The maintenance of lists, written or unwritten, of persons whose position, behaviour or beliefs are disapproved of; who are to be boycotted or economically deprived; or who are to be the subject of any number of diverse punitive measures, have been perennial activities in individual and organizational history. When this is engaged in by governmental agencies, civil rights are violated and such blacklisting can lead to more serious governmental sanctions and crimes against individuals.
Blacklisting in the UK is a reputable industrial service, reputed to protect industries against spies and industrial saboteurs. The services help companies to vet potential employees. In 1993 in German-speaking Europe concern was expressed at the publication by neo-nazis in underground periodicals of "hit lists" of key left wing people and groups and their addresses. It was officially conceded that this had intimidated anti-nazi campaigners.
In 1996, comparisons were made in the USA between the list of political "enemies" maintained by Richard Nixon and that maintained by Bill Clinton, and the consequences of being so listed in each case. In the case of Clinton, it was claimed that FBI files had been misused in the case of some 330 people.