Essay about Terrorist Watchlist Database Case Study

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The Terrorist Watch List Database and Screening Center

Terrorist Watch List Database: A Case Study

Don E. Gregory

INFO 531: Management Information Systems


Since the attacks on the World Trade Center, our nation has been at war with terrorism. We have approached this war on two fronts, one by attacking our enemies in armed combat, and two by enacting preventive measures to eliminate their harmful tactics. One such measure is known as the FBI’s Terrorist Watch List. The TWL is a large database of information on what are known as persons of interest or known terrorist. As with any large database the list has weaknesses and shortcomings, pros and cons, that
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Added to that, government agencies such as the FBI and CIA are very protective of information they have on individuals and as history shows, they do not share this information easily or willingly among each other. Watch Lists Effectiveness The effectiveness of the list depends on two things; accurate identification of individuals, and distributing this information to the front line agencies conducting the inspections of persons attempting to enter the country, obtain visas, board an aircraft, et cetera. Though not public knowledge, the list is now reported to be growing at the rate of 200,000 names per year and in 2009 reached the 1 million person threshold. Its exorbitant size has drawn criticism from lawmakers, security experts, and civil rights advocates who argue that “its size undermines its authority”, and that “there is no rational, reasonable estimate that there’s anywhere close to that many suspected terrorists” [4]. Moving towards making the list more effective and less discouraging for innocents, the FBI and DHS claim they have removed over 51,000 person in 2008-2009 as a result of their redress requests, and through the constant reviewing of records in the database they combine persons of interest aliases into one record, removing innocent persons who share those aliases
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