International visitors and students social media use to be screened
International students and just about everyone else seeking a visa to visit, study or work in the U.S. will have to ante up all of their social media usernames, email addresses and phone numbers from the last five years.
The New York Times quoted the State Department as saying the new requirements are part of ongoing efforts to screen international visitors and enhance domestic security.
Critics argue the requirements represent a vast enlargement of government surveillance given that such information could provide access to a vast trove of personal information — everything from travel and political beliefs to friendships and family connections.
In the past, officials sought such information only from individuals flagged for additional scrutiny.
The new requirements apply to about 15 million international visitors a year including about 1.1 million international students studying at schools and colleges across the country, including thousands in the Pittsburgh area alone.
Deb Erdley is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Deb at 724-850-1209, [email protected] or via Twitter .