Toward Totalitarianism: watch lists

John Graham writes about the experience of discovering himself on the "national terrorist No Fly Watch list." He can't find out how his name got on the watch list. He can't appeal his status. He can't get his name removed from the list. His career speaking on civic action and leadership around the world is potentially threatened since "plane travel is key to my livelihood." He compares such measures to Pinochet's Chile and Germany
in 1930.

Even government employees and members of the US armed forces are being delayed and hassled because their names appear on watch lists.

Schneier has written on the problem of false positives, which is exactly the problem exemplified in the stories referenced above. Watch lists raise the personal price of travel, leading to loss of privacy, loss of control of one's movements, even loss of one's reputation. Soon the price of travel will be prohibitive for most people. Remember how citizens of Iron Curtain countries couldn't travel freely during the Cold War?

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