December 29, 2009 12:55 ET

S3 Data Expert Says Government Still Not Taking Simple Steps to Increase Traveler Safety

Too Many People, Inefficient Data Management Add Complications

AUSTIN, TX--(Marketwire - December 29, 2009) - Numerous databases, varying formats of presentation, and government employees making alterations to documents continue to cause problems in keeping potentially dangerous individuals from boarding commercial airline flights. There still has not been a sufficient level of process implemented by the federal government to keep terrorist lists synchronized to an acceptable level of accuracy.

"For those of us that work in the data management industry, it's hard to believe Washington still has not implemented a single list management group," said Jack Holt, CEO of S3 in Austin, Texas, and an expert on data matching. "We need one group that is held accountable to compile and deliver all terrorist watch lists to and from all authorized agencies."

When Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's father contacted the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria expressing his concern that his son had been radicalized, Abdulmutallab's name was entered into the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE). Abdulmutallab's identity got moved to the list of 500,000 travelers being monitored by U.S. authorities but was left off of the much smaller database of 14,000 on the "selectee" rolls, which are more closely monitored, and the 4,000 people not allowed to fly commercially in American airspace.

"An essential problem is that people maintain these lists and people can make mistakes," explained Holt. "People are possessive of data. They've added or changed information. And the people operating the TIDE list don't report to managers of the more important Terrorist Screening Database. We need to face the facts that there is too much human touch in the process, not enough sophisticated technology and processes, and far too many agencies not working properly together."

According to Holt, both the technology and processes are available to eliminate these types of screening failures but the government has not yet implemented them. Holt considers it odd that Mr. Abdulmutallab was able to board a flight without additional screening when his company, S3, has people working for it that are consistently subjected to increased security protocols.

About S3 ( S3 is an Austin, Texas based company focused on providing business crisis solutions for network outsourcers, financial services, and healthcare industries. S3's software is deployed as a managed solution to solve time-sensitive business crises.

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