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Excuse me, are you a threat to aviation security? Canada’s no-fly list

posted by:Katie Black // 11:59 PM // June 26, 2007 // ID TRAIL MIX

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Picture this: you are traveling to an important conference in Ottawa, titled the Revealed “I”. While getting your boarding pass, the airline attendant asks for a piece of government-issued photo ID. You provide it and wait for him to smile and print your boarding card. He doesn’t smile. In fact, he looks concerned, makes a phone call and tells you to step aside. You are prohibited from boarding you flight because, in that moment, you were silently labeled “an immediate threat to civil aviation”. [1]

While this hypothetical will remain an incredulous story for most Canadians, it will realize for some over the course of the next year. [2] If your name, age and gender match that of an individual on Canada’s Specified Persons List, implemented on June 18th, 2007 as part of Transport Canada’s Passenger Protection Program, you might be barred from boarding an aircraft. Regulation [3] responsible for the program requires all airline carriers in Canada to screen passengers over the age of twelve [4] on domestic and international flights against those described on the List. Once a match is made, the airline carrier is obligated to contact the Minister of Transport or his authorized official and have him or her verify the individual’s identity and decide whether or not to permit boarding. If individuals find themselves on the list, they can have their case independently reviewed by applying to Transport Canada’s Office of Reconsideration (OoR). [5] If they remain unsatisfied, they can appeal the OoR decisions to the Federal Court, the Security Intelligence Review Committee, the Commission for Public Complaints against the RCMP or the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

While this program superficially appears to further Canada’s goal of increasing aviation security, many concerns have been raised regarding the impact of the program’s design and implementation on privacy and anonymity in Canada. This ID Trail Mix will briefly survey the main concerns raised by such public interest groups as the BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) and the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR-Canada). It will explore: i) the potential inadequacy of the Passenger Protection Program in light of forgery techniques, ii) concerns regarding how the list is compiled, iii) the potential for violations of Canadians’ privacy rights through the sharing of personal information with foreign governments, iv) the possibility for mistaken inclusion on the list and v) the potential that Canada’s no-fly list could lead to the targeting and profiling of racialized groups.

Forged Documents

It remains unclear how the Passenger Protection Program will get around the practical problem of forged documents. With ID cards so easily forged, how does asking for one reduce the threat of on-board terror? Moreover, are terrorists or other threatening individuals likely to fly under their own name? Speaking to this concern in an interview with CBC News, Barry Prentice, Director of the Transport Institute at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, commented, “I don’t think it’s going to help one bit. What terrorist is going to travel with their own name and passport? These people are going to steal or create a forged passport and identification if they’re going to do anything, anyway”. [6]

Also pertaining to the program’s efficacy, in 2005, the Privacy Commissioner submitted the following question to Transport Canada: “what studies, if any, has the department carried out to demonstrate that advance passenger information will be useful in identifying high-risk travelers”? Transport Canada provided the following response on their website, “the Passenger Protect program proposes to use a watchlist to prevent specified individuals from boarding flights based on practical global experience and risk assessment rather than specific studies”. According to Allen Kagedan, Chief of Aviation Security Policy for Transport Canada, such lists are increasing air travel safety as, “they do work”. However, when asked by reporters, he could not cite any specific instances of when it worked. “The problem with giving examples” he said, “is that they defeat security and also, ironically, defeat the privacy rights of those individuals”. [7]

How is the list compiled?

Does notification of one’s inclusion on the Specified Persons List also defeat security? It may because the list is not available to the public. [8] People can only find out if they are on the no-fly list once they are prevented from boarding their flight. [9] The wording of the regulation [10] is such that anyone who i) poses a threat to aviation security, ii) could endanger the security of any aircraft or aerodrome, or iii) the safety of the public, passengers or crew members would be placed on the list by the Passenger Protect Advisory Group [11]. This will result in a “dynamic” list, according to Mr. Kagedan, as intelligence agencies must re-assess their “reliable and vetted” security information every 30 days. [12] While it is clear that this would likely include “an individual who has been involved in a terrorist group [or] has been convicted of one or more serious and life-threatening crimes against aviation security”, [13] it is unclear if it would also include such people as Andrew Speaker, the Atlanta lawyer, who was placed on the American no-fly list because he had a rare form of tuberculosis. In the Canadian context, would a communicable disease constitute a threat to aviation security?

Will Canada’s no-fly list be shared with foreign governments?

The extent to which the regulation allows Canada to share information contained on its no-fly list with foreign governments is also unclear. According to the Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) Executive Summary of the Passenger Protection Program, “law enforcement and intelligence information on Specified Persons received from Canadian, or foreign or multilateral, law enforcement or security intelligence agencies” will be kept and gathered using the Passenger Protection Program. It will be used for the sole purpose of increasing transportation security. [14] Moreover, comments made by Brian Brant, who serves as Director of Security Policy for Transport Canada, during the Air India Inquiry presided over by former Supreme Court Justice Major, indicated that “names of Canadians on the forthcoming federal list could end up in the hands of foreign governments, whether or not Ottawa gives its official consent to sharing the information”. [15] While the list of names will only be initially released to commercial airlines, foreign governments could access the names without the consent of the Canadian government by going to the airlines. The lists could be accessed via the airlines that are based in the foreign country. “Should their national government require that information of them”, Brant testified at the inquiry, “that's up to them to decide what they want to do with that information. We recognize that possibility exists”. [16] As such information sharing, either voluntary or involuntary, between Canada and foreign governments is likely.

It wasn’t me: the possibility for mistaken inclusion on the list

While the new no-fly list may add the kind of excitement to one’s travel plans as experienced by Conservative MP John Williams - who was temporarily grounded because his name appeared on the American no-fly lists - it also means that many innocent people are going to be swept up in the list’s identity net. One need only look at how the American no-fly lists ballooned out of control. At one point, it contained more than 70, 000 names including those of civil libertarians, peace activists and most notably Senator Ted Kennedy. [17]

Although individuals who have been wrongfully identified on the Canadian list retain the right to reconsideration through the OoR process (see above), Canada’s Privacy Commissioner, Jennifer Stoddart, warned that the list could become “a nightmare for ordinary Canadians”. [18]

On the bright side of things, one retains a statistically smaller chance of being on Canada’s no-fly list than on America’s. This is because fewer than 1,000 names are thought to be on Transport Canada’s Specified Persons list at the moment. [19] Advocates for CAIR-Canada, however, argue that this statistical good news will disproportionately apply to non-racialized groups. CAIR-Canada fears that Canada’s no-fly list has the potential to lead to the targeting and profiling of Muslims and Arabs in Canada.

The chill sets in: fears of racial profiling

People within Canadian Muslim and Arab communities already report that they disproportionately experience the effects of social and technological changes aimed at ensuring “national security”. In Faisal Babha’s article, “The Chill Sets In: National Security and the Decline of Equality Rights in Canada”, he writes that in a post-9/11 era “ensuring ‘national security’ has become a euphemism for ethnic and religious profiling, and that the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) has become a guise for the systematic targeting and demonization of Muslims and Arabs”. [20] While hard data indicating that Muslims are being systematically profiled by government agencies is challenging to acquire, [21] it is clear that “Muslims and Arabs in Canada have been thrust involuntarily into the spotlight of the national consciousness”. [22] The effects of the no-fly list are likely to intensify that light as “Muslims are already subject to increased scrutiny at airports” [23] and “among Muslims, there’s a great similarity in names and it’s very easy for names to be the same or similar”. [24] While this will practically translate into Muslims and Arabs being disproportionately mistaken for those on the list, it might also have the corollary effect of generally increasing the sense of insecurity and incidents of discrimination experienced by these populations. [25] As Faisal Babha wrote, “profiling is a simplistic response to a complex problem; it involves highlighting a specific characteristic about a person, unrelated to that person’s actual deeds, and extrapolating to reach a presumptive conclusion about the person’s intentions and probable conduct”. [26]

While fears of racial profiling are being voiced in relation to racialzed members of society, Jennifer Stoddart phrased the same concern of the use of one’s identity more generally. As she sees it, the problem is that the list exemplifies “the increasingly intrusive use of your identity in order to make decisions about you as an individual, [decisions] that are pretty drastic… Every time we go to the airport, are we going to expect to be challenged?” [27]

[1] A threat to aviation security is explained in the section 4.72(2)b of the Aeronautics Act, as threat to “any aircraft or aerodrome or other aviation facility, or to the safety of the public, passengers or crew members”.
[2] According to section 4.72(3)(b)(i) of the Aeronautics Act, the Act that provides the Minister of Transportation with the statutory authority to create the new Passenger Protection Program as a “security measure”, the Minister must repeal the security measure before the day that is one year after the notice of the measure was published. Notice of the Identity Screening Regulation was published on April 26th, 2007.
[3] Section 3.2 of the Identity Screening Regulation outlines the screening protocol that airline carriers must follow. They are required to obtain either one piece of valid government-issued photo ID or two pieces of valid government-issued ID prior to boarding. The Identity Screening Regulation was created by the Department of Transport Infrastructure and Communities on April 26th, 2007, is under the statutory authority of the sections 4.71 and 4.9 Aeronautics Act which gives the governor in council the statutory authority to make regulation with respect to aviation security. The Public Safety Act, 2002, which received Royal Assent on May 6, 2004, made these changes to the Aeronautics Act as part of Canada's National Security Policy. The Identity Screening Regulation was registered by the Department of Transport Infrastructure and Communities in order to create the Passenger Protection Program.
[4] An exception to the identification requirement is currently being granted to children between the ages of 12 and 17. They only need to present one piece of government-issued ID until the mid-September.
[5] Transport Canada, Office of Reconsideration, available online: http://www.tc.gc.ca/reconsideration/menu.htm. [6] Barry Prentice, in an interview with CBC News reporters on Monday, June 18th, 2007. [CBC News, (Monday, June 18, 2007) Critics alarmed by Canada's no-fly list, online: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2007/06/18/no-fly-list.html]
[7] Allen Kagedan in an interview with CBC reporters on Monday, June 18th, 2007. [CBC News, (Monday, June 18, 2007) Critics alarmed by Canada's no-fly list, online: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2007/06/18/no-fly-list.html].
[8] During the question period on Monday, June 18th, 2007, Liberal MP Joseph Volpe demanded that the government release the names of those on the no-fly list. Meanwhile, NDP MP Joe Comartin proposed that while the government should not get ride of the list, it should at least set up an ombudsman to handle cases where innocent people find themselves on the list. [CBC News, (Monday, June 18, 2007) Critics alarmed by Canada's no-fly list, online: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2007/06/18/no-fly-list.html]
[9] CBC News, (Monday, June 18, 2007) Critics alarmed by Canada's no-fly list, online: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2007/06/18/no-fly-list.html.
[10] Section 50.(4)(b) of the Canadian Aviation Security Regulation of the Aeronautics Act.
[11] The advisory group, led by Transport Canada, is comprised of a senior officer from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), a senior officer of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and a Transport Canada representative. Once on the list, membership is reevaluated every 30 days. [Transport Canada, (June 8th, 2007) Passenger Protects: Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) Executive Summary, available online: < http://www.tc.gc.ca/vigilance/sep/passenger_protect/executive_summary.htm >]
[12] Allen Kagedan told CBC reporters on Monday, June 18th, 2007 from CBC News, (Monday, June 18, 2007) Critics alarmed by Canada's no-fly list, online: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2007/06/18/no-fly-list.html.
[13] Cited by Transport Canada as possible instances where a person would be placed on the list in the article by CBC News, titled Critics alarmed by Canada's no-fly list.[CBC News, (Monday, June 18, 2007) Critics alarmed by Canada's no-fly list, online: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2007/06/18/no-fly-list.html]
[14] Transport Canada, (June 8th, 2007) Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) Executive Summary, available online: < http://www.tc.gc.ca/vigilance/sep/passenger_protect/executive_summary.htm>.
[15] CBC News, (June 5th, 2007) No-fly list could end up in foreign hands, Air India probe is told, available online: http://www.cbc.ca/cp/national/070605/n0605112A.html.
[16] CBC News, (June 5th, 2007) No-fly list could end up in foreign hands, Air India probe is told, available online: http://www.cbc.ca/cp/national/070605/n0605112A.html.
[17] CBC News, (June 5th, 2007) No-fly list could end up in foreign hands, Air India probe is told, available online: < http://www.cbc.ca/cp/national/070605/n0605112A.html >.
[18] CBC News, (June 13th, 2007) Privacy commissioner ordered to testify at Air India inquiry, available online: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2007/06/13/airindia.html; Barry Prentice, Director of the Transport Institution at the University of Manitoba Winnipeg, told CBC reporters that some travelers are going to be wrongly identified as security risks under the Passenger Protection Program. [CBC News, (Monday, June 18, 2007) Critics alarmed by Canada's no-fly list, online: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2007/06/18/no-fly-list.html]
[19] CBC News, (Monday, June 18, 2007) Critics alarmed by Canada's no-fly list, online: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2007/06/18/no-fly-list.html.
[20] Faisal Babha, (2005) The Chill Sets In: National Security and the Decline of Equality Rights in Canada, 54 U.N.B.L.J. 191 at 192.
[21] A report by the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, In the Shadows of the Law: A report by the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG)in response to Justice Canada’s 1st annual report on the application of the Anti-Terrorism Act (Bill C-36) (14th May, 2003); online: Development and Peace www.devp.org/pdf/shadow.pdf, argues that the ATA’s reporting process is too narrow in scope. Consequently, it does not accurately indicate and reflect the ATA’s effect on Muslims and Arabs, as well as other aboriginal rights and anti-globalization activists.
[22] Faisal Babha, (2005) The Chill Sets In: National Security and the Decline of Equality Rights in Canada, 54 U.N.B.L.J. 191 at 195.
[23] CBC News, (Monday, June 18, 2007) Critics alarmed by Canada's no-fly list, online: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2007/06/18/no-fly-list.html.
[24] Larry Shaben, former Alberta MLA and current president of the Edmonton Council for Muslim Communities, cited in CBC News, (Monday, June 18, 2007) Critics alarmed by Canada's no-fly list, online: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2007/06/18/no-fly-list.html.
[25] Canadian Arab Foundation, Arabs in Canada: Proudly Canadian and Marginalized, (Toronto: Canadian Arab Federation, 2002).
[26] Faisal Babha, (2005) The Chill Sets In: National Security and the Decline of Equality Rights in Canada, 54 U.N.B.L.J. 191 at 197.
[27] Don Butler, (June 8th, 2007) “No-fly list curbs privacy rights: commissioner ‘Quite a nightmare’ ahead for some; Stoddart urges updated privacy act”, The Ottawa Citizen.

Comments

Our PM Harper is "Monkey see monkey do", everything Bush boy is doing, Canada has to do the same. I am wondering if Bush asked Harper to jump off the bridge whether our PM would say "With pleasure". Afterall everything US has asked Harper to do. He has done it with great pleasure.

Posted by: Lovey Cridge at June 28, 2007 08:25 PM

The world and our beloved Canada is becoming creepier by the day.

What's next, something completely absurd like a Canadian government stooping to advertise on good-old-boy US NASCARS, looking for fresh CDN troops to fight in US neo-con wars?

It's all just amazingly surreal!

Canada desperately needs a leader with guts and some tangible decency, able to stand up to the neo-cons, the corporate elite and the spin masters running amok in our media today.

Posted by: Bob at June 28, 2007 09:54 PM

Surely, Kennedy was placed on this US list by a true patriot. His effort to destroy the country with illegals does qualify him as a terrorist. Plus, the US 'did' 9/11, and we now know Why they are imitating the Third Reich, declaring 'Dictorial' powers, refusing to comply with law...

Posted by: Max Resolution at June 29, 2007 01:22 AM

"In vain we build a world if at first we don't build the individual with the traits of a noble secular character."


Our politicians and other government officials are so sadly ignorant of natural or higher laws.

Laws that are above man's laws.

So little do they know that the more laws, the more security, and the more controls they make to prevent terrorism, violence, and other problems of social degeneration, the worse the problem will become.

There are several factors of understanding, that must be injected into mass consciousness to reverse the trend to self destruction.

The worst words in any language are "believing", and "beliefs", "I believe", and "the believer".

A belief is nothing more than something a person resorts to in the absence of facts.

(Today the facts and the truth are knowable to those who train their minds on how to know it, and how to seek it out. )

A belief is a confession of ignorance.

Man must rise above believing and into knowingness.

When a man holds up a book and says, "You must believe this.

For thus saith the lord. "

or thus saith Allah

or Buddah

or even the guy who says " I believe I will have another drink."

Should not these people be pitied for their ignorance?

Should not these people be pitied for thier intellectual incompetance?

Should not these people be pitied for their low position on the scale of the evolution of consciousness or intellectual integrity?

Believing is a function of the intellectually challenged.

A "believer" is an intellectual midget.

Should they not be told that man has reached a stage in the evolution of consciousness or intellectual development, or and intellectual integrity where he has the liberty and easy access to all known knowledge, where he does not have to "believe" any more. He has reached a stage where he can readily, study, research, contemplate, reason, evaluate, and discern all the different religious Holy books and other spiritual works impartially to determine the truth for himself. Is he not evolved enough to take responsibility to learn the truth about things spiritual for himself?
Does he still need some proclamator to tell him what is what?

"The Holy man says the Holy is truth, and the truth seeker and the philosopher say the truth is Holy. "

We must get rid of the the words, belief, believe, etc. from all languages.

We must train our minds to seek and discern the truth in all things.

A wise man said "The truth is out there, but it is hidden by many layers of lies for protection from fools.

The words belief , believe, and it's other counterparts, have caused more sorrow, more trouble, more conflict, more wars, than any other word or cause, in all of history.

The sooner all mankind learns to never say anything that he or she cannot prove, the sooner we will achieve peace.
The sooner all mankind learns to speak in truths, and not partial truths, and spin, the sooner we will achieve peace.

There are three states of "Knowingness"

1. To know with certainty.

2. Don't know.

3. Not sure.

Beliefs, as well as opinions, and theories fall under two and three.
If you have to convey an element of doubt, use the words " I think." and not " I believe."

For the words "I believe" are used in so many intelectually dishonest ways to make one think you know the truth, when you do not.

(The CIA and the Bush administration "believed" Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. )

Religion and freedom of religion, as we know it has outlived it's usefulness.

What was true yesterday, is not necessarily true today.

We must get rid of religious labels.

We must learn to read all the religious books, impartially , as history books, for the lessons that history has to teach us are concentrated in those books, and not in academic history.
They are not something to believe in any more. They are nothing more than research material, history books, books of knowledge, wisdom and understanding, and records of all the trials and tribulations and ways man has sought to bring order and peace to the community around him in yesteryear.

When viewed as books of the words of God, as books that must be believed in, lock stock and barrel, in todays global society they only bring conflict.

If we each do not read, discern, and evaluate each datum, in all the many different religious books and spiritual books, and hang onto that which is good and workable for society as a whole, and chuck the rest up to experience, we will not survive.

Copyrighted by.....


David Pelly
Founder
The I.Q.-Namics Institute of Higher Learning for the Advancement of Humanity


Posted by: David Pelly at June 29, 2007 03:37 AM

Just another scare and intimidation tactic to herd us sheople further down the Rothschild/Rockefeller/Bronfman road to NAU and then one world government or globalization, what ever you want to call it.

Posted by: bonanzaman at June 29, 2007 02:52 PM

No-fly list: another imposition of the neo-fascists/neo-Nazis & those wanting to return to the Red Soviet era.
It's absurd as it is tyrannical. Repeal this craziness!

Posted by: Angela Bedolfe at June 29, 2007 03:36 PM

Real compensation for those mistakenly denied passage should be included in this so called security scheme.

Posted by: Archie1954 at June 29, 2007 03:58 PM

I used to think Canadians were a mite more intelligent than their american counterparts - but no!

As stated in the article, terrorists would certainly not travel with documents identifying them as terrorists, so what is this all about?

Same as scanning all emails for words like "bomb" or "terrorist" - what unadulterated nonsense.

Is it not time for ONE semi-civilsed western country to expose this scam for what it is - a population control exercise for the coming police state.

Biometric and dna databases - glad I live in a civilsed Muslim country!

Posted by: janda at June 29, 2007 11:00 PM

the list should be published and affected people be informed by the Cdn. Government. There should be an ombudsman, that looks after complaints. Anthing else is draconian and undemocratic as well ass downright idiotic.

Posted by: R. Wallach at July 1, 2007 08:37 AM

yeah, i also agree that whomever is on the list should be informed. why keep it from someone and wait until the buy a ticket and get to the airport? that's so cruel and unnecessary. who are the type of people who would be on that list, anyway? a guy who committed a break and enter, a girl who shoplifted, someone who committed fraud or another person who was convicted of rape? why can't we have these things clearly spelled out for us? i think our country needs to run things in its own way and stop following after how other countries do their thing.

Posted by: Nneka at July 14, 2007 12:29 AM

Terrorists in Canada are very happy that they now can find out if their name is known to the authorities. For a cheap flight to the nearest town they can see if they are on the list and if they are they know they better watch themselves.
The only cost is to be stopped. They will not be arested.

Posted by: Charles de Bourbon at July 17, 2007 12:24 PM

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