October 19, 2017
Issue: Religious Freedom
Muslim Advocates Criticizes Proposed DHS Rules on Invading Social Media Privacy
Muslim Advocates Submits Comment Regarding DHS Social Media Collection Proposal
Washington, DC – Yesterday, Muslim Advocates submitted public comments to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) condemning its proposal to collect and store in-depth social media information of visa holders, lawful permanent residents, and naturalized citizens. The public comments comes in response to a notice request from DHS outlining its new invasive data collection policies under the Privacy Act. This effort only represents the latest attempt by the Trump Administration to formalize discrimination against Muslims as official government policy.
As the comments state, “DHS’s incredibly expansive collection, retention, and sharing of highly sensitive information is problematic in itself. But when viewed in the context under which it arises, the purpose of this notice is clear: to target immigrants, particularly those who are Muslim.”
The comments also explain that “DHS’s policy will chill freedom of speech and association, invade the privacy of both immigrants and U.S. citizens through its unchecked collection of swaths of information on them, and create a discriminatory tier-based system between naturalized citizens and U.S.-born citizens—all without any evidence of a national security benefit. For all of these reasons, Muslim Advocates urges DHS to reconsider this deeply flawed and fundamentally misguided policy.”
According to Juvaria Khan, staff attorney for Muslim Advocates, “DHS’s social media policy reeks of animosity towards Muslims and immigrants.. There is no evidence that such a policy would benefit national security,–but it would certainly threaten freedom of speech and of religion. This social media collection, retention, and sharing would create a discriminatory and unconstitutional two-tier system between American-born and naturalized citizens. Make no mistake, this policy is just an attempt to strip the privacy rights from Americans in the digital age.”
Muslim Advocates is a national legal advocacy and educational organization that works on the frontlines of civil rights to guarantee freedom and justice for Americans of all faiths.