US will follow the immigrants in social networks

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plans to expand its data collection system on immigrants , including naturalized citizens. Now the dossier for each person will be updated with information about his search queries and data from social networks. The corresponding document was submitted on September 18, 2017 to the federal registry system by the employees of the Office of Privacy Affairs of the Ministry of Internal Security. After a 30-day discussion period, the document will enter into force on October 18.

There are a lot of immigrants from Russia and the CIS countries in America, so the new rules of surveillance by the US Department of Homeland Security concern them too. In every peaceful person, the American special services, if they wish, can discern a “sleeping agent” of foreign intelligence or a potential terrorist. And try to say something wrong on your Facebook page - and it will smell like kerosene. Now everything is under the hood.

The DHS plan states that the collection of information includes “social network descriptors, aliases, relevant identification information and search queries,” all of which will be included in the profile made up for the immigrant — the so-called “Alien File”, that is, ".

The rules also apply to naturalized US citizens and permanent residents. This immediately alerted human rights activists, because there is stricter legislation in place for spying on their own citizens in the US than on spying on foreigners.

Adam Schwartz, a lawyer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, expressed concern about the plans of the US government: “We view this as part of high-tech surveillance of immigrants, during which more and more people are screened on social networks,” he said. “The Ministry of Internal Security has a growing trend of spying on immigrants and foreigners in social networks, and we consider this an invasion of privacy and a violation of freedom of speech.”

Schwartz notes that surveillance will affect ordinary American citizens who communicate with immigrants. If the immigrant is under observation, and his page on the social network is viewed by agents, then they can read private correspondence with other people who have not been formally supervised. The most annoying thing is that, realizing the constant presence of Big Brother, people will start resorting to self-censorship, they will be afraid to speak on some delicate themes, just in case use allegorical speech (to speak instead of the person’s last name, etc.) All this transforms society, it penetrates the atmosphere of fear and gets used to live in it, and in the end it negatively affects all spheres of public life. People are afraid that any word can be used against them, many prefer to keep quiet at all and not say anything.

Faiza Patel, co-director of the Frenal and National Security Freedom and National Security Program at the New York University, says that this policy began under Obama, it is fueled by the idea of ​​the authorities that spying on social networks will help avoid potentially dangerous personalities and prevent an attack on the country. Faiza Patel doubts that snooping on social networks can really be useful: “In social media, it’s very difficult to say what a person is going or not going to do,” she explains. - If you look at all the various ways we use communication tools, then social networks are very different, they are very truncated. People use emoji, short forms, sometimes it's hard to understand what they mean. " In general, there is a rich field for abuse.

Another threat, according to Patel, is that the US authorities can use the new tracking system to identify citizens whose political views differ from those officially approved, both in the country and abroad. For example, if you have repeatedly expressed your disapproval of US policy, the official, having studied the profile, may simply not give you a visa. Right from the airport you can be sent back to your homeland. So far it is difficult to imagine, but theoretically it is possible if the system of total surveillance via social networks comes into effect.

Human rights activists say that the authorities can be guided by protection from terrorist attacks and incidents that occurred in the past. This is another example of how measures are taken to protect against threats from the past, and such actions may entail serious negative effects in the future.


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