News in brief: US requires social media handles; Putin points to ‘patriotic’ hackers; Snapchat Spectacles arrive

Your daily round-up of some of the other stories in the news

US goes ahead with requiring social media details

Heading for the US? You could be asked to provide your social media handles if you’re one of the visa applicants the Trump administration thinks warrants closer attention than the standard visa vetting procedure.

The supplementary questionnaire was approved on May 23, although Reuters reports that it has only been approved by the Office of Management and Budget for six months rather than the usual three years.

If you’re asked to fill in the supplementary questionnaire, it is – at the moment – voluntary, but the form warns that not offering up the details asked for could mean delays to your application, or even being denied a visa.

As well as your social media details, the supplementary form, which could take an hour to fill out, also asks for 15 years’ worth of detailed biographical information, including the names and dates of birth of your siblings, your employment history for the past 15 years, your travel history and address history over that time, your current and ex partners’ names and dates of birth and all the phone numbers and emails you’ve used over the past five years.

US officials reckon it will affect up to 65,000 visa applicants a year, or 0.5% of applicants.

Putin points to ‘patriotically minded’ individual hackers

In a small shift from his previous denials that Russia could be in any way have been involved in hacking attacks on politicians in other countries – including the theft of Democratic party emails, among others – Vladimir Putin acknowledged that “patriotic” individual Russians might have indulged in hacking off their own bats, Reuters reported on Friday.

Speaking to the media in St Petersburg, Putin said: “If they are patriotically minded, they start to make their own contribution to what they believe is the good fight against those who speak badly about Russia. Is that possible? Theoretically it is possible.”

Putin added: “Hackers are free people, just like artists who wake up in the morning in a good mood and start painting. The hackers are the same.” Putin said that hackers can’t “have a radical impact on an election campaign in another country.”

Hillary Clinton might wince at that one, especially as Putin went on to say that Russia had been encouraged by President Trump’s promises to improve ties between their two countries.

Snapchat Spectacles land in Europe

Snapchat, the photo app beloved of millennials and of politicians trying to connect with millennials, has finally launched its Spectacles in Europe, several months after they appeared in the US.

When the Spectacles, which sport an inbuilt camera capable of uploading video to your phone and to the internet, appeared in the US, concern was sparked about privacy issues, reminding people of the discomfort around the now defunct Google Glass. YouGov reported at the time of the US launch that around half of all adults would be uncomfortable around both a stranger and a friend wearing Spectacles.

If you do decide you want a pair, they’ll cost you £129.99 in the UK, and you can buy them from pop-up booths in London, Berlin, Paris and Venice, or online, and we’d encourage you to have another look at our tips on how to secure your Snapchat account.

Catch up with all of today’s stories on Naked Security


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