Federal Court Rules FBI Watchlist Unconstitutional

September 5, 2019

A federal court has ruled that the "suspected terrorist" watchlist used by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security is unconstitutional. Judge Anthony J. Trenga held that the watchlist "imposes a substantial burden on Plaintiffs' exercise of their rights to international travel and domestic air travel" and "fails to provide constitutionally sufficient procedural due process." In 2011, documents obtained by EPIC under the Freedom of Information Act revealed the FBI's standards for adding and removing names from the watchlist and showed that individuals may remain on the FBI watch list even if charges are dropped or a case is dismissed. In 2018, EPIC obtained key records about Secure Flight, a Transportation Security Administration program that compares airline passenger records with various government watchlists. EPIC has long campaigned against the use of secret watchlists.

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