President Trump’s controversial executive order banning immigrants and refugees from seven majority-Muslim nations triggered protests around the country this weekend. However, largely lost in the chaos it caused is a part of the order that asks foreigners to hand over access to their Facebook and Twitter profiles when they come to the U.S.
Though it has yet to be fully implemented, the Trump administration is allegedly considering a proposal that would require all foreign visitors to provide this log-in information and web activity to customs officials, or risk being denied entry to the country. Customs agents have far-reaching power, and are even able to copy data off of confiscated devices, but experts say that American citizens do not need to comply with requests like these.
“My advice to everyone is that, if you’re an American citizen, you need to remember that you must be allowed entrance to the country,” said Hassan Shibly of the Center for American-Islamic Relations. “Absolutely don’t unlock the phone, don’t provide social media accounts, and don’t answer questions about your political or religious beliefs. It’s not helpful and it’s not legal.”
These are certainly interesting times in the United States, but it’s always important to remember your rights — both in real life and online.