My Instagram account is looking pretty slim lately. I try not to overwhelm my social media feeds with pictures of my 1-year-old, even as though he’s clearly the most adorable human to ever walk the Earth. Instead, I post pictures of images captured on my daily commute. I didn’t create them, and they’re never staged, all I do is share with what speaks to me with the world. I’d never call my self an artist, but I would say that I’m a decent curator of guerrilla art.
So, what’s the problem with that? Nothing… as far as I knew. I thought that this was an innocuous pass-time until I read about the new “Social Media vetting” involved with crossing the border into the United States.
“If that sort of rule is enacted and they’re required to provide passwords or other things related to their social media, people will really have to start thinking about whether they want to continue to travel across the border”- BCCLA on CBC
It has recently come to light that US border agents can insist that visitors to their country give up their social media passwords (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.) so that they can review travelers’ accounts and judge whether they are welcome to enter the country. If you refuse to offer the passwords, they can refuse you entry into the country, simple as that.
My Instagram account shows that I have pride in civic rebellion, that I’m a left-leaning Canadian woman with Democratic sympathies, I may become a problem for the establishment, I clearly *have* a problem with the establishment, and that I am someone who would definitely be marching in solidarity with US citizens in the next Women’s March. And as the US becomes more and more restrictive to people’s liberties, this may limit my ability to visit friends and family in the future. Even if it doesn’t, my name will most likely be added to a list for future evaluation.
Let’s be honest. My Instagram account has a much more energetic and optimistic political-life than I do – I’m snapping pictures of art that other people took the time and effort to create. Regardless, I now own these messages and everything that they say about me. If the biggest penalty is I can’t add my 70 cents on a US dollar to their economy, I can deal with that. I recognize that have the privilege to be able to stand by my beliefs, but it’s just one more thing that makes me want to fight the good fight, you know?
What do you think? Am I over-reacting? Is giving up Social Media passwords a small price to pay for entering an entirely different country, or is it an invasion of privacy?
Twitter: Social media passwords, privacy, and border control. When #BigBrother actually is watching http://bit.ly/2lGdrbg
Facebook: A picture is worth a thousand words, and that might be a problem. http://bit.ly/2lGdrbg