So you would just brand yourself as proven liar - and end up having an even higher risk of being rejected at the border.
You see where this is going. If you use social media, you will have to state the truth. And you know where that leads to.
Which are all captured by Prism and other mass surveillance programs (google "Edward Snowden").
Nobody escapes the NSA.
Which will simply be filtered out. Technology does not just evolve linearly.
These were the last words of the database admin before he went stark raving mad...
But seriously "filtering out" is a goddamnd hard problem, if the dimensionality of your problem space is high enough. You are talking about filtering out sockpuppets like if they have a tcp-flag on it. Even the best trained Neural Network can only work as good as the input-training parameters, and classifying large texts in natural language is still one of hardest problems (even for humans).
Yes there are, eventually you need to make a decision about whether to let this person into the country
Data (even encrypted data) is being collected and stored today. It is decrypted/made sense of whenever technology has reached the required maturity. At that moment, we become 100% open books. And you may feel that at the border (or elsewhere).
I thought they had info about the boston bomber, 9/11 hijackers, and san bernadino shooter, but didn't act on it because it was lost in the noise?
"I noticed you didn't fill out the question regarding online identity. Do you have an online identity?"
Sure, you can (and should) tell the agent that's all personal information, but that may also lead to further hassles and delays.
Therein lies a problem, just what is a social media account?
Is it Facebook and Twitter? Or does it extend to networks like LinkedIn? Or forums like Hacker News?
Do you have a Facebook account, if you believe that it has been deleted but you also suspect that technically Facebook never deletes?
Is using a dating site a social media account given that you can converse on it, swap images, etc? No? Define how Tinder or Grindr differs from Snapchat or Yik Yak... and how you'd justify the difference to US Customs.
Basically... it looks to me like either:
1. You refuse to answer and that is a red flag.
2. You lie and that is a reason to refuse entry.
3. You offer up the bare minimum and it can be construed as some combination of 1. and 2.
4. You offer up everything, and you have totally given up far more than what is revealed by just having a Facebook or Twitter account.
The question, whilst appearing simple and clear, is incredibly vague and a minefield for anyone trying to answer it.
I'm reminded of the quote from the film War Games, "The only way to win is not to play.". If travelling to the USA is part of your life, perhaps it's time to close social media accounts and just call the people you want to talk to.
And the punchline? Making "materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representations" to federal officials to questions like these can (per 18 U.S.C. § 1001) -- and the way things are going in this country, soon enough most likely will be used obtain felony convictions plus jail time against those so audaciously naive as to believe... this sort thing could never happen here:
Making false statements (18 U.S.C. § 1001) is the common name for the United States federal crime laid out in Section 1001 of Title 18 of the United States Code, which generally prohibits knowingly and willfully making false or fraudulent statements, or concealing information, in "any matter within the jurisdiction" of the federal government of the United States, even by mere denial. A number of notable people have been convicted under the section, including Martha Stewart, Rod Blagojevich, Scooter Libby, Bernard Madoff, and Jeffrey Skilling.
Airtight logic there.
More seriously, it's also the only form of civil disobedience I can think of so far that has any shot at ending this farce; if more of us opted out more of the time, the system would become unworkable, and it would have to change.
You're saying it's workable now? While you and I are standing over there waiting for our groping, feeling smug about how we're sticking it to the man with our civil disobedience, the lines continue to back further and further out because they cut the number of agents. We're not sticking it to the man when the man himself is over there with a much bigger stick than we'll ever carry.
I still opt out, though.
If you get an interviewed by the thugs at the border it will definitely be non-optional for all intents and purposes.
The whole thing is messed up either way. They'll no doubt just start asking you to log into your social media accounts so they can go through your personal shit, I've had US border agents go through my phone and ask me idiotic questions about the photos on it (all family vacation photos).
Entering the US or UK is a pretty terrible experience all around. They're rude for no reason (and it has nothing to do with their job), overly invasion, and their entire justification is based on their own gut rather than fact (inc. ten year bans).
PS - I have never been rejected at any border. Just been hassled a few times.
"Are you a terrorist or affiliate with a terrorist organization?" "Are you a secret spy"
Why would anyone say yes? What's the purpose of this. Do they just need it to avoid arguments like "we dont even ask?"
A friend of mine explained it to me:
- let's say that they have the suspicion or evidence that you are affiliated w/ a terrorist organization. by US law they would need to prove this in front of a court before they could act on it. OR they could simply show that you lied at entry and use that to expel you from the country. Simple. Done.
I am unsure what the deeper goal behind the social media accounts is but i assume it also connects to a similar strong arm argument like that.
This must have made the USA so much safer.
"Are you a terrorist?" -> "No, but I'm a soldier for The Cause..."
This question would likely weed out any wanna-be small time people intent on causing harm to the US. Something similar to how many criminals in the US are arrested due to routine traffic stops.
If asking this "stupid" question prevents 1 single undesirable person from entering the US, then it's served it's purpose.
However, I think this question (and a lot of the crappy things about the US) exist to deal with and automate problems at scale. Scaling is hard. Scaling solutions are overkill if you don't have a scaling problem.
In this case, the problem is strong due process protections and allocating court resources. You might not hold a person without involving the courts if you suspect them of terrorist ties, but you can if they lie on a form or tell you they're a terrorist.
I don't know the specifics, but one could imagine a concession of due process if, say, the person held for their answer on the entry card is guaranteed to appear before a judge within three days.
Automate the process and you get silly situations like the one above. Don't automate the process and somebody eventually screws up and denies due process or lets a suspected terrorist through without scrutiny.
And again, yeah, the entry questions could be handled better, but it's a serious juggling act scaling it up and fitting it into our legal framework.
Quaking in fear in front of authority figures might be the norm in the USA, but it is not the norm everywhere.
Imagine how many non-resident/non-citizens enter the US daily. Now imagine if everyone of them were allowed to jokingly answer these questions. It would make doing their job that much harder.
It's much easier to treat all declarations as serious, rather than try to weed out the jokes. And because of the nature involved investigating, anyone who willing makes false statements are punished.
Best to learn not to argue with people with guns at the border.
(Somewhat tongue-in-cheek here but I actually do think this is the purpose of aggressive border authorities. As someone who traveled around old, pre-EU, pre-Schengen Europe, you used to see it quite a bit there as well. Hard to say if it was intentional or just the product of different training, though.)
But the reality is that this is no different than arson-lore (where firefighters testify based on superstitions regarding burn patterns) or leech-lore (where doctors recommend based on superstitions regarding your humoral balance) or polygraph-lore (where law enforcement interprets the squiggles of your heart to decide when you are lying).
All non-scientifically validated "lore" is just a superstition, and should be treated as such. The reality is that DHS is unable to stop terrorist attacks. Full stop. They can't possibly, in a free society.
That's ok, because that's one cost that a free society pays, but the benefits are worth it, so we carry on.
The problem is that DHS believes their own superstitions, has defined their actions to be "good" because "we're the good guys", and thinks that the public thinks they are responsible for preventing all terrorism.
This only stops when either the public demands change, or at totalitarianism. And you can't really tell, in full, when the first option disappears. You realize after you grasp for it and come up with wisps of smoke.
Maybe I'm actually just uncomfortable being grilled by my own paranoid countrymen without my guaranteed Constitutional protections as though I'm some sort of enemy of the state when really I just got back from Cozumel.
Just be respectfull as much as you can even though you just flew multiple hours and it's 1am and all you want is a clean shower and a fine meal just because Argentina lost another final... ahh sorry bad memories
In the old days they were lazy and handed out Visa Waiver forms to everyone on the plane. Perhaps they've stopped doing that. The Visa Waiver form is the famous "are you a terrorist?" Q+A forum. You don't have to fill that out if you're a citizen because entering the USA as a citizen never requires a visa. Theoretically if you have a visa (are a citizen of a non-visa waiver country) someone already signed for you and investigated such that you're not a terrorist and filling out a visa waiver would be pretty pointless if you require and have a visa.
Immigration officials seem to delight in pulling peoples chains, and you have nothing more interesting to do while waiting in line, so local variation and variation over time is highly likely.
The agents are usually polite and friendly. But they aren't always, and that can be intimidating and infuriating if you're a US citizen who's simply returning home from a trip.
> 'Sir, when was the last time you broke the law?'
> 'Can you describe in some detail where did you spend your last paycheck?'
> 'Sir, step away from the queue. I want to ask you about this picture you took where you happen to be in front of a bank'
> 'Sir, are you innocent?'
The list of things one has to agree to in order to live in peace is getting longer and longer.
Because it can be interpreted as accusing you of being a terrorist, which is very offensive.
For better or worse the definition is being expanded such that we're all going to be classified as terrorists soon enough. Terrorists have fewer rights than the average citizen, so its inevitable.
Am I a terrorist? Well, yes, yes I am. My wife donated some money to our local mainline Catholic church and they've participated in some anti-abortion activities and some define that as financial support of terrorism. I was in the US military and I never did anything personally, but the army certainly has participated in acts that are terrorist from the point of view of other countries. Some of the worst terrorist acts happened before I was even alive, but I bet PLA members and Hezbollah members don't get a free pass for the same reason. Why the org I voluntarily joined, genocided the Native Americans just a century or so ago, and per the SS standard that makes me not just a terrorist but an unrepentant war criminal. I voted for Trump and campaigning for him is considered a hate crime on college campuses. I'm into electronics and computers and theoretically I could make a radio jammer or write a computer virus, although I'm not into that personally it doesn't sound too hard and a I certainly have the skills and gear necessary.
So in summary we've donated money from the shared checking account to financially support terrorist acts, I willfully joined an active terrorist organization in my youth (although I do have an honorable discharge, so there's that in my favor), I willfully and knowingly have terrorist / hate crime sympathies, and I have proven terrorism related interests and skills and abilities. So yeah, I am a terrorist. Many of you are too. I have to lie on my immigration forms and claim I'm not a terrorist, very annoying having to do that.
A lot of words function like this. E.g., "believer".
When a christian asks me if I'm a believer I might say yes.
But then I'd probably say no if a wiccan asked me the same question.
Obviously, that doesn't mean that everyone (or no one) is a believer once you fix some additional context.
So in summary, according to the sense in which the USFG is using the term, you're simply not a terrorist.
Everything else about your post is just a slippery slope argument, which may or may not be valid, but certainly isn't well-substantiated.
Terms of art will always borrow and re-define colloquial language. Do programmers aspire to 1984 because they re-appropriate the word functional?
Defining an explicit list of "terrorist organization"s may or may not seek to redefine the term terrorist, but it is not tantamount to willful restatement of established historical fact (a la "always been at war").
No one would seriously would assert that the term-of-art definition of terrorist == the dictionary denotation of terrorist. That is the meaningful line in the sand between mere rhetorical ploy and outright democratic totalitarianism.
Actually country of origin and maybe skin color / attire.
That's the function of pseudo-science bullshit -- you can ignore civil liberties and pretend you're not.
You must have never been wrongly accused of anything.
The way I see it, it's not going to make the guilty people stumble, but it will lead to false positives. In the long run, I think asking such a question does more harm than good.
The closest thing that I can think of is if you were a member of a political party that had associations with a terrorist group (or that had been labelled as terrorists). So for example Sinn Fein in Ireland where they had links to the IRA.
But I believe the main reason is so that when they catch somebody and prosecute them for terrorism, they can add "making false statements" to the charges and get even more prison time.
Unless of course snapchat is storing every message. In which case they'd have gigs of my silly selfies.
It would be fair to assume the US would be open to such means to improve security.
No need to reach so far. New York just made it illegal to advocate boycotting Israel.
> WHEREAS, the State of New York will not permit its own investment activity to further the BDS campaign in any way, shape or form, whether directly or indirectly;
Is there more to it than what the article mentions?
> The 26-year-old bar manager wrote a message to a friend on the micro-blogging service, saying: "Free this week, for quick gossip/prep before I go and destroy America."
> Mr Bryan told the newspaper that he was questioned for five hours about his Twitter messages.
"All" that happened to him was that he wasn't allowed in.
more so when "destroy" can have all kinds of completely innocent meanings.
it's bad judgment, but not something for which a five hour delay plus rejection seems appropriate. how much did we pay for that interrogation, in border security salary?
In result it will drive normal discussion underground, and we will see more surprises such as Brexit referendum results.
Arabic is a language and speaking it is absolutely no guarantee that you are a muslim. Lots of non-muslims speak Arabic both inside and outside Israel, including a significant number of Israeli Jews who routinely engage in good mannered and friendly commerce and friendship with fellow Israeli citizens who are Muslim or Druze or Bedouin. Being bi-lingual Arabic & Hebrew is quite common in Israel. I visited a school in Tel Aviv where Muslim and Jewish children were taught together in Arabic and Hebrew; they were all fluently bi-lingual and completely integrated. They are part of a long term plan for the future Israel by removing barriers and segregation and building an integrated country together.
Having visited Israel multiple times, I know for a fact that speaking Arabic does not get you refused entry nor does it single you out for prejudiced treatment.
However, a track record of making anti-Israel statements - not the language you speak nor your religion - will get you questioned and may lead to refused entry. Most people refused entry this way are not Muslim, they are white westerners from left-leaning Christian or secular groups who are active in BDS. That's exactly the same as a track record of making anti-America statements will get you questioned at US borders and quite probably refused entry (see other comments in this thread for examples of that). Israel are doing nothing different from what America or Canada or the UK or Turkey or Saudi Arabia or any other country does.
I see what you did there. You're suggesting a moral high ground by insinuating you are against prejudice but are really being prejudiced against Israel for doing something that every country does. I just don't know if its through ignorance or if it's an intentional slur.
Do they not see the irony, in a nation of people that used to got the short end of discrimination and thought policing, now doing it themselves?
But that still doesn't justify that kind of surveillance. And if one claims that a piece of land belongs to them and refuses to let it go independent, but also refuses to recognize the people living there as citizen, then one has to expect an uprising.
Terror attacks are a barbaric way for the palestinians to protest, but protest itself is justified.
Edit: before I get downvoted into oblivion, and I'm sure I might, I'd like to add that reality is almost always uglier than anyone - especially me - would like it to be.
The social media check cannot be automated.
Border police at other countries also check online to follow up on the stories of a people who they stop as potentially not admissible.
But it will be.
> 3.15 Don't use data obtained from Facebook to make decisions about eligibility, including whether to approve or reject an application or how much interest to charge on a loan.
(EDIT: I know this is the Platform Policy, and not the general TOS.)
Now, let's all agree to not tell them we can have more than one account!
Or to be slightly more specific, I'll give them the facebook account where I dutifully like all the boring funny dog videos and ugly baby photos of relatives, and I'll keep my seditious rabble rousing anti-establishment twitter ac to myself.
no better reason to delete your facebook account than this right here, folks.
"It says here you've been affiliated with a "Counter-Strike: Global Offensive" where you were a terrorist.."
It doesn't directly concern me (after Snowden's revelations and the fact that even more surveillance is being pushed down our throats, I have decided not to return to the US anymore), but we know that all the big (US) web/tech companies are part of Prism, which means the Customs will have some sort of access to our social media activity anyway (if not now already, then soon).
1. Unless you are taking extraordinary measures to sever all connections between yourself and your online presence, odds are there are enough links for any Government to tie a person to an account. Given how much is collected at the border already along with the big-data collected passively by the various TLA Government Orgs, they simply need to pop in your Passport ID or Drivers License or State ID and they'll have the relevant data; this collection seems more or less like a convenience to the government if anything. Same goes for foreigners, given the reaches of the various NSA programs; just pop in any number from some database and you'll likely get a match.
2. You have no obligation to use social media, and I don't think the government is going to mandate its use (I mean, I wouldn't put it past certain politicians, but yeah). Setting up a sanitized account honestly would draw more suspicion than anything, especially if it was on the heels of an announcement or proclamation that they're suddenly requiring or requesting such information. Regular social media users have fairly regular patterns, and barring some real dedication to the sanitized account, it'd be pretty easy for TLAs to figure out if it's a front or not. Not that it would immediately warrant investigation, it's just it feels like theatre more than a practical protection.
If I wanted to get real conspiracy theorist on this, this motion is just a front that allows the government to segue into actually including this stuff as part of standard background checks, which they likely are already doing with questionable legality. That is, the inclusion of the field is just formalizing what they're already doing, so that the articles that inevitably would arise have less "oomph" behind their reaction. It's not as shocking to the public if the government is surveilling social media when the government outright asks for your info. There's no real smoking gun, just a bunch of guys in suits going "yeah, we asked you for it."
This is a symptom of the constant disrespect for privacy within the US government, not some new issue that's arisen. The same thinking that leads to the NSA led to this, and it's honestly not too unusual that they are asking for it. If anything, my initial reaction was less "How dare they!" and more "was wondering when you'd get to this point."
I worry that Facebook and its ilk will be a lot more effective than IBM's punchcard system for locating, identifying, and classifying their society's undesirables.
Yes, consider what's happening in Turkey . A newly minted dictatorial regime could even mine your old posts for evidence against you. The only thing stopping this kind of thing in North America is the checks and balances that are slowly being undermined in the name of security.
excess trust in authority figures also runs deep in the greatest generation
Here's what worries me: let's say they set up some kind of scoring system. If you don't use social media, there's no info on you there so your score is 0. If you have an account with anti-government propaganda, that lowers your score obviously.
Now at some point, anyone with a score less than strictly positive will be subject to extra background screening / denied entry. You still have no obligation to use a social media account in a way that nets you a positive score, but they have no obligation to let you in either.
Someone, somewhere might have looked at China's "citizen score" system and thought it was a good idea. You have no obligation to support the Party on social media but it can be taken into account in job applications.
Computer Court 9: "Guilty. Take her down."
Convicted Blank: "I know my rights. I won't be judged by a machine!"
Dragul: "You don't have any rights. You're a Blank."
Convicted Blank: "Blank is beautiful!
Blank is beautiful!
Blank is beautiful!"
You're much more easily identifiable your mobile phone number, vehicle registration number, name, and social media account(s) added together.
Because that's probably what is already happening.
We've known about COTRAVELER for several years.
The basic idea of correlating arbitrary data (with timestamps) to estimate associations can easily be extended to other types of data. This is why almost any kind of data can potentially be "personally identifying". On it's own a random piece of analytics or "anonymized" data doesn't reveal much, but when you correlate many of those data points together you get a very nice fingerprint.
And that's just a a few SQL JOINs. I'm sure a lot more is possible with modern analysis techniques.
If someone has a distinct online presence - i.e. a journalist - they will be targeted.
If someone has twitter, facebook, etc. installed on their phone, they will be discovered for having lied.
Since gmail is tied to G+, if someone has gmail - they must have a social media account. Did that person use gmail as part of the visa application process - for example to get notification of the visa status?
Can the Border Patrol, http://www.skipease.com/search/pipl/ to tie that person to their social media accounts?
If you're a government official, you pretty much have to, at this point, turn this country into a giant Orwellian nightmare, or be crucified by the media for not "doing enough to protect our children" the next time a few people inevitably lose their lives.
Our oh-so-precious children who are already growing up in a weird world where they're not allowed to ride their bikes around the damn neighborhood since mommy is convinced everyone is a rapist.
And then we sit around and wonder why little Jimmy grows up to be an asocial psychopath with rage built up that nobody can explain.
So yeah, things aren't going to get any better when we, and our officials, are basically cowards and would rather destroy everything that makes life worth living in order to "protect" us.
The article seems to suggest that the proposal can be challenged but there is really nothing that the public can do, right?
Which also counts.
Sir, yes, sir! I was part of the invasion of Iraq in 2003, sir!
We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11984942 and marked it off-topic.
We try to do our job professionally and not moderate HN in favor of any specific politics. I can't claim we've overcome bias—most bias is unconscious, so that would be silly—but we work hard to mitigate it, and have probably gotten better with practice.
Pretty sure your factual claims here are way off base, so it's hard to take this comment as anything other than an expression of how strongly you hold your views. That tends to go along with expressing oneself uncivilly. That's natural, I've done it, I still do it; but it's something we're all asked to contain here.
Please don't post shrill ideological denunciations to HN. It's not what this site is for, there's no substantive argument that requires it, and one needn't be a militarist to know that.
I am trying to be charitable in my interpretation here, but twice now you have zeroed in specifically on the charge that US military activities constitute 'terrorism'. It really looks like your objection is to that postulate, and not to its relevance to the discussion or the politeness with which it's advanced. If that's really the case, then you have taken an unequivocally political position which you are willing to enforce through moderation.
I don't want to believe this is the case, as it would mean the end of my participation on HN. So I would like to know what moderating principle is being used here. So far all I have are the following pejorative terms: "deeply uncool", "political flamebait", "shrill ideological denunciations", and "ideological rants".
The moderating principle is that comments should be civil and substantive. Heated rhetoric is neither, so it lowers the signal/noise ratio at both ends.
I'd be delighted to use more neutral, more precise, less pejorative language than I currently do to express what's wrong about that sort of comment. But I'm at the limit of what I know how to say, especially ex tempore. If you can think of a better phrase than shrill, etc., I'd like to know what it is—of course it would require suspending your politics to think of a good one, which isn't always easy to do.
To maintain the credibility of HN and ycombinator, I suggest you review your censorship and control issues associated with your moderators. Thank you.
As I said, there's no defense of militarism in asking people not to post ideological rants here. If that weren't true, it would mean there is no civil way to state your view. That would be a rather strong refutation of said view.
Re my personal opinions: you're assuming that you know what they are and then getting angry at your assumption. That's a self-referential activity.
I know how tempting it is to conclude, when we moderate X on HN, that our politics must be anti-X. But even perfectly apolitical moderation, if it were possible, would generate the same reactions—more of them, actually, because there would be more Xs. So that feeling is not to be trusted. It's too easily explained by the simpler theory that none of us likes it when our own statements, or ones we agree with, get criticized.
In fact, I think Switzerland may be the only country in the world not considered to be terroristic, purely because of their lack of involvement in any major modern wars.
If you define terrorism as necessarily non-state, then you have to discard the state sponsored terrorism of Libya, ISIS (which is in fact now a state), Afghanistan, Nazi Germany, etc. I do not believe that discarding state sponsored terrorism as "not terrorist" by defining terrorism as not possible by states to be a useful definition, do you?
No. Absolutely no state in the world recognizes ISIS as a state. State is a circular definition by nature btw.