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World US Embassies/Customs To Track Facebook Feeds Of Foreign Visitors

The Department of Immigration &
Customs Enforcement is taking new
steps in its plans for monitoring the
social media accounts of applicants
and holders of US visas.
At a tech industry conference in
Arlington, Virginia, ICE officials
explained to software providers
what they are seeking: algorithms
that would assess potential threats
posed by visa holders in the United
States and conduct ongoing social
media surveillance of those deemed
high risk.
The comments provide the first
clear blueprint for ICE’s proposed
augmentation of its visa-vetting
The initial announcement of the
plans this summer, viewed as part
of President Donald Trump’s calls
for the “extreme vetting” of visitors
from Muslim countries, stoked a
public outcry from immigrants and
civil liberties advocates.
They argued that such a plan would
discriminate against Muslim visitors
and potentially place a huge
number of individuals under watch.
ICE officials subsequently changed
the program’s name to “Visa
Lifecycle Vetting.”
But, according to the ICE
presentation, the goal of the
initiative—enhanced monitoring of
visa holders using social media—
remains the same.
Speaking to a room of information-
technology contractors, hosted by
the Government Technology &
Services Coalition, Louis Rodi,
deputy assistant director of ICE
Homeland Security Investigations’
National Security Program, said the
agency needs a tool equipped with
“risk-based matrices” to predict
dangers posed by visa holders, with
the social media of those considered
a threat under continuous
surveillance throughout their stay
in the US.

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