NO to DHS Social Media Password Requirement | Center for Democracy & Technology
This proposal would enable border officials to invade people’s privacy
by examining years of private emails, texts, and messages. It would
expose travelers and everyone in their social networks, including
potentially millions of U.S. citizens, to excessive, unjustified
scrutiny. And it would discourage people from using online services or
taking their devices with them while traveling, and would discourage
travel for business, tourism, and journalism.
Demands from U.S. border officials for passwords to social media
accounts will also set a precedent that may ultimately affect all
travelers around the world. This demand is likely to be mirrored by
foreign governments, which will demand passwords from U.S. citizens when
they seek entry to foreign countries. This would compromise U.S.
economic security, cybersecurity, and national security, as well as
damage the U.S.’s relationships with foreign governments and their
Policies to demand passwords as a condition of travel, as well as more
general efforts to force individuals to disclose their online activity,
including potentially years’ worth of private and public communications,
create an intense chilling effect on individuals. Freedom of expression
and press rights, access to information, rights of association, and
religious liberty are all put at risk by these policies.
The first rule of online security is simple: Do not share your
passwords. No government agency should undermine security, privacy, and
other rights with a blanket policy of demanding passwords from