Avoid all but essential travel to the USA

By | Category: Travel news

This is the advice, according to The Guardian, that has been given by Susan Hall, head of technology and intellectual property team partner at law firm Clarke Willmott.

Why such advice?

Because of the concern that visitors from the UK and other countries could be forced to reveal personal data, as well as disclose financial information and face detailed ideological questioning. If you decline to provide the information, the paper argues, you might not be allowed into the country because an unwillingness to provide the information might be considered as being suspicious in the first place. The argument goes that if you have nothing to hide, why decline?

The paper cites, the Electronic Frontier Foundation which is a US non-profit organisation campaigning for digital civil rights, “Border agents cannot deny a US citizen admission to the country. However, if a foreign visitor declines, an agent may deny them entry”, it says. The EFF offers guidance fro US citizens; for non-US citizens the legal rights are little cloudy.

Will this happen or is this a non-story?

Certainly the US tourism industry would view with horror if such rules were introduced and someone fell foul of it and was not allowed into the USA. Journalists would pick upon this and it is the sort of story that would make headlines and outrage comment writers. The publicity alone would deter many people from travelling to the country on top of the people who are put off by the present US administration and have told opinion pollsters that they will not be travelling to the USA.

As the country doesn’t seems to be attracting the number of visitors it had planned due to the strength of the dollar, any further reduction in visitor numbers could be embarrassing for a country that has such a huge budget to attract tourists.

If the administration  has not already quietly told border protection officers to tread warily and only ask this information of those about whom they have reservations already then it should do so before the story escalates.

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