PRIVACY + SECURITY BLOG

News, Developments, and Insights

Babies on the No Fly List

Babies on the No Fly List

According to the AP [link no longer available]:

Infants have been stopped from boarding planes at airports throughout the United States because their names are the same as or similar to those of possible terrorists on the government’s “no-fly list.”

It sounds like a joke, but it’s not funny to parents who miss flights while scrambling to have babies’ passports and other documents faxed.

Ingrid Sanden’s 1-year-old daughter was stopped in Phoenix, Arizona, before boarding a flight home to Washington at Thanksgiving.

“I completely understand the war on terrorism, and I completely understand people wanting to be safe when they fly,” Sanden said. “But focusing the target a little bit is probably a better use of resources.”

The government’s lists of people who are either barred from flying or require extra scrutiny before being allowed to board airplanes grew markedly since the September 11, 2001, attacks.

Critics including the American Civil Liberties Union say the government doesn’t provide enough information about the people on the lists, so innocent passengers can be caught up in the security sweep if they happen to have the same name as someone on the lists. . . .

But for now, airlines still have the duty to check passengers’ names against those supplied by the government.

That job has become more difficult — since the 2001 attacks the lists have swelled from a dozen or so names to more than 100,000 names, according to people in the aviation industry who are familiar with the issue. They asked not to be identified by name because the exact number is restricted information.

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Councilman: Just What Does it Take for a Law to Be Vague?

Wiretap

To nobody’s surprise, my colleague and electronic surveillance law expert extraordinaire Orin Kerr at the VC beat everybody to the punch in announcing that the 1st Circuit reversed the panel in United States v. Councilman.  As Kerr concisely explains the panel decision in an earlier post:

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National Security, Terrorism, and the Bird Flu

Bird Flu Cartoon

This great cartoon by Tom Toles (Washington Post) captures what I’ve been blogging about (herehere, and here) with regard to national security, terrorism, and privacy.  We’re spending tons of money on elaborate ways to detect terrorists, such as Secure Flight, data mining, searches of bags in NYC subways, and so on.  Meanwhile, we’re not giving sufficient attention to an even greater threat — a potential bird flu pandemic.

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Terrorism, Deterrence, and Searching on the Subway

Subway Searches

Dave Hoffman (law, Temple) over at the Conglomerate blog, has written a very thoughtful retort to a recent post of mine (cross-posted at PrawfsBlawg and Balkinization) regarding the searching of baggage on NYC subways.  I argued that:

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