President Trump: Travel bans, technology, and TSA

Kyle Kissinger, Contributing Writer

Meanwhile in Trump’s America, President Trump’s attempts to enforce a travel ban on the citizens of Muslim countries have repeatedly failed. His proposed ban would prevent entry to the United States by citizens of Muslim countries for 90 days and the admission of refugees for 120 days. This ban would include green-card holders and foreign visitors.

Trump’s original travel ban resulted in chaos breaking out in airports due to the detaining of travelers and mass protests. This first ban was ultimately suspended on February 9th as courts found executive order unnecessary – reasoning stating that the government had no proof that these travelers presented a threat to national security.

In response, Trump tweeted out – “SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!” – which comes across highly unprofessional. Imagine if Obama did this every single time Congress blocked a bill during his administration? It is absurd.

Trump signed a newer, and clearer version of the travel ban on March 6th, dropping Iraq from the originally proposed list of seven blocked countries. On March 15th, the ban was once again suspended as a nationwide order was issued from Hawaii. As part of this proposed travel ban, the Trump administration had been considering the possibility of requiring all foreign travelers to disclose all social media accounts or cell phone contacts to TSA. If the visitor refused, the traveler could be denied entry into the country.

On one hand, these screenings could potentially provide informationand stop a future terrorist act. But at the same time, not only is it a major invasion of privacy, but it is a waste of time. In the small chance that these screenings actually do catch something, is it worth all of the resources it will take to start this program? Not many details are known of how this system would be implemented, but I can only imagine that it would only add to the already grueling, long process that the TSA already is at the airport.

The idea of cell phone screenings opens so many questions – and not positive ones. What would the government continue to do with this information? Would they continue to monitor a traveler during their visit, or just on arrival? What is stopping a traveler from claiming that they don’t have any social media accounts?

If someone truly had malicious intentions for the country, I’m sure they would not be disclosing that information over Facebook Messenger or Twitter. The concept of cell phone screenings in general seems very flawed.

This proposal is just reminiscent of last year when the FBI was attempting to force Apple to create a tool for them to bypass the lockscreen of iPhones (starting with the San Bernardino terrorist). Apple was fully against the idea, Apple CEO Tim Cook stating it was “an unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers. We oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand.” Apple believed that – if created – these tools would fall into the wrong hands and be used for the wrong reasons (if not by the FBI themselves). The exact same thing could happen here.