US Border Agents Are Inspecting Immigrants’ Facebook Activity, Says Immigration Lawyer

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Eric Lieberman Managing Editor
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U.S. border agents were reviewing the Facebook accounts of people trying to enter the country over the weekend, according to an immigration lawyer.

Several people were held in limbo at airports across the country after President Donald Trump signed executive orders banning immigration from several countries.

“I am establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorist out of the United States of America,” Trump said during the signing of the executive order, according to CNN.

But it appears that the practice of social media inspection for foreigners arriving in America is not completely new.

The Obama administration started to request last month that certain foreign visitors to the country give up their Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts for official inspection. (RELATED: FBI Signs Key Contract For Social Media Surveillance)

The media outlet, Politico, first reported the Obama administration’s policy proposal back in June, including the backlash from tech companies and civil liberties groups.

“There are very few rules about how that information is being collected, maintained [and] disseminated to other agencies, and there are no guidelines about limiting the government’s use of that information,” Michael W. Macleod-Ball, chief of staff for the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington office, told Politico.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a prominent digital rights group, clarifies that police are legally able to search computerized devices without a warrant.

“Fourth Amendment protection is not as strong at the border as it is in your home or office,” the EFF writes on their information page “Know Your Rights.”

“This means that law enforcement can inspect your computer or electronic equipment, even if they have no reason to suspect there is anything illegal on it,” the EFF continued while citing U.S. court cases, and adding that international airports are officially considered borders, no matter how far away from the actual border.

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