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Privacy experts worry over Homeland Security's possible move to collect travelers' passwords

By William Gayde ยท 18 replies
Feb 10, 2017
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  1. As the United States struggles with the international response of the new immigration ban, the Department of Homeland Security has created some more tension. In a congressional hearing earlier this week, John F. Kelly, the head of the DHS, shared new technical requirements for visa applicants. Kelly's proposal calls for the mandatory turnover of any and all social media passwords upon entering the United States.

    The proposal was raised last year as well and the privacy and security community is once again up in arms over it.

    As part of what Kelly called "enhanced social media screening", the plan calls for the DHS to go through the online activity of a potential applicant. Agents would view web history, social media posts, conversations, and other online activity. The requirement that visa applicants "give us your passwords" would not be optional in this new vetting process. Kelly hopes it will become mandatory and if travelers don't give up their passwords, "they don't come in".

    This plan likely won't deter those desperate for refuge since giving up one's passwords is simple compared to other steps of a visa application. Security experts have weighed in heavily though in the past few days.

    Timothy Edgar, cyber security program director at Brown University, said "it’s pretty obvious that if you’re a terrorist you can create a dummy social media profile," in other words the policy is very easy to get around and thus not effective. Robert McCaw, affairs director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations voiced concerns about a right to privacy in his statement that "the price for admission into the United States shouldn’t mean giving up your online life."

    Industry experts agree this move, if it were to be adopted, would be more likely to stop primarily younger applicants and students from entering. As border security is once again the main topic among politicians, these experts are fearing the widespread surveillance of social media accounts.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Fobus

    Fobus TS Addict Posts: 104   +75

    Might as well give your diary and report all your sexual activity then... Who needs privacy... Do rich also have to report all their financial transactions, or are they allowed to buy their way out of this one? How about medical history? because who knows what kind of terror one hides...
  3. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,286

    Well if you can't get passwords out of people the good old fashioned and honest way by hacking, spying or even asking them nicely, then you may as well resort to belting, torturing, threatening and coercing them. It worked effectively in medieval times, and before, to get them to spill the beans so why won't it work now? If it ain't broke, break it, unless it's the poor saps bones of course. Rules and laws may have changed since then but man's nature certainly hasn't.
  4. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,404   +3,799

    @ Fobus: Your right there. We were warned long ago that the inclination that we needed to give up a little bit of our privacy in order to be kept safe was a ruse and it certainly has been. It's just a shame that the framers of the constitution didn't see this coming and address it in an amendment to guarantee our privacy "rights". But the genie is out of the bottle now and we'll play hell ever trying to push him back in!
  5. "We" aren't giving up any privacy rights. From the article (emphasis mine):

    "In a congressional hearing earlier this week, John F. Kelly, the head of the DHS, shared new technical requirements for visa applicants."

    Foreign non-citizens do not have constitutional rights to be alienated. They can be granted privileges based on those rights when granted visas, but non-visa holding foreigners have as many constitutional rights as Martians--none.
    Yynxs and RebelFlag like this.
  6. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,404   +3,799

    Go back and see all the changes to our privacy in the name of security since 9-11 and it will be come evident. The logical person has figured out that every time the government endorses such a move, there are lots and lots of hidden rules and laws that are slipped into said bill and we, the private citizen, end up losing more and more. Government feeds upon itself and grows bigger and bigger in search of more and more power. This is just another example in a long line of moves to control each person. What is applied to Visa applications today may well be a requirement for any and ALL Visa applications going to and coming from the US.
  7. You might want to take your own advice and look at the scope of those bills. Either show where the language of the policy expands that to domestic affairs, affords for such an expansion, or save the fearmongering for another thread.
    Yynxs, Lionvibez and RebelFlag like this.
  8. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 4,000   +2,295

    If you magically zap a population from one country to another, does it change the intent of their hearts? If they are terrorists, does it make them not terrorists? If they are peace loving, does it make them not peace loving?

    How long will it be before they attempt this in any way on US citizens? Right now, all the govt has to do is declare you a terrorist, and there is little that you can do about it, and yes, davislane1, I mean YOU.

    This will do nothing to enhance security except to give those who fear Orcs are coming from Mordor a fantasy sense of security. Get out in the world. Find out what real people who do not share your religion, heritage, education level, or anything that you hold dear to your heart are really like. The bubble that is your world will never be shared by everyone - in fact, it is your bubble alone. You can let it be a prison of fear or you can let it be an exploration of humanity and how those outside of your bubble share much, if not all, of the same hopes and dreams as you do.
    lipe123 likes this.
  9. m4a4

    m4a4 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,460   +1,035

    I understand the intent, but if someone with ill will towards the US wants to get in and knows about this, they will remove their negative social media content (at least the smart/capable ones will).
    wiyosaya likes this.
  10. Ladies and gentlemen, I present you with, Not an Argument:

    Your consistent response to anyone who disagrees with you on matters of politics, policy, or society is that whatever they propose or believe will bring about dystopia. When that doesn't work, you try to misrepresent their comments to bolster your own. And when that fails, you dismiss their position as the product of hate and ignorance while proclaiming "your perspective" morally superior and "how you see it" as indisputably enlightened.


    Moral superiority:

    The only thing you didn't do here was attempt to invoke the power of Christ, which I assume will come later.

    Because this act has grown old, and there are more well-endowed opponents on this website, this will be my one and only response to you in this thread or any other thread relating to politics, policy, or society.

    You can quote me, you can @ me, but you will not be indulged.
    captaincranky and Raoul Duke like this.

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,721   +810

    Wonder how many fake FB accounts people will be making to get into the country.

    This is a total waste of time IMO, you can't vet these people coming in unless their country has information to provide. On the individual basis you can only see what is on the surface.

    The US needs to put more money into monitoring those that have entered the country. And the US needs to promote honor and patriotism, and encourage those to come forward with information on those who may be planning or wishing to perform an attack. A majority of terrorist attacks were from US citizens who are in the country legally, and there always seems to be hints, indicators, and tons of red flags before an attack occurs yet not enough is being done to stop it.
  12. See: San Bernadino. Neighbors saw plenty of suspicious stuff and never reported it because they were afraid of leftists calling them racist islamophobes. The real security threat, the Trojan horse if you will, is the activist left in this country. They're the only faction that attempts (successfully, I might add) to systematically dismantle any rigorous security measures under the guise of tolerance and "progress."

    Recall also that the FL shooter's wife mysteriously disappeared right after the incident. People said, "that's mighty odd." To which the left responded, "islamophobe!" She was later arrested by the FBI for aiding and abetting her terrorist husband.

    Want to add extra screening for Muslim travelers? Cant, that's bigoted.

    Think all that pipework and fertilizer in Waleed's garage looks a bit suspicious? Well, you're a racist.

    Just look at these threads. Each time someone says when need stronger protections they do nothing but scream and cry that not all x are like that and that anyone who doesn't fall in line is an ignorant Nazi.
    Yynxs likes this.
  13. To the moderate who got nuked by the moderator (pun intended) had second thoughts:

    I realize that my views expressed on this website are unsavory to certain members. I also understand that some people, and I think they are generally good people, find my presentation style on many of these issues to be grating. This is a natural consequence of my chosen format. I have chosen that format because it works.

    What I post to these boards, and elsewhere on the internet, is not authored from a position of "hate," "anger," or any other overflow of emotion. Anysuch interpretation is a false projection more likely true of the person reading than it is of the one written. I believe, in no uncertain terms, that everyone on this planet simply wants to live and enjoy life. I also believe that every person has the right to pursue those things. However, because diversity (actual diversity, not "vibrancy") is real, the "how" of that fulfillment necessarily leads to conflict.

    It is this foundation that my views are build upon. When I say to someone, as I have to wiyosaya, that I will no longer be responding re: issue x, it is because nothing profitable will come out of that exchange for anyone involved and I would rather not he and I waste our time repeating the exact same exchange indefinitely. This thread, and all those related, are about the "how." There is no point to engaging in conversation that consists entirely of "any 'how' that isn't mine will end the world."

    So, instead of being a ***k and letting people post into the wind, I tell them I won't be engaging them.

    Next time, send the tome via DM.

    P.S. to the mod: Can you not delete this, please? No further references to the subject matter will be made.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 11, 2017
  14. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,401   +627

    You have made an incorrect assumption.
  15. He deleted it? Oh well.
  16. Yynxs

    Yynxs TS Addict Posts: 201   +78


    (B) Review of designation upon petition

    The Secretary shall review the designation of a foreign terrorist organization under the procedures set forth in clauses (iii) and (iv) if the designated organization files a petition for revocation within the petition period described in clause (ii).

    (I) if the designated organization has not previously filed a petition for revocation under this subparagraph, the petition period begins 2 years after the date on which the designation was made; or

    (II) if the designated organization has previously filed a petition for revocation under this subparagraph, the petition period begins 2 years after the date of the determination made under clause (iv) on that petition.
    (iii) Procedures
    Any foreign terrorist organization that submits a petition for revocation under this subparagraph must provide evidence in that petition that the relevant circumstances described in paragraph (1) are sufficiently different from the circumstances that were the basis for the designation such that a revocation with respect to the organization is warranted.

    Just because you didn't bother to look it up, doesn't make your statement true.
    davislane1 likes this.
  17. Yynxs

    Yynxs TS Addict Posts: 201   +78

    I believe the politics of this was covered in 1963 by the renowned philosopher and international political commentator, Marvin Hamlisch.

    Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows,
    Everything that's wonderful is what I feel when we're together,
    Brighter than a lucky penny,
    When you're near the rain cloud disappears, dear,
    And I feel so fine just to know that you are mine.

    My life is sunshine, lollipops and rainbows,
    That's how this refrain goes, so come on, join in everybody!

    from The Golden Hits of Lesley Gore
  18. Yynxs

    Yynxs TS Addict Posts: 201   +78

    I exhorted some people on another website to listen to others and try to dissuade and change the minds of bigots and charlatans instead of trying to shout them down. So I will try here.

    I've been out in the world. Unless you're a really large world traveler, maybe more than you. I've eaten fruit bat in the Philippine mountains with Negritos, dog on the streets of Manila, insects and snake in Thailand, cat in Japan, and unnamed other meats in Iraq, Mexico, Korea, and others. People by and large, used to love Americans and wanted to come here because it was better than where they were.

    I've been in a knife fight in the Philippines, bar brawls in Japan, had my train halted out of Singapore because Islamic militants had blown up the tracks, and awakened in a fishing village with no knowledge how I moved 200 miles across the ocean to get there. I've gotten drunk with the IRA in Cleveland (yes Ohio). Nothing really happened to me in the Green Zone because a lot of very hot very tired Marines guarded where I worked.

    Through all of this I met wonderful people who like the US and wanted to go there to get away from the mountain of violence where they were.

    This does not mean I didn't meet the others. What we used to call 'cimpidas' (street thugs) in Japan. Moros attacking the back gate at Clark. I mentioned the train above and Islamic Extremists.

    I've had personal one-on-one conversations with survivors of Muslim "extremism". One of the drivers delivering to our compound in Iraq sat down with me while they were unloading the truck and told me about being stopped on his journey. He wasn't being escorted by US or coalition forces, he was just a guy earning a living moving some goods for an American company from one place to another. He was Shia Muslim. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shia_Islam)
    On the way from Baghdad his convoy of 4 trucks was stopped by a local Sunni Muslim with his group of gun holders. All the drivers were taken into a room and this 'general' comes in and looks around and says "What kind of Muslim are you?". All of them looked at each other and turned back to him silent. He pointed his pistol at the first guy in line and said again, "What kind of Muslim are you?" That driver, the man I'm talking to's friend, looked at him and said "Shia". The 'general' shot him in the face. He then turned to the rest of them and asked the next man, "What kind of Muslim are you?" The overall answer after that was, of course, 'Sunni'. They looked around and then the general and his men, left the room. After waiting, the driver and the remainder of the drivers looked outside. Their trucks were still there with the goods and no one else. They got into the trucks and left headed to us.

    I have links I could have included about the Moros, Islamic Rebels in the Philippines and note, there aren't many Catholics living down there in the PI because they've 'converted' but the only time I met them was as a tourist in non-Moro parts of the PI.

    I told you all that to tell you this. There's wonderful people out there. But that is not everybody. The story about the Sunni and Shia illustrates that it isn't even about Christianity. It's about hateful deadly people who will kill anyone that doesn't do some thing or another their way. Those of us who have been out among them know what they are like first hand and want to be able to be away from them. Period. Nothing you or any of your welcoming committee can do will change them. It does make all of us who know them unable to sleep soundly.

    Perhaps you should do what you exhort others to do. "...Get out in the world. Find out what real people who do not share your religion, heritage, education level, or anything that you hold dear to your heart are really like. ..."

    I, and many like me, have been there and make our decisions accordingly.
    davislane1 likes this.
  19. Darren delaMare

    Darren delaMare TS Rookie

    Just another reason for everyone outside the US to avoid the US and let all of this nonsense start to work its way inwards on US citizens themselves.

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