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ACLU Files First Nationwide Challenge to "No-Fly" List, Saying Government List Violates Passengers' Rights
From: Dave Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Tue, 06 Apr 2004 16:45:36 -0400


Delivered-To: dfarber+ () ux13 sp cs cmu edu
Date: Tue, 06 Apr 2004 16:15:00 -0400
From: BSteinhardt <BSteinhardt () aclu org>

Dave,

Acting on behalf of seven Americans, including a member of the military, a retired Presbyterian minister and a college student the ACLU has filed a nationwide, class-action challenge to the government's "No-Fly" list.

The legal papers and other materials about the case can be found at http://www.aclu.org/SafeandFree/SafeandFree.cfm?ID=15430&c=272.

The suit, which was filed today in Seattle, asks a Federal Court to declare that the No-Fly list violates airline passengers' Constitutional rights to freedom from unreasonable search and seizure and to due process of law under the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. The ACLU is also asking the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which administers the highly flawed " No Fly" system, to develop satisfactory procedures that will allow innocent people to fly without being treated as potential terrorists and subjected to humiliation and delays.

Our suit makes plain, that the individuals we represent "are innocent of any wrongdoing and pose no threat to aviation security." Indeed, even after several obtained letters from the TSA stating that they were not a threat, they were still subject to delays and the stigma of enhanced searches, interrogations and detentions.

The No-Fly list has been the subject of intense media scrutiny. Yet the TSA denied its existence until November 2002, shortly before the ACLU of Northern California filed a Freedom of Information Act request on behalf of two local anti-war activists who were told they were on such a list. When the government failed to respond, the ACLU filed a lawsuit in April 2003 and obtained documents that reveal a shoddy process in which government agents expressed uncertainty about how the lists should be shared. The documents also failed to answer basic questions about the No-Fly list, including how names are selected for the list. For more information on the documents the ACLU obtained, readers can go to http://www.aclu.org/nofly

Beyond the repeated errors in administering the No-Fly program and the inability of air travellers to have those errors corrected, many passengers on the No-Fly list have expressed concern that they may have been singled out because of their ethnicity, religion or political activity. Their concern is heightened by the fact that the lists appear to have been shared widely among U.S. law enforcement agencies, internationally and with the U.S. military.

Barry Steinhardt
Director Technology and Liberty Program
ACLU



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