WASHINGTON: Muslim travellers, coming in or go­ing out of the United Sta­tes, are often asked to hand over their cellphones and share their passwords with US immigration officials, the NBC News reported on Tuesday.

The US TV channel repor­ted that 23 of the 25 travellers it interviewed were Muslims and although all showed evidence to prove they were US citizens, they still had to submit their pho­nes for a thorough checking.

All 25 citizens NBC News interviewed said that Cust­oms and Border Prote­ction (CBP) officers at airports and border crossings dema­nded that they hand over their phones and their passwords, or unlock them.

Those subjected to this search included businessmen, couples, senior citizens and families with young kids. Some were detained for hours when they tried to enter or leave the US. None were on terror watch lists.

One had a speeding ticket. Some were asked about their religion and their ethnic origins, and had the validity of their US citizenship questioned.

Data provided to NBC News by the US Department of Homeland Security sho­w­ed that cellphone searches by bor­der agents had increased fivefold in just one year, from fewer than 5,000 in 2015 to nearly 25,000 in 2016.

The report predicted that “2017 will be a blockbuster year” for such searches as more than 5,000 devices were searched in February alone, more than in all of 2015.

“This really puts at risk both the security and liberty of the American people,” said Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, on NBC News.

Published in Dawn, March 15th, 2017

Opinion

Chained to the rivers
Updated 18 Jan 2021

Chained to the rivers

There are many state actors who must shoulder the blame for their present condition.
Brave new world
18 Jan 2021

Brave new world

Covid-19 is bringing about a reassessment of the role of markets.
The war comes home
18 Jan 2021

The war comes home

The Capitol riots included several former members of the US military.

Editorial

Updated 18 Jan 2021

More ignominy for PIA

Decades of mismanagement, nepotism and political opportunism were bound to take their toll.
18 Jan 2021

Agriculture woes

AGRICULTURE is the lifeline of Pakistan’s economy. It is a source of livelihood for two-thirds of the country’s...
18 Jan 2021

Internet access

AS the Covid-19 pandemic rages on, and shows few signs of dissipating, one of the many lessons policymakers should ...
Updated 17 Jan 2021

Foreign funding case

THE Election Commission of Pakistan has summoned both the PML-N and PPP on Monday in connection with the foreign...
17 Jan 2021

Vaccine procurement

ALL eyes are on the government as it pledges to roll out the Covid-19 vaccination programme to about 80m citizens by...
17 Jan 2021

Makli ‘renovation’

THERE are fears that the recently conducted ‘renovation’ work carried out at the Makli necropolis may rob the...