Travellers to US may be forced to hand over their web data

Social media handles, contacts and browsing history could all be required to enter the US

Airport arrival area

Foreign nationals travelling to the US could be forced to hand over details of their social media accounts, web browsing history and the contacts from their phone, according to reports.

Trump administration officials are in preliminary discussions to impose the policy, according to CNN. Citing anonymous sources, the news organisation said foreign visitors could be denied entry if they refused to comply, with social media posts in which the San Bernarding shooter, Tashfeen Malik, called for jihad given as one of the reasons for the proposal.

How such a policy would be enforced, however, is unclear, as is the context of the web browsing history in terms of timescale.

The move would not be unprecedented, with border officials reportedly asking travellers to voluntarily surrender social media information back in December.

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In response to the alleged proposal, Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group said: "The idea that people visiting a country need to hand over intimate personal information is simply excessive and insulting. Suddenly everyone from outside the USA is being treated as suspect. This is no way to win friends and influence."

"By failing to uphold democratic values, Trump is making our world less safe," he added, "the UK must not co-operate with these proposals."

The claims come at a time of heightened tensions regarding the United States' immigration policy, after president Donald Trump issued an executive order preventing nationals from seven countries - Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Iraq - from entering the US for 90 days and putting refugee applications from these same countries on hold for 120 days with the exception of Syrians wishing to claim refugee status, who are prevented from doing so in the US indefinitely.

The policy has caused outcry around the world, with the tech leaders such as Satya Nadella, Tim Cook and Sergey Brin saying it could harm businesses in Silicon Valley.

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