An Overview of the No-Fly List

As a result of the terrorists’ attack on American soil, using airplanes, on September 11, 2001, the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 led to the development of the No-Fly List. It is actually a security measure designed to fight against acts of terrorism by debarring treacherous people from entering into aircraft. However, the constitutionality plus effectiveness of this list is questionable in certain ways.

Individuals listed in this list are not allowed to fly for travelling within or outside the US. In fact, those people are not allowed to make use of airplanes for whatever purpose. They can’t take a flight leaving for the US.

The contents of this list are extremely confidential. The exact number or names of people forming the list is anybody’s guess. People whose names are contained in the list are totally unaware that they are likely suspects. If somebody is denied the use of automatic check-in services that are generally available to other passengers, it is a clear indication that his or her name is included in the list, because only such persons are denied such privileges.

The Transportation Security Administration or TSA asserts that the No-Fly List forms an extremely significant component of the aviation security, as it debars recognized terrorists from travelling by air. American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has already filed a legal suit against the US government for the creation of this list. They argue that statistical data doesn’t necessarily prove the effectiveness of this list. Further, they add that it’s nearly impossible to establish in advance that a person could really be a terrorist.

In addition to the TSA, airline companies also play a significant role in preventing the listed personnel from boarding airplanes. Every time a name gets included in the list, it is obligatory for the airlines to check the updated list within two hours of having received a communication to the effect from the US government, and thus make the required alterations.

This list is created keeping the best purpose in mind. Yet, it has caused a number of problems and invited lot of criticism. One major problem of formulating this list is the fact that many innocent persons get considered suspicious. They may be interrogated, arrested and debarred from boarding an aircraft simply because the list contains their name. Incidents have been reported when even kids were denied permission to travel by air, as their names matched those of suspected people. That is why the Department of Homeland Security Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (DHS/TRIP) came into being. This gives an opportunity to people who claim that their name has been inadvertently included in the list.


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