Are you fairly active on social media and interested in getting a visa to your dream destination? Well, congratulations! You have just made the work of the visa authorities of the different overseas hotspots a lot easier now. All they have to do to figure if you are the right person to be allowed entry is checked your profile and history at Twitter or Facebook or whichever social media sites you could be using, and easily find out if your so-called spouse is really your spouse, or if you are in touch with some separatists and planning something BIG but BAD.
Yeah, it is true! As per a white paper report, the immigration and border security officials across numerous famed overseas hotspots are following you on the social media and checking your online profiles.
As per the report, such a move helps throw up discrepancies in the details presented to the immigration authorities, links to the extremist groups (in case any), and even online posts that may be regarded hate speech under the host nation’s rules and regulations.
Apart from this, the authorities in some nations, like the US for example, now enjoy the power to search your electronic devices – whether it is your cell phone or laptop. Reportedly, in fiscal 2017, the US officials carried out 30200 searches of the electronic gadgets, in the process, registering a jump of 58% over the preceding year. When one compares it with fiscal 2015, he gets to know that then there were just 8500 such cases of searches of the electronic gadgets.
The said trend of augmented searches continues unabated. Till March 31 this year, which in the US creates the initial six months of fiscal 2018, close-to 15000 searches were carried out. Though the figure is not BIG, the people entering or leaving the US should not be really surprised in case they are asked to open their mobile phones or any different device at the borders.
A primary search of the electronic gadget may be carried out even without any hint of criminal behavior. An advanced search–which involves seizing the instrument and sending it across to the forensic lab–is carried out when officers have a sound suspicion of criminal infringements or fears of national safety & security.
As per the white paper on which this report is based, the different firms must have certain policies in place to better equip their workers to manage such tricky situations.
Under the present US law, warrantless border searches are only permitted for the information saved on the device itself. The border officials lack the authority to search data saved on the cloud through a visitor’s mobile device. So, tourists may take certain precautions, such as limiting the figure of the devices they bring, or shifting data on to the cloud, and erasing sensitive information before they move.
Apart from physical searches of the different digital devices, numerous nations such as Singapore, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, and the US are also busy tracking social media footprints.
The Canadian consular officials evaluating the petitions filed for Permanent Residency (PR) may take notice of any information that is publically obtainable and the candidates have received refusal letters, thanks to the irregularities that may have been found.
Under the code of procedural fairness, in case the concerned officer stumbles across something disapproving online, such as applicant’s social media account showing many photos with other than the partner mentioned in the petition, he may ask for an interview, giving the aspirant an opportunity to elucidate.
Workers submitting an application for visas, work permits, or residency should not be surprised if details are gathered form their social media platforms and used to reject their petitions.
Examination of social media footprint is expected to become harder even as the US could be the first country on this score. As reported earlier, the US State Department offered a broader plan to ask nearly every visa candidate for social media identifiers utilized by them over the preceding 5 years (though the plan does not comprise requesting for passwords).