By Contributing Reporter
The authorities explain that the new requirement is an anti-terrorist measure, but critics are raising serious concerns regarding freedom of expression.
Visa applicants for the United States (USA) now need to communicate the names of the accounts that they have maintained on social media networks, like Twitter and Facebook, in the last five years.
The State Department also asks for the applicant’s phone numbers and e-mail addresses from the same period.
Citizens from 38 countries and territories are authorized to travel to the United States without a visa for business or pleasure for up to 90 days under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).
However, citizens of countries that are not eligible for the VWP, all travelers planning to stay longer than 90 days, and those intending to live in the USA, need to apply for a visa.
According to American media organizations, it is estimated that 15 million people per year will be affected by the change proposed by the Trump administration last year.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) criticized the measure, with the argument that it will have a discouraging effect on freedom of expression. For the ACLU, it’s very likely that people will start to censor themselves online since they’ll be aware of being watched by the government.