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Airplane TSA Screening

For some time, many people have been wrongly placed on the airline no fly list or extra screening list. I blogged about some accounts of this here and here. Now, according to the AP, the TSA will finally try to clean up its lists:

The Bush administration is checking the accuracy of a watch list of suspected terrorists banned from traveling on airliners in the U.S. and will probably cut the list in half, the head of the Transportation Security Administration said Wednesday.

Kip Hawley told Congress that the more accurate list, combined with a new passenger screening system, should take care of most incidents of people wrongly being prevented from boarding a flight or frequently being picked out for additional scrutiny.

But even pruned lists don’t address some of the central problems with their use. The lists have been created without any transparency, and there has been little to no due process for people to challenge their inclusion on the lists beyond trying to navigate the TSA bureaucracy.

Another problem is the sheer stupidity by which the lists are administered. I was quite amused by this example of dumbness from the article:

Among [those testifying at a Senate hearing] was Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, who complained that his wife, Catherine, was being identified as “Cat” Stevens and frequently stopped due to confusion with the former name of the folk singer now known as Yusuf Islam, whose name is on the list. In 2004 he was denied entry into the U.S., but officials declined to explain why.

Related Posts:

Your Terrorist Risk Score (Dec. 2006)

The Death of Secure Flight? (Feb. 2006)

Airline Screening List Mathematics (Dec. 2005)

30,000 Innocent Travelers Flagged on Airline Screening Lists (Dec. 2005)

The Airline Screening Playset: Hours of Fun! (Oct. 2005)

Originally Posted at Concurring Opinions

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This post was authored by Professor Daniel J. Solove, who through TeachPrivacy develops computer-based privacy training, data security training, HIPAA training, and many other forms of awareness training on privacy and security topics. Professor Solove also posts at his blog at LinkedIn. His blog has more than 1 million followers.

Professor Solove is the organizer, along with Paul Schwartz, of the Privacy + Security Forum and International Privacy + Security Forum, annual events designed for seasoned professionals.

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