US 'Could Snoop on Would-Be Immigrants' Social Media Posts'
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – US authorities could soon be snooping on social media posts from would-be immigrants, a measure Washington claims is aimed at closing "security gaps" in the country's visa system.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Monday the homeland security and state departments had been asked to review the process for screening people who apply for visas and to return with specific recommendations.
Homeland security said it was specifically reviewing policies on when authorities at the US Citizenship and Immigration Services could look at social media posts as part of the vetting process for would-be immigrants applying for certain visas.
"I think the president's top priority here is the national security and safety of the American people," Mr Earnest said. "And that will continue to be the case with ensuring that this K-1 visa programme is effectively implemented," AP reported.
Tashfeen Malik, a Pakistani woman carried out an attack with her husband in San Bernardino, California, that killed 14 people earlier this month, came to the United States in 2014 on a K-1, or fiance, visa.
Mr Earnest did not give details of the security review for visas, but said one consideration going forward was resources.
Democratic senator Dianne Feinstein and Mr Burr introduced legislation last week that would require social media companies to report to law enforcement any "terrorist activity" they became aware of, for example, attack planning, recruiting or the distribution of terrorist material.
But technology industry representatives say that would become a massive new liability for companies, chill free speech online and increase the number of reports funnelled to law enforcement, making it difficult to find credible threats.