Re: Name Mixup Behind Air France Groundings

From: Patrick Andries (
Date: Sat Jan 03 2004 - 18:47:18 EST

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    ----- Message d'origine -----
    De: "Frank Yung-Fong Tang" <>

    >The agent probably just heard the name over a tapped phone.
    >It probably does not matter who FBI store the name after

    [PA] This was also my impression although the FBI does not want to tell us
    its method of interception despite the evident scholarly value of this

    > It could be an Arabic to French transliteration read by
    >some one famliar with Arabic to English transliteration system.

    [PA] Or it could be someone speaking to someone else and saying Abdoul El
    Messaoui, you know our guy in Paris, plans to take the plane to LA next
    week Monday and someone/somethinh transcribing this the best way possible.

    >Unicode do not solve "transliteration" issue at all.

    Yes, yes.

    > There are multiple Arabic transliteration system available.

    Yes, hence my one of the French transliterations systems .

    >Remember, all the airline still use ASCII only for name these
    >day on our borading pass. The problem could be in the airline
    >side instead of the FBI side.

    I'm afraid the problem is most probably very complex especially if you start
    by only hearing names or guessing names. I suppose it is also combined by
    all the different authorities having different system to keep the names of
    people (airlines, police, diplomats, internal security (sorry warm and fuzzy
    "homeland" security). And any case this did not seem to be the only problem
    : they were genuine homonyms and no birth dates were supplied by the
    Americans to the French to check the identity of these homonyms. One of the
    dangerous passengers was thus a toddler.

    Maybe Unicode could have solved the problem, I'm not too sure though. But
    some Unicode may well help (and company such as Basis Technology may very
    well help Washington institutions in that regard).

    P. A.

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