DHS continues to collect social media information on all visitors and immigrants, and disclosing that information is becoming a prerequisite on visa applications. Consular officials, CBP, ICE, and USCIS have been collecting this information for the past several years, but there has been a new push for extremely broad data collection. However, immigration officials cannot request social media information that is private (not available for public viewing) without a warrant, unless the subscriber has consented to disclosure when signing up for the service. We advise all foreign nationals to review their Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms, especially before applying for a visa or traveling to the U.S. It is also important to make sure your social media posts do not contradict your stated intentions regarding travel and activities in the U.S. In short, be smart about what you post online because the U.S. government is paying attention.
Meanwhile, in September, ten U.S. citizens and one lawful permanent resident filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging, on First Amendment and Fourth Amendment grounds, searches and seizures of smartphones, laptops, and other electronic devices at the U.S. border (Alasaad v. Trump).