Friday, August 22, 2008

Terror Watch List Glitches

A few days ago, CNN showed yet another Drew Griffin's report about "terror watch list" glitches[1] (UPDATE: the original video seems to be not available anymore, but the script is still there; also, there is a copy on YouTube - WARNING: there is some wacky message appended at the end of the video, but the clip itself does not appear to have been altered).

Let politicians argue about who is to blame for this mess. I am going to focus exclusively on its technical aspects the way I understand them. Of course, it is not easy to tell how a system works and what may be wrong with it when all technical details are classified. Still, based on the information from public sources, I am going to try to answer the following questions:
  • How does a law-abiding citizen get on the no-fly list?
  • Why is it impossible to get removed from it?
  • Why is it so easy to find ways around the no-fly list?
  • Is it going to get any better?