Reports indicate that the State Department will now require social media identifiers, email addresses, and phone numbers from nearly all visa applicants. EPIC submitted comments to the State Department opposing the plan to collect social media and personal communication information. EPIC urged the agency to retract the proposal, pointing out the substantial privacy, free expression, and security concerns the proposal raised. Last year, EPIC and the Brennan Center led a coalition of 55 privacy, civil liberties, and civil rights organizations in opposition to the State Department plan. EPIC, through a 2011 Freedom of Information lawsuit against the DHS, uncovered the first federal agency plan to monitor social media. Congress held hearings and the plan was suspended.
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