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Need to report TSA abuse? There’s an app for that!

May 01, 20123 mins
Investigation and ForensicsPhysical Security

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Credit: Illus_man/Shutterstock

Tired of being groped by the TSA while watching them interrogate your toddler for a bulge in the diaper they think is a gun? Now you can report these wrongs via a new app launched by the Sikh Coalition.

Yesterday, the group launched what they call FlyRights —  a mobile phone application that allows users to “report instances of airport profiling in real time during a launch event at the offices of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.”

The coalition said this about the app on its website:

“The application creates a novel marriage between technology and civil rights activism. It is the first and only such application of its kind, allowing users in communities such as the Sikh, Muslim, Latino, or Black communities to document their experience at the airport.”

I had never heard of the Sikh Coalition before seeing a report on this from the Associated Press. The organization’s website says it was born in the aftermath of bigotry, violence and discrimination against the city's Sikh population following 9-11.

“We have provided direct legal services to seventy-one victims of hate crimes, twenty-nine victims of airport profiling, and twenty-one Sikhs who were prosecuted for carrying the kirpan, a Sikh article of faith. Over seventy percent of these cases come from New York, the rest are selectively chosen from around the country when victims requesting assistance have no other means of support.”

According to the AP story,  the FlyRights app had fielded two complaints by 10 a.m. EDT Monday.

“The first complaint came from a woman who said she felt mistreated after she disclosed to a screener that she was carrying breast milk. A man who is Sikh filed the second complaint, saying he was subjected to extra security even though he had not set off any alarms. The woman’s complaint was based on gender and the man’s, religion, said coalition program director Amardeep Singh. The Department of Homeland Security and Transportation Security Administration were notified of the app before its launch, and the agencies agreed to allow the app to use the agencies’ system for submitting the complaints.”

I seriously doubt this app will make much difference in controlling a TSA run wild. But it’s nice to know there’s a way for people to log grievances through a phone app.