Feb 21, 2017

Privacy hawks slam idea of checking social media of foreign visitors

Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly (Matthias Schrader / AP)

A coalition of pro-privacy forces are aghast at the idea of the Department of Homeland Security requiring people entering the country to hand over their social media passwords:

"No government agency should undermine security, privacy, and other rights with a blanket policy of demanding passwords from individuals."

Why now: The groups are responding to comments from new DHS Secretary John Kelly at a congressional hearing earlier this month. "We want to get on their social media, with passwords: What do you do, what do you say?" He added that it was one of multiple ideas on the table.

Key context: Officials started asking for some foreigners to identify their online accounts in the waning days of the Obama administration, Politico reported. But questions about surveillance and immigration have taken on more resonance after Trump banned travel from seven Muslim-majority countries in January.

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Assault weapons ban dies in Virginia Senate despite Democratic control

Gun-rights ralliers at a protest outside the Virginia Capitol Building in January. Photo ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP via Getty Images.

An assault weapons ban died in the Virginia Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday despite a Democratic majority in the assembly, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: Democrats flipped the Virginia House and Senate last year after campaigning hard on gun control. The assault weapons bill would have banned future transfers and sales of all assault weapons in the state.

What we know: Deadly Storm Dennis whips at England, Wales and Ireland

Photo: OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images.

At least two deaths are being attributed to Storm Dennis on Monday as it continues to strike at parts of England, Wales and Ireland, per AccuWeather.

The big picture: Dennis is the second-strongest nontropical storm ever recorded in the North Atlantic Ocean. Its hurricane-force winds and heavy rains have caused widespread flooding across the United Kingdom. The army has been deployed in the U.K. to help with flood relief.

Go deeperArrow30 mins ago - Science

Coronavirus cases rise as 14 American evacuees infected

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

14 Americans evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship tested positive for the novel coronavirus before being flown in a "specialist containment" on a plane repatriating U.S. citizens back home, the U.S. government said early Monday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 1,775 people and infected more than 70,000 others. Most cases and all but five of the deaths have occurred in mainland China.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health