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U.S. To Seek Social Media Details from All Visa Applicants (bloomberg.com)
585 points by aaronbrethorst on Mar 29, 2018 | hide | past | web | favorite | 392 comments



People I've spoken to seem more comfortable acting like this is part of the current administration's agenda, rather than an encroaching trend which has been gradually getting worse year upon year. For example this specific policy was added as an "optional" (not really) question on an entry form before the 2016 presidential elections (I know, I wrote a letter protesting it during public comment period).

My point is: Both Democrats and Republics have been complicit in allowing these kind of activities to continue. And the American public would sooner blame the other "side" in this political dog and pony show, than take responsibility for this being what America's fear based society has brought.

As an aside: These questions are almost impossible for some of us to answer completely. I own entire domains of email addresses and make them up on the fly, I've also thrown away dozens of "social media" accounts in the last five years for trivial reasons.

But the incomplete answers will be very useful when they want to arbitrarily withdraw someone's visa, in the same way that medical insurance used to have intentionally complex registration forms which they could comb through to look for ways to kick people off after they got sick. So people that hold a visa better not protest, write to their representatives, or otherwise stick out or they'll just yank the visa and say bye bye.

I'll write in again during this public comment period. But frankly public comment periods just seem like a way to placate the masses, both you and they know this is coming, nothing a public comment could say will change that.


These questions are almost impossible for some of us to answer completely. I own entire domains of email addresses and make them up on the fly, I've also thrown away dozens of "social media" accounts in the last five years for trivial reasons.

That's why this initiative in nonsensical. They'll never know whether the answers to these questions are complete and accurate. I'm pretty sure that later tonight, a new paragraph will go into the ISIS handbook saying "create a Facebook account in your real name that you can give to the authorities, that has nothing on it except for pro-American content". That would actually be good advice for all prospective travelers to the US. Lock down your real profile before your trip so that it can't be searched for, and maintain a separate, public, very vanilla profile that you can give to them. That's all it would take for most people to go through with no issues.


It doesn't matter that it's nonsensical in providing actual security; it's here to provide security theater and justify arbitrary punishments.


That's it. No one will scour every Facebook account, posts and so forth. Even Facebook can't do it (hence hiring folks for the very similar reviewing of posts). Instead, it's used as a future legal leverage, OR as a future check in case they need to look into you.

It's insidious, of course, and really makes me regret posting anything to Facebook at all.

Who knows if you're friends with someone who did someone naughty or who is suspect for some reason? Social media has turned into a nightmare.


Under the previous administration, there was a special policy for Iranian students made so that their visa date interview collide with the beginning of their semester and they would be under-enrolled at the critical date and lose their visa immediately. Some universities had to create special programs with different dates for those students. (now they are outright banned from applying for a visa)


Do you have a source for that? This claim sounds especially far-fetched given that the number of Iranian college students in the US more tripled over that time https://www.iie.org/Research-and-Insights/Open-Doors/Data/In...


Sorry, private discussion with a key player at a university.


> These questions are almost impossible for some of us to answer completely.

This is true for me also. And the result is that I'm now not going to risk a holiday in the US. I've never been and I'd love to go but the entry requirements are just too onerous.

(I'm from the UK by the way and I don't suspect anything in my past or social profile would cause a problem but the system is too capricious for me to want to engage with)

It's interesting to note that the only other countries on my "too much hassle for a holiday" list (other than outright warzones and similar) is the UAE and it's neighbours because of their terrifyingly arbitrary legal system and the risk of being innocently targeted)

EDIT - it's not entirely clear whether this affects tourist visas but my concerns extend beyond this particular measure and any visit is likely to be a mixed purpose trip in any case.


Well, the US political structure was designed to make such things happen.


Madison designed the system to avoid parties and collusion. He was not as successful as he hoped.


Can you elaborate?


Well, for starters, we have 2 political parties that dominate most elections. Everyone is told that if they don't like what those parties stand for they need to hold their nose and vote for the one of the two that they dislike less, lest the worse one win.

My personal favorite (to draw attention to) contributing factors are:

- Plurality voting (the possibility of third parties 'splitting the vote' helping otherwise generally unpopular candidate winning)

- Money money money money money. There's not much to stop someone with lots of it from influencing elections by e.g. running attack ads against the person they don't want to win. We talk a big talk about the voters having power, but when most people don't have the time or energy after spending it all making money for the guy who's going to run those ads, they're not going to be well informed.

And there's no incentive for this system to change on its own. Our politicians and the people/corporate entities who pay for them care more about staying in power than they do about 'freedom' or 'democracy' or their constituents' general well being. Our best hope is that people will come to realize that the problem is systemic and start demanding systemic change.


> we have 2 political parties that dominate most elections

Here in Argentina we use the two-round system (also known as the second ballot, runoff voting or ballotage) to avoid that issue. To win the presidential election, a candidate must get more than 45% votes or 40% AND 10% of adventage over other candidates. If this condition doesn't apply there is a next round where the candidate with most votes wins.

Imagine the following situation: You got three candidates for the elections: a. Trump (39%) b. Clinton (38%) c. Sanders (23%)

There is going to be a second round, but maybe Sanders voters are going to vote for Clinton to avoid Trump winning. In the current system Trump would have win. You could argue that in the current system Sanders voters would have voted for Clinton but maybe they thought Clinton was going to win since Trump didn't have much chanced.

With the two round system this becomes explicit.

This let's you vote for your favorite and in the second round you pick between the two big candidates.


Yes, it's not Trump, it's the US. I will probably never visit that country again, and I don't much care; but, I'm kind of sad for my kids.

That said, the world is a big place. Let's hope not every other country does the same.


To get a visa for France, I had to provide my full financial details -- bank statements, information on investments, etc. I also had to provide an FBI background check. To get a visa for China, you can be denied for content of social media posts. In Thailand, you can be arrested upon arrival if you've ever written a blog post critical of the king. The UK can bar entry based on the prior speech of applicants: rapper Tyler, the Creator was banned from entry. Right wing journalists have been denied entry to the UK, even a very popular talk radio host from the US has been denied entry into the UK for nothing more than his opinions -- despite no criminal record or any other "threat." Julien Blanc, an American "dating coach" has been denied entry by Britain, Australia and Brazil because he's a YouTube star "pickup artist."

Let's not pretend the US is unique in actually screening visa applicants and choosing to decide who can enter and who can not. I'm getting tired of the self-righteous condemnation of the United States when pretty much every country in the world discriminates in visa issuance. But the immigration policies of India, Mexico, Japan, Korea or Australia are far less interesting in this click-bait media world in which we live.


"bank statements, information on investments, etc"

There is nothing personal in bank statements compared to social media profiles.


I think that letting a foreign entity know about your financial status is pretty "personal", at least for a guy like me it is. Back to the article on point, I remember criticizing the US's need to ask for fingertips from potential visa applicants 12 years ago, in a discussion with my former co-workers. Since then things have gotten worse and worse in terms of privacy (this being just the latest example).


It shows who you've been paying, who's been paying you, how much, and how often.

That basically describes your entire life.


There's a difference between a blacklist of politically non-desired people and a policy applying to everyone. It's a slippery slope, but a slope nonetheless.


I’m curious: where do you live?


It’s not just the US though, the whole ultra-surveillance shtick is very much an international problem. Here in the UK it’s not that great either, and China is full on dystopia. I’m not excusing the US, but we need to accept that this isn’t just the Americans, it’s more and more of the world.


No one asked to see my phone or any device when I entered China two times through two different cities.

No one cared about by email addresses or social media accounts.


I work for a major academic medical institution. When our researchers attend conferences in China, or go there to give talks, we have to make sure to lock down their computers or give them burners that don't have important research documents. There have been many allegations of government sponsored agents entering hotel rooms while guest were out to copy drives of prominent American researchers.

Source: People at my institution who I put a lot of faith in (but are maybe paranoid).


If I need to disclose all my "social media" profiles in order to visit Yosemite again I'm doing it without blinking.


You won't visit the US because they want your social media details?


Americans may be shocked to discover that given the downward trajectory of the US at the moment, for many international travellers this is yet one more reason to choose somewhere else over the US. It's hardly extreme to avoid a country that keeps providing reason after reason to avoid it.

Especially for people who have been outspoken about the US' illegal wars and various war crimes.


I could replace US in your post with many European, Asian, African, etc. countries.


>Americans may be shocked to discover that given the downward trajectory of the US at the moment,

... ok, sure sure.


It's rather extreme to refuse to visit the US because of just that. However, refusing to visit countries that do things you don't agree with is a rational decision. I have a friend who declared he would totally refuse to visit North Korea -- why do you want to spend your money to enrich a shitty country and government? More practically, why do you want to spend vacation time being pissed off if you have literally hundreds of other choices?


No, it is actually not extreme at all to refuse to visit because of this. It is non of your countries business.

The only extreme thing with this, is collecting this useless information.


We don't care. Have a good life.


You do realize that visa policies are typically reciprocal, yes? So Americans will now be required to show their social media details to get visas.

Also, it seems to me that one of the best things about America is, or was, that people from all over the world went there or wanted to go there.


This kind of condescending smugness helps nobody. You'll start caring when you lose your convention industry, and American corporations find it difficult to bring the best international staff to the US (which has already begun).


One nice thing about having a President with 50%+ disapproval [1] is all the things that got swept under the rug, previously, can now be made alarming. This might be an unintended way the system clears detritus and scope creep.

[1] https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/trump-approval-ratings/...


Conversely, it makes running an opposition campaign so easy that the opposition won't need to focus on the big issues. The opposition could focus on morality and pay lip-service to neoliberal diversity theatre while simultaneously selling out to corporate interests.

If you're running against Trump in an election, what's the point of drawing the ire of industry (pharma, insurance, military, surveillance, general big-corp) when you can focus on orthogonal issues? You could get more funding by ignoring them and focusing on mostly-irrelevant wedge issues such as abortion (never going anywhere), "decorum", etc. Personally if Trump loses the next election I think we're going to get the biggest corporate-bootlicker democrat we've ever seen


> Conversely, it makes running an opposition campaign so easy that the opposition won't need to focus on the big issues.

Just over 50% disapproval isn't actually that easy to beat; its enough to draw strong candidates of diverse viewpoints into the opposition primary (rather than them sitting out as often happens with a strong incumbent), but not solid enough for opposition complacency. Of course, that number could move strongly either way before candidates are firmly in or out of the primary.

> Personally if Trump loses the next election I think we're going to get the biggest corporate-bootlicker democrat we've ever seen

Personally, I think if the Democrats nominated a candidate like that again, they’ll lose to Trump again, even with his unpopularity.


I don't think being a corporate mouthpiece was the reason Hillary lost; I think it had more to do with her lack of charisma and the many years of media that had engendered a deep feeling of mistrust towards her. Obama was almost as corporate as her, in my opinion, except he was much more well spoken and likable. Biden is along the same lines and it looks like he's gearing up for a run for the presidency.

Also as election season approaches, I think that disapproval will rise simply due to all of the marketing/discussion that will bring back into the public consciousness all of the reasons people disliked Trump in the first place.


> I don't think being a corporate mouthpiece was the reason Hillary lost; I think it had more to do with her lack of charisma

Maybe, but her being a corporate mouthpiece combined with her lack of charisma, combined with her 2016 loss is a big reason a sizable part of the activist base of the party is in open rebellion against the dominance of the neoliberal wing of the party, and why it's been able to force concessions (though not won outright) over internal leadership issues within the party. The 2020 nominee will probably be to the right of Sanders , but the party won't hold together if they are as firmly in the corporate camp as Clinton, much less the “biggest corporate bootlicker Democrat we’ve ever seen”.


I think sama's analysis re: willingness to admit the problems faced by middle America was point on. She still very nearly won.


Obama at least had the decency to take his corporate pay, i.e. 1/4 million dollar speech engagements, after he left the presidency. Hillary Clinton made over $10 million dollars in 2014 for just giving speeches.

But really, there is not one single overriding reason that she lost the election, but a different combination of reasons in all the millions that voted for Trump/against Clinton.


i think so too.

if Trump is still around in Nov 2020, he's overwhelmingly likely to lose. his opposition is extremely motivated and overflowing with a prurient desire to defeat him, while Trump's remaining voters, who have been repeatedly embarrassed and disappointed, have as much motivation to show up at the polls as a child has to show up at a vaccination clinic.


>while Trump's remaining voters, who have been repeatedly embarrassed and disappointed, have as much motivation to show up at the polls as a child has to show up at a vaccination clinic.

Have they been? In real life? Or was it rather the inverse (all the impeachment fantasies etc, the collusion stories endlessly appearing and fading, the economy that was "sure" to suffer, etc...).



Can't see the NYT one (paywall).

That said, is the Washington Post a representation of the "real life"?

Have they regularly run such stories by embittered union leaders before, when the President was more to their liking?

Or is it just confirmation bias?

Especially with economic indicators going strong (so much for the "disaster" people like Krugman predicted "If the question is when markets will recover, a first-pass answer is never" [1] on those same papers), and many companies, including Apple, announcing plans to bring jobs back to the US.

At worst, the WaPo link you've sent would be "business as usual", the untangling of US manufacturing jobs that has been happening since Reagan, if not earlier. Surely not some unique catastrophe imposed by The Donald.

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/cp/opinion/elec...


You asked if Trump supporters have been disappointed. I gave you an example of a person who supported and even advocated for Trump, and is disappointed with his presidency. If that isn't what you wanted, you should have asked for something else.


with all of Trump's personal misbehaviors and misstatements, I'm guessing it's hard for them not to feel embarrassed and/or awkward and/or disappointed. in short, they're demotivated:

* fiscal conservatives have had to defend the guy who brought them new tax laws that increase the deficit

* border wall supporters have had to support a man who just signed an omnibus spending bill which included basically no funding for the wall (not to mention the lack of funding from Mexico, which Trump also promised)

* immigration restrictionists have watched the Trump administration feebly defend travel bans that were immediately held up in the courts

* voters who consider themselves well-mannered, civil conservatives have had to defend a president who frequently insults and/or abruptly fires his own allies and team members

* voters who mistrust Wall Street big banks and want the swamp drained have watched as Trump embraced and employed some of these same Wall Street big bankers, including a couple of Goldman Sachs Democrats, who ushered in a huge corporate tax break

* conservative Christians have had to defend a serial adulterer

* manufacturing workers who were promised a significant revival of the manufacturing base have not seen much progress either, because bringing millions of manufacturing jobs back to the US is really really difficult to accomplish. but Trump promised it during his campaign. "You'll get so tired of winning..."

* what's going on with the US trade gap with China? we shall see, but, as Paul Krugman pointed out recently, Trump is not off to a great start. does he even know what he's doing? which brings me to ...

* voters who respect competence, order, a well-oiled machine, etc are not seeing much of it in this administration. at all.


> fiscal conservatives have had to defend the guy who brought them new tax laws that increase the deficit

Advocating for tax cuts and then using the resulting deficit increase to fuel advocacy for spending cuts has been a strategy of fiscal conservatives for decades, so this is just fiscal conservatism as usual, not something that will cause most of them problems.


> fiscal conservatives have had to defend the guy who brought them new tax laws that increase the deficit

On the other hand, non-fiscal conservatives should be jumping with joy.

> border wall supporters have had to support a man who just signed an omnibus spending bill which included basically no funding for the wall (not to mention the lack of funding from Mexico, which Trump also promised)

Well, "border wall supporters" also knew that "Mecico will pay" was BS political strong talk promising. And they see that Trump does indeed moves to restrict immigration, which is what really mattered to them, not whether some physical wall will be built or not.

(And let's not talk about "broken promises" about the Wall, when there's the previous administrations tons of broken promises about progressive politics, all official promises during the campaign of "Hope").

> immigration restrictionists have watched the Trump administration feebly defend travel bans that were immediately held up in the courts

And they can easily just blame the courts for this, while still thinking Trump at least tried

> voters who consider themselves well-mannered, civil conservatives have had to defend a president who frequently insults and/or abruptly fires his own allies and team members

Voters who consider themselves well-mannered, civil conservatives either are hypocritical or felt they have had no place in modern politics ever since at least Nixon.

> voters who mistrust Wall Street big banks and want the swamp drained have watched as Trump embraced and employed some of these same Wall Street big bankers, including a couple of Goldman Sachs Democrats, who ushered in a huge corporate tax break

I'll give you that. Not that they weren't expecting it, short of actually having some kind of revolution.

> conservative Christians have had to defend a serial adulterer

That's no problem for them, Christ himself was all about forgiveness, and besides, most of their TV evangelists are serial adulterers as well.

> manufacturing workers who were promised a significant revival of the manufacturing base have not seen much progress either, because bringing millions of manufacturing jobs back to the US is really really difficult to accomplish. but Trump promised it during his campaign. "You'll get so tired of winning..."

At least they do see some movement in this direction, which is more than one can say for the previous decades.

> what's going on with the US trade gap with China? we shall see, but, as Paul Krugman pointed out recently, Trump is not off to a great start. does he even know what he's doing? which brings me to ...

Well, Krugman had also said in November 2016 that "the economy is never going to recover" (from Trump), based on some temporary disruption in the stock market. Clearly (and perhaps just like Trump) there are no consequences whatsoever as to whether what he prophecies holds up or not.

> voters who respect competence, order, a well-oiled machine, etc are not seeing much of it in this administration. at all.

Those are fewer and fewer, because many (even people who didn't vote for Trump) feel that the "competence, order, a well-oiled machine" of prior decades has been mostly working against them. What they want is to see some disruption to this well-oiled machine of "business as usual".


yeah, ok. but i still predict a Trump loss in 2020, if he's even in the race.

my overall point is that these issues are enough to keep a reasonable or perhaps substantial fraction of the previous Trump voters at home on Election Day in 2020.

by contrast, we will see a huge fraction of Trump opponents dance into the polling stations on Election Day 2020.

forecasters should not take all of these past Trump voters for granted in 2020. there's just not enough good news to make them enthusiastic.


It’s like it’s Nov7th up in here.


The fundamental issue, I see, is the polarizing platform. When it comes to modern day discourse you're not looking at a nuanced debate, you're just seeing pro and anti. I don't even need to cite a source, you just need to look at the division in the world around you and wonder why it looks so fucking simple. Nobody is focusing on big issues because everybody is being told to look for an attack or to make a defense.

It's an old book but I recommend reading Flat Earth News by Nick Davies, it gives an incredible insight into how current affairs are spun into particular forms to suit certain agendas. The key motif of the book is that there are more than two sides to every debate but we treat it as gospel that you're either for or against. It's never so easy as that.


Your first paragraph is so spot on IMO, that it frightens me.

We, as free thinking, reasonable people are continuously drawn into hyper-polarized debates, particularly on social media: There is no nuance (as you said), only pro vs anti (as you said II). It also seems fairly systematic, and that we are clearly being kept busy with these "debates" while we are flanked and maneuvered on.


The huge growth of fake news/misinformation and punditry-as-news in the last couple years, which really has been on the rise for decades, seems analogous to trolling. It's very difficult to have a good discussion with nuance and mutual respect when trolls are involved in a thread. Likewise it seems the general public conversation is being disrupted and dumbed down. I see the same effect you do and I think on at least some parts it's intentional.


[flagged]


It's possible for the Russia collusion thing to be both a distraction and substantive. We'll see if it is or not in due time.


And it started right after Trump won. Before that night the wisdom was exactly the opposite: that our elections can't be hacked, and we shouldn't believe claims about it.

Then Trump won and created mass hysteria in the political community, then the FUD went full steam ahead about Russia.

Instead of talking of the contents of the leaks, all we now can talk about was that there was a leak – and, oh – it was Russia hacking! (But don't discuss the details in the leaks, though. Instead pivot the discussion to malevolent hacking.)

I'm extremely skeptical Russia and their paltry spending had any effect on the election. Clinton and Trump were well known in this country long before the election anyhow. Clinton had a close relationship with Russia for that matter. And domestically Clinton/Trump and U.S. stakeholders spent billions of dollars to sway public opinion. Russia can't compete with that.


> "that our elections can't be hacked"

There have been concerns about election security going back many years for different interpretations of "hacked". Election fraud worries (one interpretation of "hacking" an election) go back pretty much as far as you want to go. Foreign influence? The Foreign Agents Registration Act was enacted in 1938. Hacking electronic voting machines was in the news around the 2000 election. "All started right after Trump won"? Let's at least be specific about what we mean when we say "all", for starters.

Obama (in)famously said "The larger point I want to emphasize here is that there is no serious person out there that would suggest that you could even rig America's elections" in response to Donald Trump speaking out about the possibility that the US Presidential election would be rigged. It's unfortunate because the integrity of elections is something we need to value and secure to ensure people have faith in the system, because if the elections are secure, if people doubt them, it undeservedly undermines people's belief in the legitimacy of the elected government. (Similarly, it's important to engage in good faith discussions with people you may not necessarily agree with if you want to cooperate and move forward.)

Note that Obama was speaking specifically about rigging elections, which Trump was on record as saying "I'm afraid the election's going to be rigged. The allegations I've heard† (and a focus of the Mueller investigation) have been of Russian influence in the elections via misinformation, not rigging or hacking election machines.

I'm all for honest discussion of the topics you raise, which includes being clear specifically on what was said and alleged, as well as what specifically is under discussion.

† You can likely find anyone saying pretty much anything, so let's please except more fringe accusations on all sides.


> Then Trump won and created mass hysteria in the political community, then the FUD went full steam ahead about Russia.

Except in the real world, where the public announcement about Russian interference campaign happened before the election. And the detailed information about penetration of voting system came from the Trump Administration. Neither fits your narrative.


I have no doubt that the “ Russia Collusion” investigation is largely the kind of bare knuckled political tactics used all around by the real political infrastructure. (Though I think think there is far more substance here than the Starr investigation of the Clinton/Monica Lewinsky case.)

It looks like the Russians did try to influence our election, and why wouldn’t they. But I can’t believe any seriously thinks Trump is some kind secret Russian agent.

The heart of the issue is that Trump has worked actively in the shady parts of high finance projects. From what I can tell, his business conduct is shamelessly sleazy, showing little regard for anyone’s interests but his own. At certain level of wealth, entities can start to operate almost above the law. Their wealth protects them through the legal and political systems. It is this kind of conduct that is most disturbing, amongst the “elites” of many countries, including the US.

I’m thinking of the practices of the financial-military-political complex. The connecting thread is the pursuance of wealth and power above all else.

Trump is a bad person, and it always struck me as nearly impossible that he hasn’t engaged in highly illegal conduct. It’s just at his level, before he became president, he was hard to touch.

Ironically, becoming president opened him up to a level of scrutiny that is extreme. His usual legal defense methods likely won’t work. Whatever happens in this case, he has so many enemies, he will not get a rest, as long as he is in power. It takes something like a special prosecutor to go after a president. The authority and power of Mueller is politically based. It’s hard to attach the president on legal grounds, purely, but he remains vulnerable to these political attacks.

For anyone that still thinks the Russian issue is a “nothing burger,”I highly recommend reading this eye popping article on the activities of Paul Manafort. Manafort is a very bad guy, and deserves to be in prison. The level of cynical corruption Manafort engages in is sickening. He is certain very connected with the political and economic power structure in Russia.

Manafort was Trump’s campaign manager.

Put it together...

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/03/paul-ma...


> The opposition could focus on morality and pay lip-service to neoliberal diversity theatre while simultaneously selling out to corporate interests.

Pretty sure any phrase preceded by the word 'neoliberal' is already (by definition) aligned with corporate interests.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoliberalism

"Neoliberalism or neo-liberalism refers primarily to the 20th-century resurgence of 19th-century ideas associated with laissez-faire economic liberalism. Those ideas include economic liberalization policies such as privatization, austerity, deregulation, free trade and reductions in government spending in order to increase the role of the private sector in the economy and society. These market-based ideas and the policies they inspired constitute a paradigm shift away from the post-war Keynesian consensus which lasted from 1945 to 1980."


Yes, I agree, I know what the term means.

A common critique of neoliberalism is that it pays lip service to adding diversity to traditionally high status/class/prestige careers and positions without disassembling the unfair power structures that cause those careers and positions to be so desirable. Hence "neoliberal diversity theatre" is somewhat separate from ostensibly selling out to corporate interests, because diversity theatre's goal is to advance justice along identitarian lines without removing injustice from the system; it's spreading injustice out among races and gender without addressing it as an intrinsic symptom.

Politicians selling out to corporate interests is the main mechanism through which those power structures are maintained and expanded, but the equality-charades are a necessary ingredient to make the main course palatable (for the democrats. Republicans are also neoliberal but use other wedge issues).


> Republicans are also neoliberal

Some Democrats and some Republicans are neoliberal; the dominance of the neoliberal faction in the Democratic Party is weakening, and it's even weaker in the Republican Party—Trump is decidedly not a neoliberal.)


True, but I would correct "some" to "most." Neoliberalism is a blanket term that encompasses multiple axes that some might be split on, so many people aren't either 0 or 100% neoliberal, too. Republican rhetoric may not by and large lean neoliberal, but the way they vote often is. Even if neoliberalism is weakening, it's still the dominant economic ideology in the US government.


Yeah, "neoliberal" is pretty much a slur. No one calls themself neoliberal.



Isn't it always the case that the President has "disapproval" ratings around 50% though? Half the country tends to like the person they voted for, and half the country has sour grapes because their side lost. Obama's disapproval ratings also hovered above 50% at several points in his Presidency [1].

So it isn't Trump's "disapproval" ratings that are new for any President, it's the level of hatred that the press has for Trump that is new and allows for their spin on everything he does to "...be made alarming" as you put it. Look no further than HuffPo for your ridiculous daily press alarm. Obama was right in the same range in terms of disapproval, you just heard less about it because he was very popular among the types of people that tend to become reporters.

[1] http://news.gallup.com/poll/116479/barack-obama-presidential...


Could you please not take HN threads on partisan political tangents? I'm not sure exactly at which point we went off the rails here but your account appears to have done the largest part.

It also looks like you've been using HN primarily for political battle. That's not what this site is for, and we ban accounts that do it. Please see https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16402648.


The notion that my data-based response to someone else’s political comment is a “political battle” is absurd. Now you’re threatening to ban my account because I brought up a fact that happens to disagree with an incredibly liberal-skewed comment? There are many other accounts that consistently engage in the political discussions on this site, but it’s odd that I haven’t seen public threats to ban those. I’ve seen some downright hostile political comments from many accounts - but again I’ve only seen 1 publicly posted ban threat.

It seems that the political tangents are just fine, as long as they are liberal-leaning. Futher, if you look at the entire universe of my comments, maybe 1% of them have anything to do with politics (and again they aren’t the rants that most accounts are allowed to go on without the threat of banishment - they usually have references and data to back them up). If you do ban my account, you would essentially be sending the message that it’s ok to discuss political matters here, but your view on those better be leftist or you’ll face a ban.


Trump's disapproval ratings are very different to the usual ratings at the start of a presidency, which tend to be higher, and Obama's average rating was higher than Trump's highest ever rating (even Obama's lowest ratings are about the same as that). It is just nonsense to pretend that Trump's ratings are "right in the same range" as Obama.

http://news.gallup.com/interactives/185273/presidential-job-...?


Were Obama’s disapproval ratings not always in the 40-55% range, which are right where Trump’s are? The data suggests they were.

Considering how laughably biased the media has been against Trump, relative to the exact opposite treatment that Obama had, he’s actually doing amazingly well in this regard. I think Trump has made a tremendous number of mistakes, but just going by the numbers, he seems to holding better than Obama ever did given the headwinds he faces.

My guess is Obama’s disapproval rating would have started off far higher too if Republicans were rioting in the streets and claimed cheating in the wake of his election. But Republicans didn’t do that, and took a considerably higher road than Democrats have done since Trump’s election. It has been shocking and terribly disappointing to see how poorly Democrats reacted to losing, and that poor sportsmanship is still playing out. It turns out that the “party of tolerance” is only tolerant of those in its own party.


> Were Obama’s disapproval ratings not always in the 40-55% range, which are right where Trump’s are?

No, they were not always in that range, and that's a huge range; the only time Trump has been anywhere near 40% is the initial honeymoon phase, where Obama was in the 20s.

> My guess is Obama’s disapproval rating would have started off far higher too if Republicans were rioting in the streets and claimed cheating in the wake of his election.

Yes, mass protests tend to be a symptom of widespread and strong opposition (another sign of widespread opposition is getting fewer votes than the other major party candidate; George W. Bush had the same problem, and started with the same poor numbers as Trump; unlike Trump, he managed to improve them to more typical early first term numbers quite quickly, even before the post-9/11 rally around the flag effect.)


No, they were not always in that range, and that's a huge range

They weren’t always there, but they certainly wound up there as his Presidency dragged on and things like Obamacare began to hit people’s wallets. Where it wound up is what matters, as people can’t disapprove of things that haven’t happened yet (except in Trump’s case, where some Democrats were calling for impeachment before he was inaugurated).

Yes, mass protests tend to be a symptom of widespread and strong opposition

The protests were driven by the media’s response, which were unlike anything that any candidate has faced before. The media was furious that they were unable to influence the election for Hillary, and then they realized that they could profit from the polarization. With enough negative media coverage, anything can sound like a big problem to those that allow the media to shape their opinions.


Here's a graph for disapproval ratings for both of them. See for yourself: https://i.imgur.com/5dk3lWg.png


> claimed cheating in the wake of his election

You're forgetting the birthirism, the claim that Obama was ineligible for the presidency because he was born abroad, complete with theatrical demands for his birth certificate.


That was a relatively small number of extreme right wingers, and they were quickly branded by the media as nutjobs (and rightly so, as long as Obama had his papers in order). That movement wasn’t mainstream, unlike the Trump cheating/collusion claims.



Don’t bother posting HuffPo links as references. I hope nobody is taking anything they read there as fact these days. If they are, we are in bigger trouble as a country than I thought. I’d say the politics section of CNN falls in the same category. With regard to the rest of your comment...

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16714508


I didn’t reference them for the editorial or analysis: None of these are sources I generally read but they were among the top that came up when searching. Take a look at the quotes in the pieces. If you dispute them as inaccurate or out of context, please do point them out.

Edit to add: You say birtherism as being fringe and rightly dismissed as nutjobs. My response is to show that it’s not fringe as it was supported by the current president. Part of the disapproval you’re trying to dismiss can be attributed to people frustrated with things like this.

There are legitimate reasons regardless of the hype you’re trying to use to dismiss the high disapproval ratings. There are well-known Republican/conservative voices that are speaking out against Trump as well. We’re also no longer in a period where people are necessarily comparing Trump and Clinton, choosing the lesser of two bad options.

Anyway, I’m out. Have a good $timeOfDay.


Do you deny that Trump was extremely active in birtherism and claiming Obama wasn't eligible for the position as president?

There are countless articles, videos, tweets (from The Donald himself) documenting it.

Instead you attack specific sources, in an attempt to discredit the facts.


He was certainly very active in birtherism but so was Hillary when she ran against Obama which is what people are forgetting about :)


Would you elaborate what you mean by "but so was Hillary"? I'm aware of three incidents that could seen as related:

- Allegedly Sidney Blumenthal urged a reporter to investigate where Obama was born, suggesting it was Kenya. This was denied by Blumenthal and appears to be a misread or exaggeration of an email Blumenthal wrote. (http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/election...)

- Mark Penn wrote a strategy memo about Obama's "lack of American roots" in reference to him having lived abroad, which the campaign never acted on. (https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/09/the-fro...)

- A volunteer coordinator in Iowa forward an email promoting birtherism and was fired for doing so. (http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2015/sep/25/...)

I have a hard time reconciling "very active in birtherism" (or promoting birtherism at all by the campaign, much less Clinton herself) with these incidents. If you've got other references, please share. (Though this is really far off the reservation with respect to the submission.)


"But but but HILLARY!" is not a valid argument.

Both were shitty candidates, Trump was just the shittiest of the two.


Again, I’m not defending Trump. Never have. But that doesn’t mean we should purposely misinterpret hard data to try to make him look worse than he already makes himself look.


You realize that movement included Donald Trump, right?


Don’t take my assessment of the numbers as a defense of Trump. I didn’t vote for him or Hillary, and I think he is both way off in the weeds on many issues and making us look bad on the world stage. But that doesn’t mean that we should go painting things as being worse than they are, embracing hypocrisy, or misinterpreting facts like the media does.


We also shouldn't go making up facts in order to paint Trump's approval ratings as better than they are.


And I’m not. But I think even you would agree that the overwhelmingly negative press coverage - almost all of it opinion based - has some effect on the disapproval ratings. 50% was going to be built in from the start. Somebody should do the math to figure out the correlation between the ratio of positive to negative press stories and the disapproval ratings for both Trump and Obama. I think you’d find that if you normalize that ratio for both of these guys, Trump actually wins that race.


"Even" me? You're the one who called Trump an extreme right-wing nutjob.


Trump is objectively a terrible person and an even worse politician.

His approval reasons would be in the dumps, media influence or not.

You're making a pretty wild assertion, that Trump's and Obama's approval ratings would be equal if it wasn't for media influence. How do you propose normalizing that?

How would you do that? Please give an example that doesn't entail making up numbers from subjective whole cloth.


Trump is objectively a terrible person and an even worse politician.

That's quite the objective statement statement you have there.

How would you do that? Please give an example that doesn't entail making up numbers from subjective whole cloth.

It would be relatively simple, though it would involve some data collection. Count the number of positive and negative stories published at various time frames, and come out with a ratio. Then figure out the correlation between that ratio and approval/disapproval ratings at that time. Then you'd multiply Obama's disapproval number by the delta between his positive/negative ratio and Trump's (and probably include some multiplier that would be less than 1 based on how strong the correlation turns out to be) to show what Obama's disapproval numbers would be if he had suffered the same media bias as Trump.

That's off the top of my head, but the process would be fairly close to that. Nobody in the liberal media will do it, but the whole point is that comparing Obama's disapproval numbers to Trump's is not an apples-to-apples comparison because of the extraordinary bias of the media against Trump.


>"That's quite the objective statement statement you have there."

I feel very confident making that statement. Considering his personal and professional conduct, his backpedaling on earlier statements, his absolutely disastrously inept attempts at diplomacy and a whole host of other issues, it is accurate to say that he is absolutely not a person you would want to have any sort of relationship with, what so ever.

>"It would be relatively simple"

You're arguing from a biased starting point. You're assuming that media coverage is the most important factor in a president's popularity rating, not his actual actions and fuckups.

>"show what Obama's disapproval numbers would be if he had suffered the same media bias as Trump."

>"the whole point is that comparing Obama's disapproval numbers to Trump's is not an apples-to-apples comparison because of the extraordinary bias of the media against Trump."

You're ignoring the massive backlash, smear campaigns and outright hate spewed by the right-wing media during Obama's presidency. I'm not sure if you've just forgotten it, or if you're willfully ignoring it, but it was everywhere, endless pandering to birtherism, outright racism, doomsay prophecies that he would turn the US into a socialism/communist hellhole, that he would take everyone's guns, put all white people into camps, the whole spiel.

In contrast, most of the coverage of Trump is simply detaling what new stupid thing he did.

But if it's so simple, why haven't you done it yet?


The data says that Trump's disapproval ratings are already averaging over 50, which is unusual, and so far his highest disapproval rating has been 58%. The exact range for Trump so far has been 44-58, whereas for Obama's presidency his range was 19-56. Only the most partisan analysis can pretend that those look the same. At this point in his presidency, Obama was at his highest disapproval level so far, and it was 46% - Trump hasn't seen disapproval that low since January 2017. (You may not be aware that disapproval ratings are not actually calculated as 100-approval). Obama never hit the net disapproval levels that Trump is at.

I also want to point out that it's pretty facile to assert that if Republicans had disapproved of Obama more strongly, he would have been more strongly disapproved of.


I also want to point out that it's pretty facile to assert that if Republicans had disapproved of Obama more strongly, he would have been more strongly disapproved of.

I think even the most hardcore Democrat would agree that the vast majority of media outlets are liberal leaning. So their disapproval has a stronger effect on their opposition simply because they are louder and more people listen to them.


You really need to stop guessing at reality and start actually learning about it https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jan/02/trump-...


> Isn't it always the case that the President has "disapproval" ratings around 50% though?

No, it's not. From the source cited upthread, here's what other Presidents had at the same point in their Presidency as Trump's current 53.6% disapproval:

Obama: 45.3% Bush 43: 17.6% Clinton: 40.2% Bush 41: 15.3% Reagan: 45.0% Carter: 34.5% Ford: 38.6% Nixon: 31.4% Johnson: 15.1% Kennedy: 12.0% Eisenhower: 22.2% Truman: 45.1%


Still, factoring in the unprecedented liberal media headwinds faces by Trump, I’d say his numbers are amazingly good and still within the range of Obama’s after Obamacare began hitting people’s wallets.

That’s either scary or good, depending on your political leanings I suppose.


You keep saying this, but it's just not true.

Obama got to 55+% disapproval rating twice, in two single polls (3 Dec 2013 and 2 Aug 2014). His yearly average disapproval ratings were 36, 47, 47, 48, 52, 50, 46%.

Trump has spent roughly 30% of his time above 55%. RCP doesn't have yearly rates up, but it's pretty clear they are much worse than Obamas.

factoring in the unprecedented liberal media headwinds faces by Trump

It seems to me the only thing keeping any kind of approval at all for Trump is his attacks on the media. It seems to me that fighting with the media is the only thing keeping him below 60% disapproval.


> Still, factoring in the unprecedented liberal media headwinds faces by Trump, I’d say his numbers are amazingly good

That's true in the sense that it's true that Nixon's outgoing numbers were pretty good given the time of the media coverage at the time; there's not a lot of evidence, though, that measuring support relative to media coverage produces any kind of useful information.


there's not a lot of evidence, though, that measuring support relative to media coverage produces any kind of useful information.

There are studies proving that the media does in fact have an effect on overall opinion. So if you believe those studies, then you have to also believe that the overwhelmingly negative media attention received by Trump would have an effect on his disapproval ratings.


I think it is more likely that this is a test of our system of checks and balances but should be viewed a lot like traction control saving your life after losing control on an icy mountain pass.

This is simply a wakeup call. A democracy is not a forest, it is a garden. We should not rely on forest fires to shape our society, we should tend it carefully at all times.


can now be made alarming

This is wrong in so many levels, and explains exactly how we got here. You're judging the issue not by its own weight, but by who is going to deal with it, or not.


A counterargument: our system (in the US) is representative. That is, we elect individuals who are empowered to represent us as they see fit. This is subtly different than electing delegates who we expect to carry out our will indirectly.

In a representative system, the "who" is, and is intended to be, important.


This is the case for most Western democracies, and doesn't make the US different. Difference would be the separation of Electoral Congress and Congress, which doesn't happen in other democracies, where Representatives are also electors.

In any case, I don't think it's a counter, nor related to the comment. We're magnifying some issues because Trump, when the fact is that it shouldn't matter who's President in order to assess its importance.


> https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/trump-approval-ratings/...

Check out George W. Bush's ratings in the comparisons below the fold - massive spike peaking at a little less than 90% approval right around 9/11, and almost always staying above 50%. I really thought he was unpopular.


That’s only through the same point in his Presidency as where Trump is currently; W. was really unpopular by the time he left office, IIRC, a little worse than Trump's current numbers.


[flagged]


> While the Democratic administrations may have continued these kinds of policies (and I will challenge you on whether they as bad as the Republican ones)

It is the same question, on a different immigration form. See this article from 2016:

http://fortune.com/2016/12/23/us-customs-social-media/

The proposal (and public comment period) came much earlier in 2016. This wasn't the result of legislation, the executive branch (both then and now) are doing this all by themselves.

So sorry, I'm not buying the whole, "well when MY party wins this will stop" debate. Both parties have been doing this and neither one seems to be slowing down or stopping. I don't care who is "worse" because actions speak louder than words, so until Democrats OR Republicans get into office and actively repeal these things, it is all just hollow words.


The 2016 one was an optional request for people from 32 countries.

The new version is to be required and for people from all countries.

Going by the numbers from the article, that's a 2.4 orders of magnitude expansion.

Are you really equating the two?


Honestly that question itself is just trying to change the subject into a "who is worse A or B?" debate that I refuse to take part in. Both A and B are making the situation worse and neither A nor B are repealing this stuff. Debating who is making the situation worse faster is really besides the point.


Or it is the entire point. People can die slowly from natural causes or quickly from organ failures. Your argument would imply that we shouldn’t bother treating organ failures because we will all die of natural causes eventually anyways. One is objectively better than the other, it’s OK to admit it.


> Debating who is making the situation worse faster is really besides the point.

Wait a second, are you sure this logic really works? Assuming the goal is to do "what's best", then making the situation worse slower is surely better than doing so faster.


Isn't that an artifact of incrementalism? You do the thing on a small scale, and scale it over time. Its the trickle that turns into a stream which decides the path the river will eventually take. While a trickle isn't a river, we can surely agree that the Dem's from 08-16 did little and less to respect and bulwark the privacy of US citizens and the world at large.


Maybe it's a part of _your_ problem but I don't think it's a part of _the_ problem. What OP said is correct. Democrats continue to escalate and promote legislation that is deeply invasive.


This article and this discussion is about this action, not all the other actions that everyone has ever taken. It's a distraction, often an intentional one, to start talking about all the others.


No it most certainly isn't, if this is just but one step in a growing trend with bipartisan support, which it is.

We need a president who will pledge to appoint Justices that will respect the rights granted by the 4th amendment so we can roll back all of the unconstitutional and authoritarian legislation/structures that have been created in blatant violation of it. Stopping this one rule is immaterial. As we've seen, if legislation that is unpopular with people but popular with politicians fails to pass, then politicians will simply try to pass the legislation/enact the policy later when nobody's looking. The problem isn't isolated to a single act, it's a pattern that needs to be fixed.


> not all the other actions that everyone has ever taken

We're talking about this same question (list social media profiles) being added to a different immigration form two years earlier, seems disingenuous to conflate that with "other actions that everyone has ever taken."

I'd go as far as to call the change in 2016 a test case for making it mandatory in 2018. And I'd go so far as to predict that it will be mandatory for all tourists entrants at some point in the future (even visa waiver holders), no matter who is in power.

We need to be discussing how we stop sliding down this slippery slope, and blaming whoever happens to be in charge today isn't a constructive way to do that unless the other side has committed to stopping it (which neither side has, nor have they historically).


> You will have to pardon us if things like visas aren't at the top of the agenda right now.

I'm a lefty Democrat, but this is a cop-out. We've been shit on drone strikes and mass surveillance long before the Trump emergency was even a hint over the horizon.

There's extensive bipartisan cooperation in Congress on intrusive surveillance via the NSA, ICE, etc.


Democrats at least have a large faction who are willing to complain about things like drone strikes and mass surveillance even when it is their guy doing it. Unfortunately that faction isn't yet large enough to get Democratic politicians to stop doing that kind of thing, but there is some hope that if that faction consistently shows up in primaries for a while they might eventually be able to get some change.

Republicans who are willing to keep complaining even when there is a Republican president are practically non-existent so there is little hope of change ever coming from Republicans.


I seem to remember a solo republican filibustering about drone strikes, continuing to do so about FISA and also fighting the appointment of a CIA Director that not only found torture acceptable but ran a black site. Ron Wyden's the only Democrat that's been there every step of the way.


Rand Paul only cared about drone strikes on US soil. And he got attacked about THAT.

However, the fact that he even broached the subject at all got applause from me even though I can't stand the rest of his positions.


I was referring to Democratic voters. I acknowledged that the politicians aren't doing anything to stop it.


Sure, it would have been nice to get all Democrats on board, but the only meaningful opposition IS coming from Democrats. Maligning those fighting a rearguard action against an overwhelming majority is not helping.

And I loathe and have been fighting against Feinstein who carries water for the TLA agencies until suddenly they are snooping in her stuff (laws are good for thee but not for me).

People forget that only Democrats were at the forefront of the encryption debate and the clipper chip. Democrats (and damn few of them) were the only ones fighting against the Patriot Act, and got called traitors for it. Remember that?

Do I like drone strikes? Oh, hell, no. Have I been against it even with Obama. Oh, hell, yes. But, if we want to stop this kind of thing, we have to get adults in power who understand that this kind of thing is unproductive on a world stage because you will NEVER get the public at large to truly care (even worse, drone strikes play well politically with a certain set of sub-neanderthals) about people in foreign countries.

As for surveillance, we can't get people on board about surveillance until they get knocked out of their stupor. Well, they're finally out of their stupor and starting to get concerned. Now, we need to focus the message to cause change.

I would argue that I have a larger problem with the expansion of the power of the executive because Congress has largely abandoned its job. But that's a different battle.


Wait, how can you have someone representative in US if you're on a visa? Shouldn't you be a citizen to vote?

Also, I was under impression that any visa can be revoked at will, why would they need special trick questions for it?


Congress members represent everyone in their district, not only registered voters. Green card holders etc are allowed to write to their representatives.


  My point is: Both Democrats and Republics have been complicit
In fact, you bringing it up is causing more distraction and confusion regarding the original issue. Quite literally playing into the systems entire purpose..


The USA is a joke when it comes to security. They've got all this stupid and expensive beauracracy for coming in and out of the country that does nothing but irritate people.

I recently flew through the US on a connection flight from the UK and needed to give details of my employment history and my birth place amongst other things. In Tampa I got interrogated for looking nervous, which I was because we had landed late and I had very little time to catch my connection. My phone was searched, my WhatsApp messages were read, and they asked me all sorts of personal questions such as my girlfriend's birthday and the names of her cats.

After all this nonsense and their military-checkpoint style TSA procedures, I was able to continue on my journey (after the almost 20 hour delay).

So if they ask for social media profiles and phone numbers it's just a minor addition to the existing useless questions. If I wanted to hide something I could easily lie and they'd have absolutely no way of checking. Quite honestly I hope I never have to go anywhere near the US border ever again, I would rather pay an extra £200 for an alternative flight.


Your wife forgets to list that yahoo mail account to which she no longer has access and everything is deleted: family gets deported.*

You forget to list that LiveJournal, Advogato or Quora accounts: family gets deported.*

Your daughter forgets to list that Pinterest account: family gets deported.*

Your son forgets to list that last.fm or SoundCloud account: family gets deported.*

Your mom forgets her Academia.edu account and Mittens forgets her vampirefreaks account: family gets deported.*

[*] or separated...


Under what conditions would any of these events actually occur? The government isn't going to waste resources to deport someone solely for forgetting an account; they would only go to such effort if there's another reason that they actually care about to deport that person.


The point isn't to go after everyone who fails to completely or accurately answer, but rather to provide a pretext for the deportation of people the government disfavor but lack a criminal case against; for example, an immigrant opposition leader, protestor, or whistleblower.


Yes exactly. Laws which de jure make everyone a criminal simply give the government an excuse to de facto imprison or expel whomever they want, and should be avoided at all costs


This is the same reason it bothers me that the actual speed limit is an unknown and inconsistent number approximately 15mph above the one they post and can punish you for exceeding.


This is basically how all laws currently work. The prosecutor gets to pick who to charge (or sometimes gets to pick which case to put in front of a grand jury, though generally the process is so one sided that the prosecutor effectively has full control over what evidence the grand jury sees and is thus able to sway their decision either way). We would need to change the system to remove the choice of enforcing criminal charges from all, but this will be a very bad thing to do given current laws (just look at issues with teens sending photos to each other, what would happen if we really cracked down on all cases of illegal photos being shared).

The system appears designed so that once you are targeted, they can easily crush you by bringing forth laws generally ignored for the average person not targeted by the legal system. It needs to be fixed, but there is almost no political will to fix it and any fixes will be a drastic deviation from what we currently know.


Kind of, but the legal system is tilted to prevent people from being unjustly imprisoned, not to ensure that every guilty person is locked up. Prosecutorial discretion and the grand jury process is part of that, but there is always a regular jury as a check to determine if the charges should be dismissed and the "default" if no one does anything is always no charges.

Now, its fair that in practice this can be abused to protect people in power by not charging them, or to get people deported by charging with things no jury would convict on, or scare them into a plea deal. But that is where the political system is supposed to step in (most DAs are elected) and remove prosecutors who are making decisions the voting population doesn't like.

But people don't vote (or don't research or don't care) enough to be an effective check on the legal system like that, which is a whole different set of problems... but my point is that these systems are designed to balance each other, not so that each system is perfect by itself.


>but the legal system is tilted to prevent people from being unjustly imprisoned, not to ensure that every guilty person is locked up.

Not anymore. Now what happens is that once you are targeted all these laws that aren't enforced normally are pulled out, and you end up with an insane maximum potential time spent in prison. At which point a relatively light plea deal is offered. Even if you are innocent, unless you are rich enough to have money to afford a good lawyer, it isn't worth fighting. And even if you are rich, the prosecutor can just fine tune the plea deal until it is better than fighting the charge. This has strongly tilted the system now that most people (something around 90% if memory serves) do not get their day in front of a jury.


Not disagreeing. You are pointing out problems with the legal system and suggesting it be changed.

I am pointing out that the legal system is designed this way on purpose, the problem is that the other systems that are supposed to balance it are not doing so, and the focus should be on why the checks and balances are not working, not designing some perfect legal system to exist in isolation.


You obviously have not dealt with the US government. Take it from someone who was, is and will likely be scarred several years from dealing with the US Government (esp. US Immigration), this scenario is very real.


You forgot brown people. That's who will be targeted the most.


With all due respect, I've been reading your comments on this thread and you sound completely off your rocker. You'd be surprised by how much more weight your opinions would hold if you'd cut the childish, pseudo-political statements about 'brown people', how the US is on the downslope and any disgusting statements calling an entire country "garbage".


Love the downvotes. The current US administration is racist through and through. This kind of very broad net will be used to target undesirables... which means brown people in the eyes of the human garbage who comprise current US leadership.

The truth hurts, right America?


"Show Me The Man, And I'll Show You The Crime" - Lavrentiy Beria


It provides an excuse to be selectively abused to deport people, since it applies so broadly.


> Under what conditions would any of these events actually occur?

Someone with friends in high places decides he doesn't like your ugly face.

So long as that doesn't happen, the government will ignore the omissions you made in the visa application. But now they have a pretext for deporting you as soon as they feel like it.


In the UK, the government stupidly set a net migration target. Therefore there is an incentive to deport anyone simply to meet quota.

Latest round of stupidity is schemes to encourage doctors to come work in rural areas ... that don't meet the salary requirements for visas, so the NHS spends money recruiting people that the Home Office rejects.


You have the wrong question.

Whom would it waste resources to deport?

Then can they use this to easily create legal pretext to do so?


When the United States does something like this others start doing it too, sometimes seemingly just to reciprocate or spite. The US contributes so much to the world with respect to tech, business, culture and science but it’s also an exporter of increasing bureaucracy.


> bureaucracy

I wouldn't call it bureaucracy, but I don't know of a proper, better name. Hysteria maybe. Not sure.


Bureaucracy is often the result of hysteria. The USA is hysterical over terrorism when it should be hysterical over cancer, college cost increases, and health care. It's all a product of the government realizing that it's easy to fool the bleating masses with terrorist straw men.


It's not only the government, the media is very much a contributing factor too. One small terrorist attack yields multiple days of coverage and exposure. Terrorism is given an extremely outsized portion of coverage on the news and as a result people think it's a much bigger problem than it actually is. But it's an extremely convenient cover for taking away people's rights and spending even more money on the military.

I've posted this before in another thread, but after 2001, less Americans have been killed by terrorists per year than have been killed by lightning. And yet think of all the money and attention that have been devoted to something more dangerous than slipping in the bathtub, and the rights "we" willingly gave up for that. It makes 0 sense


Based on the definition of bureaucracy [1] I disagree with you. I do think the tail is wagging the dog in American politics these days but I do not think bureaucracy is the reason. I actually think the bureaucratic parts of our government work quite well. Examples being the National Park Service or NASA.

I think the real problem is that our elected representatives (politicians) are so concerned with reelection that they manipulate their constituents rather than acting as representatives. It's more of an electoral problem.

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bureaucracy


Oppression is a good start.


There are a lot of people who call this "due diligence." Receiving permission to visit a country is a privilege, not a right. This trend of wanting better data before making decisions is the natural result of there being better data available on which to make it. Banks, loan officers, job offerers, and now nation states are each equally right in taking advantage of whatever you've chosen to put out there in public. I personally have no problem with this, and to the contrary would call to account institutions that make decisions without considering the data.


> Receiving permission to visit a country is a privilege, not a right.

It shouldn't be.

All border checks should be abolished. All passports should be abolished. Free people in the world should be able to travel between countries freely, and without having to justify themselves or ask permission, just as they can travel between cities within a country freely.


And if 30,000 camouflaged, balaclava-clad Russian speakers happen to cross the border from Russia to Ukraine, they're just exercising their right as free people :)

Seriously though, it depends on what responsibilities you think the government has towards the people. If a country with high taxes and generous public services bordered a country with low taxes and minimal public services, you can see why problems could arise if people could cross between at will.


What happens if 30,000 camouflaged, balaclava-clad Russian speakers happen to travel from Moscow to St. Petersburg?

I don't see the problem.

If they start shooting at people, then that's a crime and you should arrest them for that, regardless of whether you had any border checks.

And even if you do have border checks, if 30,000 people storm your border at once, a handful of guys with truncheons and paper forms aren't going to be much of a deterrent.


I agree! Also, let's take it a step further and abolish all door locks as well! Free people of the world should not have to ask permission to enter a house!


I'm not saying it's OK to go in arbitrary people's houses without permission. I'm saying it should be OK to go in arbitrary public places without permission.


It's a shame the gdpr won't apply to nation states.


Xenophobia?


Happens already with visa fees. I believe one of the reasons Americans need to purchase Indian visas in advance is because Indians must do so to enter America.


Ya, China will start asking all of us Americans for our WeChat IDs (they would ask for Twitter and Facebook also, but those are blocked).


I agree, this is very obviously a policy area where the US should be leading (or at least not setting new negative standards).

It's curious though, as the popular thing to claim today is that China is obviously the future. They're going to supposedly dominate everything, from AI to robotics to insert-tech-thing-here.

Article after article proclaimed that China would take advantage of Trump's immigration policies to do a massive global talent grab.

So what happened to that fraudulent premise? There are almost zero human rights in China. The few they had acquired, have increasingly been stripped back away.

So this social media grab is a massive problem for the US. Having zero rights in China means they're going to acquire all the world's talent and dominate the universe. Something certainly doesn't make sense in the storyline.


And when the capitalists, (elite, the 1%) see how good the cpc has it, that they can milk everyone else, they will try the same here. I call for economic and miltary containment of China.


One thing to know is that apparently the reason for having seemingly idiotic questions on immigration forms ("are you a terrorist?", "are you a nazi war criminal?") is not that the government is stupid but rather that they're there in order to be able to deport someone for answering the question incorrectly in the event that the government wants to deport them but lacks sufficient evidence to pursue a criminal case. There's a blanket "you answer wrong, we deport you" law somewhere on the books.


This is such a stupid explanation. Do people really think the government is going to go "You're a terrorist, but we can't deport you for that. But look here, you checked this form wrong.."


Actually yes. I wasn't making it up. If you Google search on this you'll find lots of supporting evidence. The reason for the stupid questions is to be able to retrospectively take action based on incorrect answers being given.

E.g. http://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1141917


It’s much easier to develop evidence for checking a box wrong than convicting a crime.

It’s also easier to arrest someone on suspicion of falsifying customs forms and hold indefinitely than to do so on “terrorism” charges.

So this does indeed give law enforcement a lot of leeway than not having it is.

So, to answer your question, yes.


That still doesn't make sense. To prove they checked the form wrong, you have to prove the actual charge itself (e.g. they are a terrorist, by whatever definition). That itself is enough evidence for deportation.


Except the question is "are you or have you been in the past associated with, do you know of, are you a relative of a know or unknown terrorist or a terrorist organization?" (The real question is longer)

Then a similar question for nazis, intelligence agencies, military and some more.

There is a podcast of a story of an immigrant who was associated with a group as a kid. Decades _after_ him immigrating to the US the US declared the group a terrorist organization. Will post the link if I find it.


Yeah truthful answer would be "gosh i have 500 facebook friends for like 10 years who knows what they have been up to".

I'm still not gonna check that box though


I would guess that the burden of proof is also less for deportation than for criminal conviction.


You may have misunderstood - I think the parent is saying its the same principle as, say, convicting Al Capone of tax fraud. Create a large number of small, easy-to-accidentally-violate laws (think police stops and traffic laws here), and then selectively enforce them - so if its difficult to prove someone is a terrorist, kick them out of the country for incorrectly filling out their Form WhateverWhatever1300B instead.


They got Al Capone on tax evasion (not fraud) because he evaded taxes, not because of some grand scheme. The IRS is interested in collecting taxes, not policing.


On a related note, the IRS also requires that you report and pay taxes on all the money you made by robbing banks, selling drugs, and embezzling your employer's coffers.

Nobody who hasn't already been convicted will fill out those forms, of course, but that's another criminal charge if the DA wants to put you away for even longer.


The IRS and the DA are different people.

The purpose of the IRS is to collect tax on income, not to punish people for obtaining that income illegally.


Sure. But if the IRS comes across evidence of tax evasion, they'll be happy to pass it along to the DA.


> This is such a stupid explanation. Do people really think the government is going to go "You're a terrorist, but we can't deport you for that. But look here, you checked this form wrong.."

No, they are going to say anything like that to you; what they'll do is go to a judge and say we have this evidence that this visa-holder is a terrorist (which evidence doesn't actually relate to any crime prosecutable under US law, because not all terrorism in the world is a US crime) and that they therefore committed the crime of attempting to defraud the government by the way they filled out this form stating that they totally weren't a terrorist, and so we'd like to go arrest them please. And the judge will say, “why, sure". And then what they actually say to you will involve lots of guns carried by high-on-adrenaline counter-terorism agents storming into the place where your family is sleeping in the middle of the night.


No, it's dead on. Once residency and citizenship are granted, it's tough to revoke them, so reserving deception during the application process as a cause makes that easier.


Generally these things are set up so that proving someone lied on the form is easy and straightforward. As someone else pointed out, the actual question isn't going to be "are you a terrorist", it's going to be a question about whether you've ever associated with certain people, or organizations which espoused certain views. And that can be very easy to prove.

You see this pattern in more than just immigration cases.

The FBI and other federal agencies infamously "get" people for making untrue statements to their agents, since that's a federal felony right away, and easier to prove than that the person committed some other, more complex crime.

The other day in a reddit thread I got to bring up a case from New Mexico involving someone who literally fabricated evidence of a child in order to claim support payments. Once it was established the child didn't exist, proving all the various elements (like falsifying birth certificate and paternity test) of the crimes involved in getting to that point was difficult, but it was very easy to prove she'd claimed the nonexistent child as a dependent on her income tax returns, which sent her straight to prison (if you want all the details on that one, Google "Barreras v. Trevino").

A few years ago the US Supreme Court (Abramski v. United States) upheld a conviction of someone who purchased a gun, because at the time of the purchase he filled out a form which said he was purchasing the gun for himself, and not on behalf of or as a stand-in for someone else. Except he lied when he checked that box on the form; he was buying it for his uncle. The Supreme Court ruled that it didn't matter whether his uncle was legally eligible to buy the gun (he was); Congress had made it a federal crime to lie on the form, in order to prevent people from skirting background checks by getting someone else to buy a gun on their behalf, and the guy had unquestionably lied on the form.


It's not silly in the least. Revoking citizenship is hard and you need to clearly define why it's happening and that the law stipulates you can.

You think the President or Congress can just snap their fingers and say "you no longer are a citizen!"?


Not sure you're thinking nefariously enough. More likely it could be "you're saying things we don't like" or "your religion is icky", things that they otherwise aren't allowed to take action on.


Doesn't the 5th amendment make those questions impossible to answer? (If you plead the 5th on them, you're.. probably a terrorist...)


I think the government's position may be that travelers do have a right under the fifth amendment to decline to answer these questions if they believe that answering could create a risk of criminal prosecution, but that the government can still use that refusal to answer against the traveler (for example, denying a visa or denying entry to the country), because the government contends that immigration procedures are "administrative" and not "criminal", and being denied entry is merely an administrative decision and not imposition of a criminal punishment.

In general the government has only accepted the idea that refusal to answer questions can't be held against someone in the context of a criminal trial. For example you can certainly take the fifth in a deposition or examination in a civil case, ideally on an attorney's advice, but this decision can be held against you for civil purposes (for instance, the judge can instruct the civil jury that it can consider why the witness didn't want to answer the question). The government's position is most likely that the immigration proceedings have an analogous status where you may be allowed to decline to answer, but an adverse inference can still be drawn from your refusal (like making an assumption that you had something to hide).


Constitutional rights are very different in customs. 4th amendment is pretty gone too.


If you refuse to answer, they just don't let you in. Someone who doesn't already have some kind of legal status in the US has no right to enter, so they can turn you away for any reason at all.


Actually, they naturally do, but there is a specific law to prevent entering unless some specific criterions are met.

Outside of dictatures, people are born with all the rights, and the law is made to remove them. Those law are generally made to protect the rights of other. The main law that doesn't enter this category is immigration law since changing country doesn't remove any freedom to the citizens of the country of arrival.


5th amendment only applies in criminal cases: "nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself". Doesn't cover border crossings or visa applications.


Also, the United States hasn't historically always given constitutional rights to non-citizens living in the United States.


Right, and the areas around the border have been called by the ACLU "Constitution-free zones". Basically the government says if you're within 100 miles of the border and have crossed or are likely to cross, your Constitutional rights no longer exist.

It's really fun stuff.


more about the 100 mile zone here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Border_search_exception


> Doesn't the 5th amendment make those questions impossible to answer?

The 5th amendment doesn't really apply because entry to the US on a visa isn't a criminal prosecution; no one is compelling you to answer the question, you can choose not to by choosing not to apply for a visa.


The constitution protect non citizens too?


Yes. Some things (like voting) are rights of citizens, but the 1st and 5th Amendments (for example) guarantee rights to "persons" which includes non citizens who are in the US.


Yes, kind of. Probably not in the context of immigration scissors stone paper games though.


>Yes, kind of.

In theory, but historically speaking not really: https://scholarship.law.georgetown.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?r...

But then again, it doesn't seem to work very well for US citizens these days either.


For clarity: the doc you cite says what I said (at least that's my interpretation) -- that non citizens have much the same constitutional rights as citizens. But they have to be living in the country (so-called US Persons). Hence it doesn't do you much good in the context of getting into the country. Source: I was a US Person for a while.


The legal argument is "yes they do", but the first few pages of the document are "but we understand why US citizens might assume the opposite because here's a laundry list of all the times we ignored that in the past".

As a non-citizen, the internal arguments of the US legal system aren't very interesting to me, but the historical record of how the US treats non-citizens is. The US has clearly demonstrated that in practice, non-citizens are not protected by the same rights.


Sometimes, sometimes not.

If you are a non-citizen living here, you'll generally enjoy most of the protections of the constitution and laws. If you are sitting there at customs just visiting, there are a lot of those protections that simply don't apply. Of course, some of those protections don't apply to citizens at these places either, though they play out a bit differently.


yeah, i think that's probably true.

a police officer once told me that there are thousands of laws in the vehicle code, and, if the police want to pull someone over legally, all they have to do is follow their car for a few blocks or so. sooner or later, that driver will violate a law.

that's a standard technique available to all types of law enforcement officers in the US.

and, yes, there's a lot of discretion in the hands of the police, just as for prosecutors. this is either a strength or a weakness, depending ...


Sure, but isn't the default answer for stuff that would get the visa denied is "no"? Especially if it's a question that's arguably unanswerable?


Yes. At worst, that may be the idea.

Making an overly broad questionnair to introduce arbitrariness by enabeling your executive branch to selectively invalidate a specific visa holders questionnaires consistency.


"are you a nazi war criminal" is still outdated and stupid


Pretty absurd that they're asking for all of this and:

> [...] In addition to their social media histories, visa applicants will be asked for five years of previously used telephone numbers, email addresses, international travel and deportation status, as well as whether any family members have been involved in terrorist activities.

I know a number of people going through, or have been through, the US visa process and surely if this is required, applicants are going to drop.

Furthermore, if you submit that you don't have a social media account are they going to assume you're a liar? Are applicants just going to create new "real" accounts just to avoid looking suspicious?


> five years of previously used telephone numbers,

I couldn't tell even if I wanted to, I go somewhere, pick up a SIM card, trash it when I leave. These days many countries sell them from machines or newsstands at the airport, this is not unusual any more.

Japan and the UK, both from 2015: https://cdn.techinasia.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Screen... http://travelpal.s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploa... and actually even the USA, this is JFK: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CX0y79EWQAAGlfZ.jpg


I have the same problem with my employer's background checks... I'm often required to list 7 years of home addresses, and while I'm not quite a digital nomad and have never been homeless, I have moved quite a few times in the past 7 years. Sometimes to places without a permanent address, sometimes spending a few months with friends. Sometimes in states I didn't technically work in, which makes questions about discrepancies really fun. Hell if I can remember all of them. Sometimes I've been known to put down addresses I never officially lived at because I couldn't remember if I ever put in a change of address form or not.


To enter the US I had to disclose my primary school address and all the following ones. I don't know what I would do if the school had disappeared before the internet was big.


>while I'm not quite a digital nomad and have never been homeless, I have moved quite a few times in the past 7 years.

College is still inside my 7 year window, so I get to include 4 college addresses, 4 internship addresses, and a couple since graduating. I've found my Amazon address list to be immensely helpful. I also started a document to track it.

Copy+paste into those horrible background check online forms makes them more tolerable. The last one I did had to be done in 1 sitting and was estimated to take 30 minutes. Spent 2.5-3 hours on it...


Even if you will keep SIM card, after some time of inactivity SIM card will be blocked and phone number will be added to a pool of number for latter reuse. It is not unusual when the same number assigned to a new customer a year or two after it was last used by another customer.


odds are if you used it for such a short time they wouldnt know either. And it'd be odd if they say "You failed to disclose 555-555-5555" (ok... but you clearly know the number)


> And it'd be odd if they say "You failed to disclose 555-555-5555" (ok... but you clearly know the number)

It would not be at all odd for them to use failure to disclose as a reason for revoking your visa and putting you on a list of people who would be denied entry in the future, and it would be unsurprising if, before kicking you out, they also criminally prosecuted you for lying to the government.


It’s easy to twist that into “you clearly failed to disclose this number because you have something to hide”.


A more hidden effect of this is the chilling effect of this on what would-be immigrants post on social media. E.g. should I remove a photo from the Women's March because it was seen by some as a protest against the current administration?


I actually went back and deleted all my “controversial” social media posts while I was applying for a visa transfer. This was even before this policy announcement. I don’t put it past vindicative people in the administration to causally check out social media posts while adjucating petitions


"deleted"

I don't think this word means what you think it means in today's internet.


This has already happened in New Zealand. If you've ever publicly made controversial statements ("have ever publically made a racist statement" [1]), they can deny you a resident visa unless they arbitrarily decide it's OK.

You might think you're not a racist, but in the UK, racism law extends to criticizing Islam or even questioning aspects of it. So you better not be an outspoken atheist either.

[1] https://www.immigration.govt.nz/new-zealand-visas/apply-for-...


Unless NZ is significantly different from most other countries, no one has a right to a resident visa (although some people might have a right to citizenship, such as by descent), so they can already arbitrarily determine whether or not to grant a resident visa.


Sure, but in practice, they don't seem to do that. I've heard of public complaints of denials and it's because the person doesn't actually meet the published criteria, not just "they seemed a bit scary".


It's not just would-be immigrants either. The same kind of social media checks are being used in some places for tenancy applications. Hand over your social media login details to some third party who gives a report to the landlord.


>I know a number of people going through, or have been through, the US visa process and surely if this is required, applicants are going to drop.

That's the point that the administration wants to push.


> Furthermore, if you submit that you don't have a social media account are they going to assume you're a liar?

something like that already happened to me. i was coming into the us as a tourist (and i was a tourist, i was visiting SF because i found really cheap tickets and a cheap airbnb). at border control, the office starts typing at her computer, i asked her if there was something wrong.

she said, and i'm not joking, that she was searching for me on facebook because "she wanted to see the reasoning for me to come and go from the us". i said i had no facebook account (i don't, i don't like facebook) and she said "it was really suspicious for me not to have a facebook account, since everybody had one".


You don't have to be all that cynical to think that the whole idea is to get people to drop their applications.


> visa applicants will be asked for five years of previously used telephone numbers, email addresses, international travel and deportation status,

This has already been the case for at least 4 years. Every visa I’ve ever had asked me to fill out which countries I’ve visited in the past 5 years and whether I was ever deported.


That is significantly different than disclosing social media profiles and different emails. One (filling out travel information) makes sense because...uhhhh...you're crossing another border so it makes sense to disclose previous travel history that coincides with your stamp book on your passport. The other is uhhhh irrelevant to travel information?


I agree, just pointing out that this isn’t new. GP comment implicated that it is.


It is new, based on what your comment. You reported answering different questions.


He was replying to the "international travel and deportation status" portion.


Editing for context avoids such misunderstandings.


> visa applicants will be asked for five years of previously used telephone numbers

Which I think is an interesting admission they have all the calls stored somewhere so they can check them for content...


More likely for who-calls-who social graphing.


> surely if this is required, applicants are going to drop.

That's the point.


I'm not sure I'm planning to visit the US ever again, but if I did, what would count as social media? Does HN count? Does my blog? IRC nickname? Github and Bitbucket accounts? I've never had a Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest or LinkedIn account.

The only thing I guess unequivocally counts as social media is my Mastodon accounts.


GitHub is explicitly listed as "social media" on the optional question that is on the ESTA [1] form since 2016. If I remember correctly, the wording is relatively broad, so I would guess that HN and Reddit count as well.

[1] https://www.evisaonline.com/en/usa/esta.html


Since when did GitHub stop being a code repository and start becoming a social network? Am I using GitHub wrong?


What do you think commits are?

git commit -m -S “just having my 4th Oreo milkshake haha”


Isn’t GitHub’s motto “social coding” or something similar?


It has stars and accounts, so there is a social aspect


Just an FYI - that website (evisaonline) isn’t an official government site. They seem to be some third party who provide some sort of ESTA application service. The official site is at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/


Thanks, my fault. Just pasted the first link Google returned.


Yeah… so annoying it confused me for a while.


These were on my ESTA application last summer:

ASKfm

Facebook

Flickr

GitHub

Google+

Instagram

JustPaste.it

LinkedIn

Tumblr

Twitter

Vine

VKontakte (VK)

YouTube

Other


What if you don't have any social media accounts? Are they just going to assume anyone who says they don't is lying or trying to hide something?

Seems like a dumb policy to require details on a purely voluntary activity.


They ask for details about many voluntary activities: travel, education, work, etc.


I really hope it's not perceived or implemented as mandatory "at least one" required.


Asking such questions on a voluntary basis is usually just a phase to reduce opposition once it's finally mandatory.


Pretty sure you’d be flagged for extra scrutiny.


If the companies had their way, it would be illegal to not have a social media account and not participate actively.


And if milk companies had their way, it'd be illegal to drink water. But they don't, so...


So "Nobody forced you to give Facebook all that data" will no longer be true. If you don't have your data on Facebook, and it doesn't match your government records, you'll be marked as Suspicious by the secret police.


Pretty sure we have that in place already now, based on the leaked XKeyscore rules we saw.


> based on the leaked XKeyscore rules we saw.

Link for the lazy: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/31/nsa-top-secret....


Ugh. First, fake profiles are not only possible, they are trivial. So if you correctly state you don’t have a profile on X, and they find one anyway...do you think they’ll bother to tell you why you were denied? No, you’ll just be silently blacklisted for what “you” do online.

Social networks are also run by companies, not the government. They need to just stop expecting us to interact with a tiny number of specific companies (it’s “big 3” credit reporting all over again, only somehow worse).

And finally, can we stop treating potential immigrants so poorly!?!? There are enough rules, forms, fees and delays already; how many more things do they really need?


The US is not the centre of the world. I'm a researcher and even though the immigration process is smoother for academics, others and I have long since decided not to pursue work in the US. There are many reasons, but amongst them are the populist government, draconian "America first, rest of the world second" policies (that have existed since the Bush era, not just Trump), dropping or stagnant science funding and (obviously only in some aspects) the expert-hostile society.


I'm curious of what the lobbying arms of major social media companies like Facebook and Twitter think of this. Are they using their considerable resources to try and push back against this? They can't possibly benefit from this deeper reach of the government's spying eyes.


Are you kidding? Twitter, for example, made ~400 million dollars last year selling data. Several federal agencies have firehose access via contractors. Any of those companies would love the contract to correlate the information provided with their internal records.


Isn't forcing users to divulge this information a way around paying for data exports?


That's where the next billion Twitter and Facebook users will come from: forced participation tied to government services and benefits. You can easily imagine a dystopia where a FB account is required to collect Social Security or Medicare benefits.


My pet dystopian vision was always basic income associated with a government-tied-in Alternative Reality game, with mandatory in-game outside-world activities to collect points that can be traded in for bonus BI or discounts for everything purchased with your BI card or BI card cashback limits, etc.

With China developing Social Credit and US government interest in social media data, the "in-game outside-world activities" might as well be bypassed. Have a 'good' Facebook history, or else.


And alt user ids tuned specifically for this purpose!


> They can’t possibly benefit from this...

Are you kidding me? This is information that won’t add any tangable value to the actual state of affairs, yet money will be payed for the information. This reeks of a deal struck with the big social behind the wheel. They get Money from the tax payers for sharing information with no need to prove actual added value, just the promis of hiring some key people in well paying positions down the Line when it’s less objctional.


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