The Electronic Payments Network, a private-sector automated clearing house, has an online demo showing how an institution can scan transactions for possible terrorists based on those free, public, and error-ridden text files.
The Washington Post has an article, “Ordinary Customers Flagged as Terrorists,” describing how the Office of Foreign Asset Control maintains a list of potential terrorist suspects, and how everyday citizens can wind up on it.
A text file. That’s what banks use to freeze the assets of terrorists, drug traffickers, and nuclear weapons dealers. A dot txt downloadable from the U.S. Treasury website.