back to article Want to come to the US? Be prepared to hand over your passwords if you're on Trump's hit list

The new boss of the US Department of Homeland Security plans to dig deeper into the lives of some of those wishing to enter the Land of the FreeTM – even going as far as demanding web passwords and banking records. In a Q&A with the House Homeland Security Committee on Tuesday, John Kelly said the previous administration had …


  1. DavCrav Silver badge

    And this is why I cancelled my trip to the United States.

    1. macjules Silver badge

      Funny that. I just cancelled a trip this morning to the USA. I preferred to switch to a rather pleasant visit to our offices in India instead.

      1. Paul 135

        You do realize that India has FAR stricter immigration laws than the USA, right?

        1. DiViDeD Silver badge

          But this is not about immigration. This is about visiting the US, or even changing flights on a long haul at a US airport!

          Doesn't bother me though, never wanted to go there, even as a child, and all my long haul flying involves transferring in the ME or SE Asia.

      2. Paul

        I used to go to the USA two or three times a year to visit relatives and for a holiday, spending thousands each time on a hotel, car hire, subsistence, gifts etc.

        I started to cut down after "9/11" because getting into the country made me feel like a criminal, even though I am middle class white european male to the 4th generaion with a UK passport etc.

        I've not been in three years now, and I estimate it's cost their economy over $15000... and counting.

        I know there are many others like me. I've heard of Chinese companies trying to send people to do trade deals being turned away, and spending millions in Europe instead as they are welcomed with open arms.

        Surely His Highness Donald and all his business owning buddies would want the tourists's money rather than turning them away in droves?

    2. Old Handle

      Pretty soon it will be no one but terrorist left who want to visit. I guess that will make them easy to spot though.

      1. gudguy1a

        Sad statement but maybe true...

        @ Old Handle - you got quite a point there, this situation is starting to make ME want to leave the US. That is, while this looney, errr, certain individual put into the presidency by the electoral college is in that office. Or rather, as soon as the next election comes around - we can do better... We definitely want folks to come in, after this social media invasive vetting episode is over.

        Now just imagine how many folks are going to create fake accounts, just seed it with just enough true info - and no, it may not extend very far into the past but it will be there...

    3. Gray

      Our Huddled Masses

      And this is why I cancelled my trip to the United States.

      We'd prefer that all of you stay away. Go elsewhere. We'll be busy building a wall all around our borders, then huddling down in abject terror at the feet of Trump Terrific who has vowed to not only Make America Great Again® but to Keep America Safe®.

      Perhaps when the crisis has passed...

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Our Huddled Masses

        I was looking forward at some time in the not too distant future to follow spring up the Cascades from California to Canada with yomps up Crater Lake and Mount Rainier (which I could view from our garden as a child). I have a feeling there might be a few huddled masses up there if Ms Atwoods now seemingly prophetic book gets any more accurate.

        One hopes the crisis will pass but logic no longer works.

      2. Haku

        Re: Our Huddled Masses

        "We'll be busy building a wall all around our borders

        Reminds me of the dystopian anime film "Vexille" where Japan sealed its borders physically and electronically with a giant EM dome so nobody could enter/leave or communicate with the outside world.

        Spoiler alert:

        Years later the US navy breaks in and discovers everyone had been infected with nanotechnology that replaced all their cells which turned them into synthetic people, but something went wrong with the nanobots because everyone lost their free will and became lifelike machines.

    4. Oh Homer
      Big Brother

      Papiere bitte!

      (To the tune of Horst Wessel Lied)

      SS Commander Kelly: Ay vork für sie vone man, unt hiz nam-e ist Donald Troomp, unt he tolt me ‘Kelly, zecure ze border,’ unt zat ist vot ay am goingt to do!

      Fräulein Rice: You vere only chozen by heem, meine liebchen, aber you vork für us. Ay am shure zat ist vot you meant

      SS Command Kelly: Nope!

      Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer.

      1. harmjschoonhoven

        Re: Papiere bitte!

        Troomp Drumpf

      2. Chika

        Re: Papiere bitte!


        Considering Drumpf's views on certain religions and various other political issues, especially his posturing following the temporary injunction on his executive order regarding certain people entering the US, comparing The Donald to The Adolf seems...

        Well, consider how they came to power. These will be trying times for the remaining branches of the US government to make sure that Drumpf stays in his place and does not change things to suit himself and the minority that voted him in.

        Anyway, with Godwin's law well and truly invoked...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Papiere bitte!

          Godwin's Law is not automatically invoked if the comparison is apt, or at least backed up with some sort of non-spurious reasoning. In fact, Godwin had something to say on this very issue. If we are going to make the comparison, perhaps we should include references to their respective staffs:

          In order to keep America safe, Kelly said he would need between 5,000 and 10,000 new staff. However, he would accept fewer provided they were properly trained and could do their jobs efficiently.

          So up to 10K new staff if they are all a bunch of incompetent nincompoops but a handful if they are capable individuals?! Pardon my sophistry here, but OUCH! How did the Nazi party leadership fare in terms of making ridiculous public announcements and then proceeding to ram their policies down the throats of any and all? Might there be an apt comparison to be made here?

        2. Oh Homer

          Homer's Law

          The probability that legitimately comparing one far-right nationalist to another will result in an attempt to stifle such criticism by invoking a meaningless aphorism coined by some American lawyer.

    5. Syntax Error

      Its probably one of the reasons they bought out this policy. To put people from everywhere off going there.

    6. malle-herbert

      Almost makes you want to create a fake Facebook account with the password set to : "fuckyou"...

      1. skswales

        Or - GoStickYourHeadInAPig... Share and Enjoy!

      2. Jim-234

        The fun that can be had with passwords

        The last time I was doing a bit of international travel, I setup my laptop with a encrypted boot partition that hid a completely plain vanilla install of Linux Mint with no personal data.

        I had fun setting the password to a nice long sentence guaranteed to offend bureaucrats...

        So you need my password... sure... did you want me to write it down or tell it to you?

    7. tr1ck5t3r

      Its only a compliance, kneejerk and gullibility test, the NSA already have access to your systems and everything about you. Just look at FACTA for examples of your bank statements being in US hands.

    8. g e

      Don't forget the financial aspect, also

      Vote with you wallets. Yeah lots of American-owned components are in non-American products and you can't completely anal-yse everything you buy but you can divert your spending away from them along with your tourism for sure.

    9. FuzzyWuzzys

      Yet another reason I will never set foot in the States now. I'd love to go but the fact that the US Gov treats everyone like a criminal now, it's simply of limits. It's sad as I'm sure the people are lovely, unfortunately they just elected a bunch of paranoid freaks to run their country.

    10. Eddy Ito

      This is why every country should invite Trump for a visit. Just make sure he hands over his Twitter password.

    11. Andrew Moore

      I threatened to cancel a training course that would have taken place in the US. It's now been moved to Germany.

    12. Hollerithevo

      I'm stuck with going, but...

      I have friends there and also one business meeting I've tacked on. I am taking zero equipment with me. I have the password to my moribund Facebook account and to the one Twitter account in my real name. I hope to take enough cash to avoid having to use any ATMs or record-collecting devices. I do not intend to phone home during my stay.

      I then hope not to have to return. The Person to Contact in my passport is my spouse, who is the same sex as I am, so I am not being totally paranoid. Those who like security services are often little brownshirts who love the fact that they can ruin your day, if not your life. I've dealt with one of these squirts and never want that experience escalated.

  2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    "Want to come to the US?"

    Don't think so.

  3. BongoJoe

    It's not so much as wanting to visit the US but wanting to go anywhere where a connecting flight is needed from the US.

    1. Dr Scrum Master

      It's not so much as wanting to visit the US but wanting to go anywhere where a connecting flight is needed from the US.

      There's an opportunity for some airlines and airports here!

      1. Blank Reg

        When Toronto expanded the airport a few years ago one of the reasons was to attract more connecting flights away from US airports. I expect such traffic will be seeing a healthy increase this year.

        1. Ol'Peculier

          I flew from Toronto to Manchester last year. Via Chicago. Which meant I still needed to go through the ESTA shenanigans even though I was only in the airport long enough to have a couple of beers and something to eat.


    2. Hollerithevo

      It's getting easy to avoid that

      I fly to South America reasonably often and usually went through the States. A few years ago I had a tiresome run-in with security staff while in transit (hello, Miami) and decided: never again. It turns out that I can fly easily to Mexico or Costa Rica from the UK and then connect south, or fly to Frankfurt or Madrid and then cross directly to, say, Buenos Aires. So now I do.

    3. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Connecting flights

      Flew to Mexico a month or so after 11/9 and landed at some pokey airport in Florida to re-fuel and had to spend 4 hours getting off the plane, collecting baggage and then going back through customs to get back on the plane when as simple re-fueling would have been infinitely safer and less annoying. We knew it was bad when even the normally totally de-humanised US border guards apologised for the stupidity.

    4. dbayly

      That will be a self correcting problem. Expect Canadian and Mexican hubs to become popular.

  4. Len Goddard

    What happens

    ... if you don't have any social media accounts?

    Obviously an anti-social sociopath - send him home.

    1. macjules Silver badge

      Re: What happens

      Well doh! You mean that you have never once read a Tweet from the Great Leader?

      1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

        Re: What happens

        "Well doh! You mean that you have never once read a Tweet from the Great Leader?"

        (sheepishly) No, I really haven't. Is this a mandatory reading? Any repercussions/repressions for missing out?

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: What happens

          I've never read ANY tweet. I lost interest in short text based communications back in the days of talk.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: What happens

            You realise your reply was 104 characters, right?

            1. Pat Att

              Re: What happens

              Well pwned there.

            2. jake Silver badge

              Re: What happens

              AC, you realize you counted 104 characters? Most of my fanbois just hang my every word, hanging on to every character is just being silly.

              Just to point out the obvious, I don't in general type several dozen words when a couple of handfuls will do. However, here at ElReg I can post several hundred words per post, should I feel the need. No need to break it into 140 characters or less, it seems most commentards here are quite capable of maintaining a coherent thought across multiple paragraphs. Unlike the featherbrained twits, apparently.

        2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

          Re: What happens

          "(sheepishly) No, I really haven't. Is this a mandatory reading?"

          My sources tell me that the Tweets from The Great LeaderTM shall soon be compiled and issued to the population as The Little Orange BookTM.

      2. yossarianuk

        Re: What happens

        You can read tweets without an account.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What happens

      No problem, the TSA/DHS are not very smart, just craft a few dozen fake social accounts and use them. "Oh look, this guy tweeted 'USA number one, joe!' He must me okay! Go right on in there, buddy!"

      You can visit the USA, just keep to New York, Washington state, Oregon, and California. Those will be your best bet for a nice visit and the fewest number of noisy Trump-supporting morons who will cast a dim view on anyone visiting them (and spending money. oops!) from "places that we don't never done heard of. duhhh!"

      The Red States are all filled with angry, whites from immigrant families who are so afraid of their own shadows they cannot function without a gun in hand or at the ready. "Close those borders!" is their cry, and it comes some 240 years too late. These idiots worship three things; guns, tRump, and Putin! And you will very often see them waving a giant American flag and not having a clue what the real America stands for. Hint; we're an immigrant nation with open borders. Having served in the military during the Reagan years I can tell you without a doubt these tRump supporters are all scumbags and as unAmerican as you can get, and every one is a 100% pussy. Not a real man among the lot, hence the guns.

      1. Gray

        Re: What happens

        You can visit the USA, just keep to New York, Washington state, Oregon, and California.

        Sorry, Charlie... that won't work. You'd best stay clear of eastern Washington, eastern Oregon, and northern California. Those are hotbeds of rural discontent seeking The Trump Deliverance®. It's the more populous western portions of WA and OR, and the southern portion of CA that rejected the Joy of Trump.®

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: What happens

          Uh, just a second Grey. I live in Northern California. I do not know a single person who voted for or approves of the big, fat orange idiot-in-chief, nor what he is attempting to do to OUR, not HIS, country.

          Eastern WA & OR ... well, the closer you get to Western Idaho (by land area), the sorrier I feel for you.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: What happens

            And my wife is from the USA. Still, I dont look forward to giving money to the US. I will travel to the US in july to see friends and family.. but if not for that reason, I would not travel there. And now to pay for STA, etc.. and dont make a mistake etc etc.

            Note: never lie to a federal agent, it is a federal crime.

      2. Andy Tunnah

        Re: What happens

        For a minute there I thought I was reading a sincere post from reddit. That is A+ writing, very nearly got me HL+S'erd

      3. Jamie Jones Silver badge

        Re: What happens

        But Mr/Ms Anon - you can't blame them for being careful. Don't you know there are mussie terrorists hiding under your bed?

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What happens

        "every one is a 100% pussy"

        So says the anonymous coward. LOL

      5. Oh Homer

        Breeding anti-American sentiment

        I'm fairly ranty about America's less attractive qualities (and equally my own country), but I keep reminding myself that there is good and bad everywhere (I've seen more than my fair share outside of America), and ultimately there are a lot of good people in America, even in the dreaded Red States. I've met a few Texans who made my heart swell with their compassion and generosity, and there are aspects to Texan culture that are both homely and romantic, but equally there's a monstrous dark side, mainly borne out of fear of losing those values.

        I'm not American, or Christian (or even theist), and I utterly despise guns, "patriotism" and neoliberal politics, but I refuse to hate good people based on the prevailing culture they were born into, even if they parrot those ideals unconsciously. People are individuals, not political agendas. My own father was one of the kindest men you could have hoped to meet, but he was also swept up by the tide of racism prevalent in the 70s, courtesy of extremists like Enoch Powell. I know first hand what it means when good people are corrupted by extremist propaganda.

        Trump's hysterical polemics do not help the America people. He is not a worthy ambassador to his country, and he is certainly no statesman, much less a gentleman. At a time when America needs to show the world its best qualities, we have another Enoch Powell breeding fear and loathing, and as much as I cannot resist reacting negatively to that malice, I have to remind myself that not every ordinary, decent, hard-working American is the bogeyman.


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