Some Firms Scan Terror Watch List Before Doing Business


Private businesses such as mortgage companies and car dealers are checking the names of customers against a list of suspected terrorists and drug traffickers made public by the Treasury Department, sometimes denying services to ordinary people whose names are similar to those on the list, reports the Washington Post. An executive order by President Bush after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks has expanded the list and its consequences in unforeseen ways, according to a report by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area.

The report’s author said, “The government is effectively conscripting private businesses into the war on terrorism but doing so without making sure that businesses don’t trample on individual rights.” The lawyers’ committee has documented at least a dozen cases in which U.S. customers have had transactions denied or delayed because their names were a partial match with a name on the list, which runs more than 250 pages and includes 3,300 groups and individuals.


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