Cat Stevens problem: misspelled name

Chalk one up for dew process. Uh, do process. Woops, make that due process. The Time report, You Say Yusuf, I Say Youssouf… chalks the whole problem to a misspelling.

Still, the TSA is learning. It recently acknowledged that a Federal Air Marshall, unable to fly for weeks when his name was mistakenly put on the “no-fly” list, was in fact not a threat, and removed his name from the list.

More on the no-fly list: SF Gate (June 8 2003): How the innocent are ensnared, outdated “sounds-like” matches.
SF Gate (Aug 2004) Senator Kennedy stopped 5 times at airports by the no-fly list.

AP (Guardian): (Sep 24, 2004) has a Q & A about the no-fly list and how it works (and doesn’t work).

Q: How do people get on the list?

A: The Transportation Security Administration compiles the lists based on information from other federal agencies.

Q: How do people find out how they got on the list?

A: They don’t.

Q: How do people get off the list if they feel they’ve been mistakenly tagged as a terrorist?

A: They can clear up confusion if they think they’ve been mistaken for someone else on the list by calling the TSA’s consumer response center at 866-289-9673 and finding out what the procedures are. To remove someone from the list, the TSA consults with the agencies that supplied the information. [Read More]

3 responses to “Cat Stevens problem: misspelled name”

  1. Donald Larson

    At least we have a process, even if it needs continuous improvement.

    I don’t expect perfection, just an effective and justified “due process.” Due process involves the courts, so if people don’t like the process as it is, file suit. Or, try to get the law changed by your representatives.

    Keep in kind there are those of us that write our representatives to keep some laws and policies in place. Therefore it’s a constant struggle about what gets enacted and/or rescinded.

    So what else is new?


  2. Anonymous

    I suggest we send everyone in the Federal government a copy of the movie Brazil, to refresh them on the evils of typos. At least the folks on the TSA just get their flights cancelled. What about those on lists that get them arrested, or, “detained” indefiinitely?

  3. Donald Larson

    In times of war, extraordinary measures have been supported by the courts. I’ll make the assumption that if so many false positives occur, then it indicates to me that a real terrorist might also get nabbed by those same procedures. In that case, the TSA is having a good deterrent effect.

    Out of all the millions of people flying each year, the number affected as false positives is a very, very low percentage.