Watch Lists

Terrorist watch lists including the No Fly list

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Four people enjoying vintage airline lounge

Government Placing Itself at Top of New Air Travel Caste System

By Hugh Handeyside, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 3:42pm
A new report from the Government Accountability Office shows that the government is going easy on itself when it comes to aviation security screening, and in the process it is stretching the concept of watchlisting to the breaking point. Not only has the Transportation Security Administration expanded its use of blacklists for security screening to identify passengers who may be "unknown threats," but it also has compiled vast whitelists of individuals—including members of Congress, federal judges, and millions of Department of Defense personnel—who are automatically eligible for expedited screening at airports. These changes have made a broken watchlisting system even more arbitrary, unfair, and discriminatory.
A Great Day for Seven Americans Formerly on the No Fly List

A Great Day for Seven Americans Formerly on the No Fly List

By Noa Yachot, Communications Strategist, ACLU at 11:19am

An extraordinarily secret government blacklist just got a little bit less secret.

Seven American citizens who were banned by the government from air travel received word yesterday evening that they are cleared to fly. For them, the notice ends…

Victory: No Fly List Process Ruled Unconstitutional

Victory: No Fly List Process Ruled Unconstitutional

By Hina Shamsi, Director, ACLU National Security Project & Hugh Handeyside, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 12:00am

A secret government watchlist that traps innocent Americans in a Kafkaesque nightmare was dealt a major blow yesterday.

A federal court in Oregon struck down as unconstitutional the government's system for challenging inclusion on the No Fly…

TSA Once Again Considering Using Commercial Data To Profile Passengers

TSA Once Again Considering Using Commercial Data To Profile Passengers

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 11:09am

The TSA has issued a “Market Research Announcement” in which the agency expresses a desire to expand its Pre-Check whitelist program by allowing private companies to carry out risk analysis of Americans that would determine whether they…

The TSA’s First 11 Years

The TSA’s First 11 Years

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 12:21pm

November 25 marked the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Homeland Security Act, which created the sprawling Department of Homeland Security. Included in this new behemoth agency was another agency that had been created a year earlier, the Transportation…

The Broken No-Fly List Process Needs Fixing

The Broken No-Fly List Process Needs Fixing

By Hugh Handeyside, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 4:50pm

Update (10/3/14): The federal judge decided in court today that our clients will be notified by January whether they are on the No Fly List or not. Those who are still on the list will also be told why, so they can challenge their placement. 

The…

Numbers Tell the Story of Our Government's Watchlisting Binge

Numbers Tell the Story of Our Government's Watchlisting Binge

By Hugh Handeyside, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 4:56pm

The government is adding people to its already bloated watchlisting system at breakneck pace, and it's still hungry for more. That's the unavoidable conclusion from documents published yesterday in The Intercept.

Those documents vindicate our…

The U.S. Government Can Brand You a Terrorist Based on a Facebook Post. We Can't Let Them Make up the Rules.

The U.S. Government Can Brand You a Terrorist Based on a Facebook Post. We Can't Let Them Make up the Rules.

By Arjun Sethi, ACLU at 12:17pm

This piece originally appeared at the Guardian's Comment is Free. 

The US government's web of surveillance is vast and interconnected. Now we know just how opaque, inefficient and discriminatory it can be.

As we were reminded again…

Victory! Federal Court Recognizes Constitutional Rights of Americans on the No-Fly List

Victory! Federal Court Recognizes Constitutional Rights of Americans on the No-Fly List

By Nusrat Choudhury, Staff Attorney, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 2:31pm

A federal court took a critically important step late yesterday towards placing a check on the government's...

The Burdens of Total Surveillance

The Burdens of Total Surveillance

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 1:33pm

Last week’s Washington Post report that the CIA had requested that Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev be placed on a terrorist watch list raises an interesting point about total surveillance societies: in addition to all their negative implications for citizens, they actually bring some disadvantages for the authorities as well.

It’s not clear what information the CIA’s request was based upon, but reportedly it came from Russian authorities. It is also possible that Tsarnaev’s communications were flagged by US agencies such as the NSA. Either way, it seems as though there’s a real possibility that Tamerlan’s name came to the attention of the authorities through some dragnet-style surveillance technique.

If so, the conundrum for the authorities is this:

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