Social Evidence

Department of Homeland Security, Immigrants, Social Media and Other Things that go Bump in the Night

POSTED ON October 5, 2017

By Andy Adkins – It was recently reported (see below) beginning October 18 (the same day President Trump’s new travel ban begins), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would begin collecting social media data from all immigrants entering the U.S., part of what DHS officials call “an effort to more effectively screen those coming to the country.”

US Immagration Social Media2Further, green card holders AND naturalized citizens will also have their social media collected, with the data becoming part of their immigration file. It is not clear whether this monitoring will take place only in the application process or if it continues going forward. Hmm – I wonder…

DHS published this new requirement in the Federal Register, stating that it would collect “social media handles, aliases, associated ID information and search results [whatever that means].” It also stated that the data would come from “publically available information obtained from the Internet, public records, public institutions, interviewees, and commercial data providers.” Hmm – sounds like it’s from everywhere.

I won’t go into the “big brother” aspect of this – privacy advocates have already sliced and diced this, but here’s a few questions to ponder:

·         How many of you have more than one email account? Do you use one for “real” email correspondence and another for registering online for other things (events, purchases, notifications, white papers, etc.). You use the second email because you know that you get plenty of junk emails.

·         What would keep immigrants from creating a second Facebook or Instagram or any other social media account? Then, they’d only need to provide DHS with their second social media account.

·         And why would an immigrant let the border patrol know that s/he actually does have a social media account? Couldn’t s/he just say “I don’t use social media.”

Interesting questions!! What are your thoughts? Please post in the comments field below.

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Andy Adkins - CIO - Social Evidence

Andy Adkins –
CIO – Social Evidence

Andy Adkins is the Chief Information Officer of Social Evidence, LLC, a leading cloud-based social media collection, organization, authentication, and analytics application. He has been an independent legal technology consultant for more than 25 years, a past chair of the ABA TECHSHOW (2000, 2001) and past co-chair of LegalTech Conferences (2000-2007). He is the author of “The Lawyer’s Guide to Practice Management Systems” published in April 2009 by the ABA Law Practice Management Section. He can be reached at 352.538.5346,, or

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