Oct 22, 2008

Secure Flight Rule and the Watch List

Just saw news* that the US Govt Dept of Homeland Security has revealed the size of the "Terrorist Watch List". The list is supposed to be about 2500 names long (the no fly list) and less than 10% on the list are US citizens according to the DHS/TSA**. Read DHS Official Press Release here.

"Airlines will be required under Secure Flight to collect a passenger's full name, date of birth, and gender when making an airline reservation."

Information on "Secure Flight" a program to pre-register so that you are considered a "safe passenger" is also briefly covered in this post.

So the list is finally quantified, ending a lot of speculation and folk tales of the list size being in 100's of thousands to almost a few millions. The main no fly list consists about 250 US Citizens according to the DHS.

While there is a ton of legalese and other information in the Final Secure Flight Document (195 pages), including TSA responses to several comments from different air operators and other authorities etc., the one thing that caught my eye was this:
"The Secure Flight Service Center will be staffed 24-hours a day,
7-days a week to receive telephone calls from covered aircraft operators' staff and assist in the clearance of inhibited passengers"
So there you go, somebody will be working 24/7!

Anyways to wrap this up, I will just mention that I read the first few pages, then I read several pages of comments. Then i got tired, and decided to run keyword searches on how TSA was using the age information that it requires to be provided by airlines 72 hrs ahead of time or as soon as available in case of last minute reservations.

I searched for food, kids, children or child and did not get a single hit in the 195 pg document. I did this because we often see in the news that a young child has a name match with somebody on the TSA watch list and ends up getting delayed and undergoing enhanced screening.

DHS Official Press Release.

* News on CNN.

DOB, Full Name Required Headline

Secure Flight Ruling (10.7 MB, PDF)

**Dept of Homeland Security and Transportation Security Admininstration

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