A federal judge ruled that the Terrorist Screening Database was unconstitutional last year, but local and state law enforcement continue to collect and share data on individuals who were placed on the watch list, Yahoo News reports.
According to an FBI document obtained by Yahoo News, which was dated more than a month after a federal judge ruled that being placed in the database violated the constitutional rights of those in it, law enforcement “encounters of watchlisted individuals almost certainly yield increased opportunities for intelligence collection.” These “encounters” include traffic stops and responses to domestic disputes, and provide authorities with “the opportunity to acquire additional biographic identifiers, fraudulent identification documents, financial information and associates of watchlisted individuals.”
The database was launched in 2003, and eventually included more than 1.1 million people. Authorities only needed a “reasonable suspicion” that an individual was a suspected terrorist or an “associate” of one to place their name on the list. A group of 23 Muslim Americans who were placed on the list and the Council on American-Islamic Relations sued, arguing that their right to due process had been violated. A federal judge ruled in their favor last September.
"The general right of free movement is a long-recognized, fundamental liberty," wrote U.S. District Judge Anthony Trenga in his ruling, according to NBC News. "Inclusion in the TSDB accordingly imposes a substantial burden on Plaintiff's exercise of their rights to international travel and domestic air travel,” and that is a "deprivation of liberty interests."
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