Watch List

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CASE STUDY “Trouble with the Terrorist Watch List Database” 1. Please read the case study that starts on the next page. 2. Answer all 5 questions below.

1. What Information Systems concepts are illustrated in this case? 2. Why was the consolidated terror watch list created? What are the communication benefits of the list? (Comm) 3. Describe some of the weaknesses of the watch list. What management, organization, and technology factors are responsible for these weaknesses? 4. What steps would you take to correct some of the weaknesses identified in question 3? 5. Do you believe that the watch list represents a significant threat to individual’s privacy or Constitutional rights? Why or why not? Discuss the importance of business communication ethics in this case.

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n the aftermath ofthe 9-11 attacks, both critics and defenders of the information systems employed by the U.S. intelligence community united to help analyze where things went wrong and how to prevent future terrorist incidents. The FBI's Thrrorist Screening Center, or TSC, was established to organize and standardize information about suspected terrorists between multiple government agencies into a single list to enhance communication between agencies. A database of suspected terrorists known as the terrorist watch list was born from these efforts in 2003 in response to criticisms that multiple agencies were maintaining separate lists and that these agencies lacked a consistent process to share relevant information concerning the individuals on each agency's list. Records in the TSC database contain sensitive but unclassified information on terrorist identities, such as name and date ofbirth, that can be shared with other screening agencies. Classified information about the people in the watch list is maintained in other law enforcement and intelligence agency databases. Records for the watch list database are provided by two sources: the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) managed by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence provides identif'ying information on individuals with ties to international terrorism. The FBI provides identif'ying information on individuals with ties to purely domestic terrorism. These agencies collect and maintain terrorist information and nominate individuals for inclusion in the TSC's consolidated watch list. They are required to follow strict procedures established by the head of the agency concerned and approved by the U.S. Attorney General. TSC staff must review each record submitted before it is added to the database. An individual will remain on the watch list until the respective department or agency that nominated that person to the list determines that the person should be removed from the list and deleted from its database. The watch list database is updated daily with new nominations, modifications to existing records, and deletions. The list has grown to over 750,000 records since its creation and is continuing to grow at a rate of 200,000 records each year since 2004. lnforn:ation on the list is distributed to a wide range of gow:rn-

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ment agency systems for use in efforts to deter or detect the movements of known or suspected terrorists, including the FBI, CIA, National Security Agency (NSA), 1tansportation Security Administration (TSA), U.S. Department of Homeland Security, State Department, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Secret Service, U.S. Marshals Service, and the White House, among others. Airlines use data supplied by the TSA system in their NoFly and Selectee lists for prescreening passengers, while the U.S. Customs...
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