For people with bad memories and poor record-keeping habits, applying for a US visa just got worse. Starting from this month, all persons intending to travel to the US must submit social media profiles worth up to five years along with their visa application. This move was first proposed last year as part of the government's policy to make visitors go through an extreme vetting process. Applicants will also be expected to present email address and phone numbers older than five years. This procedure, before now was only applicable to people who had been flagged for further vetting but will now, because of the new rule, affect up to 15 million US visa applicants yearly. It is common knowledge that US visa application procedures are stringent and that sometimes applicants are required to submit information about their families, work and travel history, evidence of a strong financial standing, years of addresses used, etc. By adding social media activities to the requirements, applicants are only going to get more anxious about their applications as they get won't be sure about how their online activities will be interpreted. Last year, when the rule was first proposed, the American Civil Liberties Union, a nonprofit, contested it, calling it an ineffective and deeply problematic requirement. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has long been in the practice of using social media to screen Americans and imminent as well. In 2015, it began to widen the use of this tool in pilot programs. This was inspired by the San Bernardino, CA terrorist attack where those behind it were said to have discussed their plans online. 14 people died in the attack.
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