The State department has developed a proposal that it will collect social media identity spanning a period of five years as part of information gathering for everyone seeking a visa for entry into the US.
The proposal would require both immigrant and non-immigrant visa to list on a federal application form all of the social identities used in last five years. It must be approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
The information will be used in vetting and identification. It will affect about 14.7 million people annually.
Previously in May 2017, consular officials were instructed to collect social media identifiers only when they determine ‘that such information is required to confirm identity or conduct more rigorous national security vetting,” a State Department Official said at the time.
The State Department had said that the tighter vetting would apply only to those “who have been determined to warrant additional scrutiny in connection with terrorism or other national security-related visa ineligibilities.”
The new proposal was published in the Federal Register on Friday.
The public are given a sixty-day deadline to comment on the recent rules before the OMB decides to approve or reject them.
The proposal supports Prez Donald Trump’s promise to start “extreme vetting’ of foreigners entering the US to prevent terrorism.
If approved, the proposal will require applicant’s email addresses, telephone numbers, and their international travel history.
They will also be asked if they have been deported or removed from any country and whether family members have been involved in terrorist activities, the department said.
However, the department has added that it intends not to routinely ask most diplomatic and official visa applicants for the additional information.