Red Notices are viewed as being at least theoretically valid based upon the requirement that they be approved by the General Secretariat prior to acceptance and/or publication by INTERPOL.

Another animal entirely is the diffusion. A diffusion is a notice shared by any one of INTERPOL’S member countries with the other member countries. It is comparable to a BOLO (be on the lookout), as we would say in the States.

The major difference between a diffusion and a Red Notice is that the General Secretariat does not review or approve a diffusion prior to its being disseminated to other member countries. It most often contains information similar to a Red Notice, and is frequently disseminated while the issuing member country awaits an approval for a red notice. A diffusion is circulated via INTERPOL’s I-24/7 secure police communications network.

Why does it matter whether an accusation is formally publicized as a red notice or issued provisionally as a diffusion? Why do we need the reassurance from INTERPOL that accompanies a vetting of the accusing documents?

We need it because the safety mechanisms put in place by INTERPOL are meant to protect us from improperly motivated accusations wreaking havoc on our lives. If a diffusion is issued based an improperly issued warrant, INTERPOL should catch the problem and refuse to issue the red notice.

Late last year, attorney and blogger Jill Filipovic of Feministe recognized that charges which are the subject of Red Notices may or may not be valid, and the motivation behind the issuance of the warrant may or may not be legitimate. Given that those possibilities exist, it is especially important that warrants are subject to the rigors of INTERPOL’s screening process prior to publication as red notices.

As always, comments and thoughts are welcomed.