EPIC FOIA Notes #8
September 27, 2005
TRAVELERS CONTINUE TO STRUGGLE WITH WRONGFUL
WATCH LIST MATCHES
for full document—pdf,
Documents obtained by EPIC from the Transportation Security Administration
under the Freedom of Information Act reveal nearly a hundred
complaints from airline passengers between November 2003 and
May 2004. The most common complaint from passengers is that they
have been wrongly placed on a government watch list. Numerous
complaints show passengers' frustration with the agency's failure
to resolve their misidentification problems.
Watch list accuracy and redress rights of American travelers.
The Transportation Security Administration, which is part of
the Department of Homeland Security, maintains "selectee" and "no
fly" watch lists of individuals suspected of posing a risk to air
travel safety. When a passenger checks in for a flight, he
may be improperly labeled a threat if his name matches an entry
on one of the watch lists—even if he is not the person on the
list. People who are identified as watch list matches may experience
long screening delays or not be allowed to board the plane.
The government has not solved the problems that lead airline passengers
to be wrongly labelled as as watch list matches, and innocent individuals
still have a hard time clearing their names.