Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly told Congress this week that the Department of Homeland Security is exploring the
possibility of asking visa applicants not only for an accounting of what they do online, but for full access to their online accounts. In a hearing in the House of Representatives, Kelly said:
We want to say for instance, What sites do you visit? And give us your passwords. So that we can see what they do on the internet. And this might be a week, might be a month. They may wait some time for us to vet. If they don't want to give us
that information then they don't come. We may look at their204we want to get on their social media with passwords. What do you do? What do you say? If they don't want to cooperate, then they don't come in.
TechCrunch' s Devin Coldewey pointed out, asking people to surrender passwords would raise "obvious" privacy and security problems. But beyond privacy and security, the proposed probing of online accounts204including social media and
other communications platforms204would, if implemented, be a major threat to free expression.