FBI and Relational Database{2}

by Irving A
A recent article published recently on The New York Times discusses the issues in regards to the watch list system, more specifically the government’s terrorist watch list. Those under this watch list are frequently subject to extra screening at airports, border crossings or traffic stops. Although many in the list have been declared not guilty, that has not been enough to remove them from the watch list system. They continue to be “reasonable suspicious” for having terrorism ties. However, much controversy has risen recently over the watch list system, as it violates our civil liberties. As a citizen of the United States, one is innocent until proven guilty. However, one may be assumed guilty even after the courts have dismissed the case simply by remaining on the watch list. However, it is important to note that although one is subject to extra screening or questioning, it is quite better than going to prison. It is a measure to keep the country’s border safe though. The watch list files are shared between federal agencies. Aircraft passengers are screened, the border patrol is also aware of those on the list as well as for those applying for visas. Police officers are also aware of the list and are able to check for names during traffic stops. Most on the watch list are not aware of it until they are subject to extra screening, but as Chris Calabrese, a counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union, mentions the watch list system is “a secret determination, that you have no input into…it can ripple through your entire life and you have no way to challenge it” (Charlies Savage, 2011).

In summary relational database is a system that matches data by using similar aspects found within the data set. This system allows for data to be organized clearly for others to understand and retrieve data easily. This system is used widely to store financial and medical records as well as personal information and statistics. Relations, or tables, are generated from relational databases that also convey useful information.

Relational databases are used in the government’s watch list system to share the names of those who are suspicious of terrorism. This way the watch list is shared between federal agencies, such as police officers, aircraft and immigration agencies in border crossings. In a way relational databases have facilitated the work placed in generating easier ways to read information rather quickly. However, in the case of the watch list system, it does make it harder for one to escape extra screening when the court’s verdict has already declared one as innocent. The name must remain on the list almost indefinitely for the remainder of their lives.


Charlies Savage. (2011, September 27). Even those cleared of crimes can stay on f.b.i.’s watch list. The New York Times, p. A1. . Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/28/us/even-those-cleared-of-crimes-can-stay-on-fbis-terrorist-watch-list.html?_r=2&scp=19&sq=database&st=cse