The Transportation Security Administration's revamping of the "no-fly" list, intended to prevent suspected terrorists from boarding aircraft, is officially five years behind schedule. The new, improved system is now expected to be online in 2010, seven years after the government started working on the latest version and nine years after 9/11. So far the government has spent some $220 million on the project, and "officials would not release an estimate of how much they expected to spend before the system was complete." I am not an expert in airline security or computer systems, but I find it hard to believe that it takes so much effort to add the information (such as birthdate and sex) needed to distinguish between, say, Catherine Stevens and Cat Stevens (to use the example of a so-far insoluble information management problem cited by The New York Times), or to avoid barring every Edward Kennedy in the country from flying. According to TSA Administrator Kip Hawley, merely eliminating "erroneous, redundant or incorrect listings" would make the list about half as long as it is now.
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