US No Fly List attacked by civil rights group
Thursday 01 July 2010
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a lawsuit against the US government, describing its No Fly List as "unfair, unconstitutional and un-American."
The case is likely to result in increased pressure for US lawmakers to improve screening processes and scrap the controversial No Fly List, which is believed to contain some 8,000 names of individuals banned from entering US airspace.
The ACLU lawsuit is on behalf of ten individuals, including three US military veterans, who it says are prohibited from flying to the United States and have not been told why they are on the list or given a chance to clear their names.
"More and more Americans who have done nothing wrong find themselves unable to fly, and in some cases unable to return to the U.S., without any explanation whatsoever from the government," said Ben Wizner, staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project.
"A secret list that deprives people of the right to fly and places them into effective exile without any opportunity to object is both un-American and unconstitutional."
In the past, the No Fly List been strongly criticized after a number of high profile incidents involving cases of mistaken identity, where passengers have been subjected to delays, interrogations or even denied entry to the US.
Members of the public who have the same name as individuals on the list regularly find themselves delayed at airports as they are normally required to provide additional identification and may be selected for extra screening.
There have also been cases of airliners being forced to divert away from the US due to individuals with flagged names being on board.
Passengers who regularly encounter problems at US airports are advised to use the Department of Homeland Security's Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (DHS TRIP) a single point of contact for individuals who have problem crossing US borders.
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