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Brennan Center Condemns DHS Proposal to Collect Social Media Passwords

The Brennan Center joined a coalition of civil liberties organizations, trade associations, and experts in condemning a Department of Homeland Security Proposal to collect social media passwords from non-citizens as a condition for entrance to the United States.

Published: March 10, 2017

The Bren­nan Center, together with a coali­tion of human rights and civil liber­ties organ­iz­a­tions, trade asso­ci­ations, and experts, released a joint state­ment on Febru­ary 21, 2017 condemning a recent proposal by Secret­ary John Kelly that would require non-citizens to provide social media pass­words to the Depart­ment of Home­land Secur­ity as a condi­tion for entrance to the United States.

On March 10, 2017, the Bren­nan Center joined over three dozen lead­ing civil rights organ­iz­a­tions in writ­ing to Secret­ary Kelly directly regard­ing the dangers of such a policy.

A policy requir­ing pass­words would expose the private commu­nic­a­tions of trav­el­ers and every­one within their social networks – likely includ­ing U.S. citizens – to undue govern­ment scru­tiny. It could also set a preced­ent to be mirrored by foreign govern­ments, who may demand pass­words from U.S. citizens.

Requir­ing pass­words at the border could have an intensely chilling effect on free speech rights. It would under­mine U.S. economic and national secur­ity interests as well as damage rela­tion­ships with foreign govern­ments and their citizenry. Secret­ary Kelly and the Depart­ment of Home­land Secur­ity should reject a blanket policy requir­ing pass­words.

The Bren­nan Center has previ­ously submit­ted comments on DHS/CBP plans to permit the collec­tion of inform­a­tion from, and expand routine uses for, social media inform­a­tion from trav­el­ers enter­ing the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program and other persons.  

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Bren­nan Center Condemns DHS Proposal to Collect Social Media Pass­words by The Bren­nan Center for Justice on Scribd