Luxembourgers may have to hand over personal data to enter US

People travelling from Luxembourg to the US could be forced, if a new “extreme vetting” policy comes into force, to reveal their social media passwords, mobile phone contacts and financial data to avoid being detained.

According to the Wall Street Journal, US President Donald Trump’s administration is considering such a policy, which could include tourists from the 38 countries participating in the visa-waiver programme.

Luxembourg is one of the 38 visa-waiver countries, whose citizens require an approved ESTA travel authorisation to visit the US.

Anyone holding a passport from any of the 38 countries may visit the US under the programme, while people travelling with a passport from any other country must obtain a visa in advance.

A few months ago, the ESTA application form offered people the option, if they wished, to provide information about their social network presence.

The Wall Street Journal said the Trump administration claimed travellers could also be questioned about their ideology when entering the US.

The US customs and border patrol told the Guardian: “All international travellers arriving to the US are subject to US Customs and Border Protection inspection.

“This inspection may include electronic devices such as computers, disks, drives, tapes, mobile phones and other communication devices, cameras, music and other media players and any other electronic or digital devices.

“Keeping America safe and enforcing our nation’s laws in an increasingly digital world depends on our ability to lawfully examine all materials entering the US.”

The Luxembourg foreign office website provides no information about the potential “extreme vetting” policy, and the suggestions of a policy shift have not been confirmed by an official statement from the US.

According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, those travelling to the US should take care when choosing which electronic devices to take with them and, if necessary, take an old mobile phone and save all personal data before travelling.