U.S. Government Wants to Expand Social Media Surveillance

U.S. Customs and Border Protection wants to add an “optional” field asking people to list their social media accounts to its mandatory border-crossing forms. Thousands of you have already told the agency you think that’s a bad idea. Unfortunately, its proposal just got even worse. Customs and Border Protection has extended the comment window on the proposal, hoping to bolster its case and drown out our voices. But we will not be ignored.

Act now to tell the U.S. government to respect our rights and retract its proposal to collect social media accounts at the border.

We’ve seen the revised form (PDF download), and the “Social Media Identifier” field isn’t even marked as optional  — making it mandatory for travelers entering the United States to list their social media accounts.

This kind of broad-strokes data collection violates fundamental privacy rights and hinders freedom of expression — and there's no proof it would do anything to improve security. Instead, it sets a terrible example for other countries around the world that follow U.S. travel security standards.

To make matters worse, Customs and Border Protection is also pushing a separate proposal dramatically expanding its ability to store and share the social media data it would collect. Under the new system, travelers’ social media records could be shared with law enforcement and other government agencies both in bulk and on a case-by-case basis.

This kind of surveillance makes users at risk – communities of color, religious groups, the LGBTQI community, and others in marginalized groups who depend on the internet to connect with one another – even more vulnerable. It’s especially harmful to individuals living under repressive regimes where people who identify as part of an oppressed group and express themselves online could be subject to harsh penalties — including arrest or death.

Take action now to stop the U.S. government’s expansion of social media surveillance.

Send A Letter


Personalize your message.Feel free to edit the text below. Clicking submit will send your customized comment to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, including your name (if provided above) in the signature block.

OMB Desk Officer for Cusoms and Border Protection,
Department of Homeland Security