by Carlo Longino

Filed Under:
no fly, tsa

Legislation Looks To Create Better Redress System For No-Fly List, But Doesn't Really Define Better

from the heart-in-the-right-place dept

A big part of the TSA's security theater is the much-talked-about no-fly list. The only thing about the list is that it makes many more headlines for stopping five-year-olds and well-known US Senators than it does for actually stopping terrorist attacks. As has been pointed out before, it seems fairly unlikely that anybody intent on carrying out an attack would do so under their real name. Once you're on the watchlist, it's very difficult to get off, but a new bill passed in the House directs the Department of Homeland Security to establish a "timely and fair" redress system to replace TSA's often-criticized efforts. The bill doesn't clearly define how the process should work, apart from requiring the DHS to establish a whitelist of people who were on the no-fly list, but have proven to the government they're not terrorists. How does one do that? Your guess is as good as ours.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 6th, 2009 @ 5:18pm

    The no-fly list violates the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. It should be banned.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 6th, 2009 @ 5:28pm

    This list is nothing more than a dissident tracking system under the cover of the fascist sounding “homeland security” brand.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 6th, 2009 @ 5:42pm

    flying sucks

    I hate flying. And the whole tsa thing is one of the many reasons.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 6th, 2009 @ 6:23pm

    I used to love to fly and was happy to pay a luxury price for the privilege. Now I am afraid to fly.
    Well, not afraid of the flying part, but of the TSA and DHS and the power they have to take property, cause you to miss your flight with unnecessary interrogation, and even detain someone for looking nervous. They make me nervous, so of course they detain me, making me even more nervous next time.

    So now I don't fly if I can possibly avoid it, not even if the drive will take me two days. I am certainly not unique in my choices, and the airlines are declaring bankruptcy. Are they wondering where their customers went?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Nate, Feb 6th, 2009 @ 6:42pm

    Verifying the identities, under contract for TSA, of flagged individuals at check-in is actually the job my wife just started today. It's part of the Secure Flight Program, and it's goal is to take the vetting/ID process from Customs and Immigration and make it in-house to prevent misidentification.

    I really don't know much more than that since she just started, and I'm sure much more than that is secure information, anyway.


    "Secure Flight is a critical tool that will further improve aviation security and fix the major customer service issue of watch list misidentifications, a frustratingly common occurrence for travelers under the existing airline-based system," said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. "We know that threats to our aviation system persist, and Secure Flight will help us better protect the traveling public while creating a more consistent passenger prescreening process, ultimately reducing the number of misidentification issues."

    So, this has been in the works for a little while before this legislation.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Feb 6th, 2009 @ 6:47pm

    Re: Nate

    Verifying the identities, under contract for TSA, of flagged individuals at check-in is actually the job my wife just started today.

    And how would they have stopped the 11/9 attackers? They didn’t use false names. They had no criminal records—nothing to flag them up before they got on the planes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Dan, Feb 6th, 2009 @ 8:16pm

    Illusions of security

    The no fly list is the bush administration's version of the Kings new cloths. When it blocks Sen. Ted Kennedy and cannot discriminate between ex Sen. Ted Stevens wife and the singer Cat Stevens it would be an exaggeration to call it a blunt tool. The list is at this point so ponderous and so nebulous that it has become completely useless by virtue of the false positives and virtual lack of a conflict resolution. Imagine, a list of almost one million potential terrorists, even Hollywood couldn't dream up something this dumb. So now we have a huge force of quasi police, with little or no training, that have the power to ruin someones life with no chance of judicial review or recourse. That sounds an awful lot like Hitler's SS to me, a neo-cons wet dream for sure. The only good result I can see is the airline industry as we know it will fail and we can start over and build a better model. And to date they have yet to indite or convict a single terrorist that the TSA caught in screening, They have succeeded causing substantial damage to tens of thousands of travelers, many of which are loath to ever fly again.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    PaulT (profile), Feb 7th, 2009 @ 6:04am

    A friend of mine is getting married in Las Vegas later this year, and I have to be there as I'm the best man. While I'm looking forward to the time I'll have in the US, and I had a fantastic 3 months in the US pre-9/11, I'm dreading the flight.

    I have to renew my passport to get an RFI-enabled version - something I'm normally dead set against but I have no choice if I want to get in. I have a very common name, so it's quite possible that some version of my name will appear somewhere on this list, so I'm submitting my details months in advance to make sure I can clear up any errors. Once there, the nightmare of the TSA concerns me greatly.

    All for a 2 week vacation, for a normal young, white male. If I was brown, or I didn't have to go for such a special occasion, I might not bother and take my tourist money elsewhere. This is an experience I hear repeated all the time - people who are either completely put off from visiting the US on either business or pleasure (especially in my current industry, online gambling), or who visit once and swear never to do so again after the abuse they suffer getting into the country.

    But, remember, this is all to "protect" your "freedoms" because a group of terrorists decided to attack the US for change...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Jesse, Feb 7th, 2009 @ 8:03am

    I think it is very appropriate to call it a "white list." That is probably what you have to prove.

    "Hey! Look at my skin colour! I'm white! I CAN'T be a terrorist!"

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. icon
    PaulT (profile), Feb 8th, 2009 @ 3:54am


    Sadly, that's not far from the truth. So many people seem to think that muslim = terrorist and that muslim = brown. Neither is the case. If all muslims were terrorists, we'd all be dead by now - there are around 1.5 billion of them on this planet. Muslim is also not a race and there's plenty of white Eastern Europe, for instance, who could attack if infected with the right kind of fanaticism.

    I honestly think that next time there's a major terrorist attack on US soil, it's more likely to be a Timothy McVeigh than a Bin Laden. So much time and effort is spent by both the TSA and the public at large at attacking one group of people, it's relatively easy for an innocuous-looking white guy to slip through...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    DS, Feb 8th, 2009 @ 6:51am

    Re: Re: Nate

    At the time yes. The hope is though, at this point, when people with expired visa's take flying (not landing, or taking off) lessons for commercial grade aircraft, someone would have taken notice.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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