Will Visitors To America Be Required To Surrender Their Social Media Passwords?

Kristine Moore - Author

Feb. 28 2017, Updated 5:56 p.m. ET

There have been reports of visitors to America being required to give their phone and social media passwords to immigration officials, so will this be happening more now to travelers headed to the United States? Not long after President Donald Trump enacted his travel ban which targeted seven Muslim countries, a NASA engineer named Sidd Bikkannavar was returning to an airport in Houston after a trip to Chile and found himself detained by immigration officials.

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Bikkannavar, however, was born in the United States and had also planned on having expedited entry back into his home country by participating in Global Entry, a program which speeds up American citizens returning from abroad who have had background checks conducted in advance. But after this NASA engineer got off the plane, he was still asked by CPB agents to give them his phone and hand over his social media passwords so that they could run a further check on him.

Sidd Bikkannavar was not comfortable with giving immigration officials his phone, especially as it contained sensitive data from NASA on it, as Revolution News reported.

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“I was cautiously telling him I wasn’t allowed to give it out, because I didn’t want to seem like I was not cooperating. I told him I’m not really allowed to give the passcode; I have to protect access. But he insisted they had the authority to search it.”

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