A Canadian man whose name got on the US no-fly list has legally changed it to avoid hassles whenever he flies. Because of identity theft, every time he went through customs in the US, he’d be pulled aside and questioned, sometimes for hours. So after enduring this for years as well as complaining to the TSA who said that they couldn’t (or wouldn’t) remove his name, he legally changed it, and now he’s fine. Good thing the terrorists don’t know about this idea.
This no-fly rule that’s based solely on someone’s name is just ludicrous in the first place. Names are not globally unique and can be easily faked. There have been stories of seven-year-old children being stopped and questioned because their names show up on a no-fly list. Senator Edward Kennedy’s name made it onto a watch list at one point, and a couple of times he was told he couldn’t board the plane. In all cases he eventually did get on the plane thanks to the fact that the supervisor recognized him. He managed to get his name removed after a couple of weeks, but the average person can’t just call up the DHS chief and say “Hi Tom, Ted here. Get my name off of your f**king list. Thanks.”
Terrorists may be misguided, brainwashed, or just plain evil, but you can’t say that they’re all stupid. What terrorist is going to be flying under his real name? The well-funded terrorists can probably get fake passports made in hours with any name they want and if they’re smart, they never fly under the same name twice.
Yet another example of how the US government is turning the “war on terror” into a complete joke. I’m not talking about the actual fighting in Afghanistan, more the silly restrictions that keep popping up everywhere. You can’t bring more than 100 mL of shampoo in your carry-on, but a bottle of water or contact lens solution (even more than 100 mL!) is OK. Do they check the contents of the bottle of water or contact lens solution? If you’re going to bring liquid explosives onboard, just put it into a contact lens solution bottle and you’re fine. You can’t bring a nail file because it could be used as a weapon, but a sharpened pencil is fine. Now they can confiscate any electronic device like a laptop and even an iPod without reasonable suspicion of anything, and without even explaining why they’re doing it.
How does any of this make people safer when flying? These are silly rules that do nothing but inconvenience innocent civilians. The actual terrorists can easily get around them and thus they provide no security.
As I said once before, “The terrorists may not have succeeded in significantly affecting the Western economies or changing government policies on anything (which, presumably, is at least one of their goals), but I’m sure they’re all having a good laugh at the stupid policies that have resulted from their activities.” I read a comment on Bruce Schneier’s blog that sums it up perfectly:
The purpose of terrorism is to create terror.