FISA), part of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 (FAA).

 

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Brennan Center and Eleven Civil Liberties Organizations Submit Comments on DHS Plan to Collect Social Media Information