Tourists arriving from Britain should expect more intense scrutiny at U.S. borders, which may include handing over cell phone contacts and social media passwords. Those who do not cooperate will be refused entry into the country. The policy is part of a new vetting process from the Trump administration.
The policy would also include France and Germany, which are American allies. Aside from passwords and contacts, citizens of those countries could be subject to intense ideological interrogation and questioned about their personal finances. While American citizens are not subject to being searched at the borders, there are no set rules for foreign visitors.
The U.S. Border Patrol told the Guardian newspaper that anyone entering the United States is subject to having their electronic devices inspected. It did not comment on the turning over of personal data or questioning tourists on ideology.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) said that the border patrol is not allowed to deny entry to American citizens, but a foreigner who refuses to cooperate with inspection or questioning can be turned away at the border. To avoid possible problems, the EFF advises travelers to reduce the amount of data they are carrying and use cloud storage instead. If devices are inspected, they should be factory reset immediately afterward, and all passwords should be changed.
In the meantime, many travelers are considering visiting the U.S. only when it cannot be avoided. Those who must enter the country should consider filing U.S. Immigration form G-28, which will provide an attorney if they are detained at the border.