A small improvement on the No Fly Lists

The US government’s notorious No Fly List supposedly contains about 47,000 names. The only clue that anyone might have as to whether their name is on that list as when they go to the airport and are refused boarding without any explanation. If you ask whether your name is on the list or the reason it might be on it, you receive no response. That meant you had no way of getting off the list.

Sometimes, the government would wait until people were out of the country and then put their names on the list to prevent them from coming back, thus stranding them in a foreign country. Since foreign governments then inferred that you must have done something wrong to not be allowed to board, some people were sometimes detained in foreign prisons with no way of getting out, with one of them Gulet Mohamed being tortured in Kuwait.

As a result of several lawsuits challenging this appalling system, and judges ruling that this violated the due process clause of the US constitution, the US government has finally relented and now, if you ask, they will tell you if your name is on the list.

The government also claimed this week it will provide people seeking further information about their inclusion on the list with a “more detailed response,” that includes “specific criterion under which the individual has been placed on the No Fly List,” as well as “an unclassified summary of information supporting the individual’s No Fly List status.”

Things are so bad in the US on the civil liberties front that simply regaining what should never have been lost is now seen as a victory.


  1. Lassi Hippeläinen says

    “Under the newly revised procedures, a US person …”
    Sorry foreigners -- only US citizens count as fully human.
    “Of the 47,000 people estimated to be on the list, roughly 800 are Americans.”
    So there is no real change.

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