Visitors to the USA from the UK and nationals from other countries visiting the US, could as part of the Trump America First strategy, in future be forced to reveal mobile phone contacts, social media passwords and financial data under an “extreme vetting” code practices being actively considered by the Trump administration, and introduced by way of a Presidential Executive Order, the news was leaked by the Wall Street Journal.
Travellers wishing to enter the US could also face detailed and lengthy questioning over their ideology, with US Entry officials probing the mindset of intending vacation bound visitors.
President Trump throughout his election campaign made the “extreme vetting” of foreign nationals to combat terrorism a major issue. But his executive order imposing a travel ban as reported by the Guardian newspaper on several Muslim-majority countries has twice been blocked in court.
Speaking on Virgin Radio in the UK, Julian Bray Aviation expert said: "Latest Industry reports suggest the uncertainty of the various travel restrictions introduced by the Trump administration has already financially hurt the tourism industry, many thousands of intending visitors from the UK alone are now cancelling USA trips to Florida as they realise the difficulties and expense of obtaining new style visas and arranging a physical face to face interview for each individual family member at a designated US Embassy and additionally at a defined future date and time."
Gene Hamilton, senior counsellor to homeland security secretary John Kelly, told the Wall Street Journal: "If there is any doubt about a person’s intentions coming to the United States, they should have to overcome – really and truly prove to our satisfaction – that they are coming for legitimate reasons."
The changes might also include visitors from the 38 countries (including UK, France, Australia and Japan) participating in the visa waiver programme, which now requires conformity with strict US standards in data sharing, passport control and several other factors.
This could require individuals to hand over their phones, so officials can study stored contacts and view other information. The aim, they say is to “figure out who you are communicating with; what you can get on the average person’s phone can be invaluable.”
Kelly told a House homeland security committee hearing in February: “We want to say for instance, ‘What sites do you visit? And give us your passwords,’ so that we can see what they do on the internet. If they don’t want to give us that information then they don’t come into our country.”
JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations Analyst/expert, www.freelancedirectory.org?name=Julian.Bray.aviation.comment Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industry, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476 www.aviationcomment.com