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What's the point of a watchlist...
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Old 08-01-2018, 07:04 PM
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Default What's the point of a watchlist...

...if the TSA is watching everyone?

The Quiet Skies program was revealed last week, and apparently anything "out of the ordinary" (sleeping on a flight? really?) is tracked...and this has come into play for travelers not currently on a watch list. (ETA: The Globe article that I linked to may be paywalled; here's an NPR report that may be easier to access)

In a way I see the concern about domestic terrorists, but most behaviors listed in the article seem so normal (who hasn't changed direction or stopped multiple times in a gate area, or scoped out the boarding area from the concourse) as to be useless for any real surveillance. How can they tell if someone looking in a store window is "monitoring surveillance teams"? (or observing people who are observing the teams...)

And where are they getting the information used in deciding who to follow? The bit about "possibly affiliated with a person on a watch list" is suspect to me, given that the no-fly list has generated false positives before and the flaw in any watch list is who is interpreting this data and how.
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Last edited by Dreamstalker; 08-01-2018 at 08:36 PM.
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Old 08-02-2018, 08:02 AM
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How does the doctor know I have a cold if I sneeze? How does the doctor know that guy has a cold with phlegm?

It's cumulative. They aren't looking for one individual behavior and going "Ah Ha! Terrorist!" They are looking for patterns of behavior. If you hit one benchmark maybe glance your way a bit more often but if you start displaying more and more habits indicative of something going on more and more attention will be paid to you.

It's basic police work. Because seriously the police have been using those techniques for decades.

Sleeping on an overnight or long flight (more than 8 hours) is normal. But shorter flights 4 hours or less sleeping on the flight is an abnormal behavior. I know because I am that guy who sleeps on even short flights. The reason is that if i sleep through landing and takeoff my ears won't hurt.

Again though it's not going to be the only thing they look for but it is an unusual behavior and those get noticed. I would be more worried if the things they were looking for were "Ah ha he's got Blonde hair! His mom surely abandoned him on a reef to die"

The point of the watchlist is for people who have specifically attracted suspicion actual suspects. The other stuff is for those people who've never popped up on anyone's radar but suddenly start some shit.
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Old 08-02-2018, 11:27 PM
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They were monitoring a flight attendant and a businesswoman who just happened to connect through Turkey. Even the agents assigned to do the monitoring have problems with this program...and said monitoring is for such a short time (90 days or three flights) that any data gathered would be of little practical use if in those 90 days the target only flies once or twice. As both articles mentioned, this seems like useless data/exercises cluttering up the system.
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Old 08-10-2018, 04:17 PM
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The program to me seems like it's trying to prevent immediate threats not "will this person be a threat 10 years from now"

Most of the people monitored are going to turn out to be nothing.

I feel like 90 days would be plenty of time for a "red flag" to either be found to be nothing or to realize "this person is performing a series of dry runs that seem to be leading up to an attack of some sort."

Whether the program is a waste of time or not though I feel it still has nothing to do with the Watchlist.

In theory the Watchlist is meant to be a list of known potential threats and is not in fact a list of people who are acting suspiciously on flights.

That being said this program should be studied and researched. If it's a waste of time and resources it should then be scrapped.
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