In a joint letter to the Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division and the Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, NCAC and the below signatories question the legality of federal watchlisting practices.

The letter deems the current system of labeling thousands of people, including American citizens, as suspected terrorists as “bloated and unfair.” The signatories state that the system “stigmatizes individuals and communities, erodes our privacy, and undermines cherished constitutional rights.”

The co-signers maintain that standards for inclusion on watchlisting systems are “broad and vague.” They also raise serious privacy and civil liberty concerns as “Government officials routinely collect the biometric data of watchlisted individuals, including facial images, iris scans, fingerprints, and DNA strands.” The letter argues that such an “unchecked exercise of power over innocent citizens” will divert attention from genuine threats.

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