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Brennan Center Urges Rejection of Proposal to Collect Social Media Data

The Brennan Center and 41 other organization submitted comments to the Department of Homeland Security strongly opposing its plan to collect social media identifiers from people traveling to the US or applying for immigration-related benefits.

Published: November 5, 2019

On November 4, 2019, the Brennan Center — along with the ACLU, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the Center for Democracy and Technology, and 38 other civil, human, and immigrant rights organizations — sent comments to the Department of Homeland Security opposing the Department’s plan to expand its collection of social media information. By notice published September 4, 2019, the Department of Homeland Security proposed to ask certain people seeking to travel or be admitted to the United States, or applying for immigration-related benefits to provide all social media identifiers used in the past five years, among other information. The disclosure requirement is anticipated to affect at least 33 million people annually. As described in the comments, the agency’s collection of additional information will undermine privacy rights and First Amendment rights of speech, expression, and association. Additionally, the agency’s use of social media data for social media monitoring and screenings will likely result in arbitrary, ineffective, inconsistent, and discriminatory determinations.