A Quebec businessman whose name is one of the many that have erroneously landed on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s flight passenger watch list has decided to change his name to avoid lengthy security hassles at the airport.
Mario Labbé, an executive with a Montreal-based record company, says his Canadian passport triggers a red alert on the computers of U.S. customs agents every time he tries to board a flight to the U.S. — which is about once a month for the past seven years.
“I was pulled aside in a room … and you have to wait your turn to finally be released,” Labbé said. “An hour, an hour and a half, two hours, whatever it is after. Once I was caught in Miami like that for six hours.
“It’s always the same questions, about if I’ve lost my passport, if I’ve been to Japan — I don’t know why Japan, but in their file it was something to do with Japan.”
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security wrote a letter to Labbé in 2004, saying he had been placed on their watch list after falling victim to identity theft. At the time, the department said there was no way for his name to be removed.
Although Labbé wrote letters to the U.S. department, his efforts were in vain, prompting him to legally change his name.
“So now, my official name is François Mario Labbé,” he said.
“Then you have to change everything: driver’s license, social insurance, medicare, credit card — everything.”
Although it’s not a big change from Mario Labbé, he said it’s been enough to foil the U.S. customs computers.
Win. (via NeedleNose)