Two notable differences are: (1) the form from Citibank’s website has a toll free phone number you can call to opt out; the form in the letter does not; (2) the addresses of the processing centers where the opt out forms are to be sent are different.
So my friend then called Citibank to find out what was going on. Had a fraudster acquired a card in her name? Was the letter an elaborate fishing scheme?
My friend recounted the conversation the best she could so I could recreate it on this blog. This is reconstructed from her memory, so it’s not exact. Although the transcript below doesn’t contain the precise words spoken, it hopefully will capture the gist of the conversation.
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.
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:
This great cartoon by Tom Toles (Washington Post) captures what I’ve been blogging about (here, here, 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.
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:
Structural arguments are still quite in vogue these days. Federalism versus a national government. Judicial “activism” versus judicial restraint. Filibuster rule versus no filibuster rule. All of these arguments purport to be about structural rules, and they are independent of ideology insofar as they could be argued by liberals or conservatives depending upon who happens to be in power at the moment.
One reason (although not the only one) that judicial review is always under attack is because the Constitution is very hard to amend. The Supreme Court is often viewed to be the final word on hot-button issues such as abortion. Although there are many cases where the Court is unfairly viewed as the final word, where Congress can address an issue but doesn’t, there are certainly instances where the Court is, in practice, virtually the final word. I say “virtually” because the Court is never really the true final word. The Constitution can always be amended. . . . yeah, and my articles really can get accepted by the Harvard Law Review.
Over at choof.org, my friend Chris Hoofnagle (Director, Electronic Privacy Information Center West Coast Office) points out a rather unusual new government database consisting of lactating mothers participating in the “Workplace Lactation Program.” This database is regulated by the Privacy Act of 1974, which requires that the government provide notice in the Federal Register about its plans for the database and how the data will be used. According to the notice, the data will include the “[p]articipant’s name, employing office and office symbol, work and home telephone numbers, signed agreement forms, dates and times of lactation room use, and physician’s approval slips and forms (if applicable).”