Handing Over Passwords at the Airport Is Pointless

Thomas Wellburn
April 5, 2017

Today, Donald Trump’s administration announced they are considering the extreme measure of demanding passwords for social media accounts before entering the USA.

This could apply for anyone wanting a VISA to enter the country and would not be limited to ‘high risk’ countries. This means that key allies would be effected, including UK citizens such as myself. It’s a form of extreme vetting that the administration hinted on last year during their campaign. While I understand the need to protect the United States from potential terror threats, the idea does have some rather obvious loopholes.

Scenario 1: U.S Customs want your passwords as a precautionary measure.

This gives them full access to all my private data and messaging… For about 2 minutes until I go through the metal detector and change them all.

Scenario 2: U.S Customs confiscates your mobile device at the airport (and you get it back).

U.S customs already has the ability to confiscate your device before entering the country. Along with your social media accounts, this would give them access to all your personal data right? Or would it? Has Donald Trump considered that it’s actually very easy to deactivate your social media accounts and delete all incriminating evidence from your device, then plead ignorance and just say you don’t like using social media?

Scenario 3: U.S Customs confiscates your mobile device at the airport (and they keep it).

They stole my phone! Oh no, whatever would a potential terrorist do? Keep their key contacts on a notepad hidden in the hold and buy a new device while they’re in the USA? Surely not.

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