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CPJ calls on Homeland Security secretary to reject password proposal

A traveler arrives at New York's JFK airport. Suggestions by the Homeland Security Secretary that passengers be asked for social media passwords would impact journalists. (Reuters/Brendan McDermid)

The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly's suggestion to a committee hearing that the U.S. could request social media profile and password information as a condition to entering the country. Such requirements would have an impact on journalists by undermining their ability to protect sources and work product, and would represent an escalation of the press freedom challenges journalists face at U.S. borders.

Today CPJ sent a joint letter to Kelly urging him to reject any proposal to require the provision of log in information to online accounts as a condition of entry to the U.S. The letter follows a statement we made along with nearly 100 professional journalist associations and press freedom organizations, opposing such demands as a direct assault on fundamental rights.

The proposal would set a dangerous precedent that could ultimately affect travelers around the world. CPJ joined more than two dozen organizations in requesting that the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the High Commissioner for Refugees, and the International Organization for Migration and their associated experts investigate the proposal.

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