Group revamps TSA profiling app

A civil-rights group for citizens of the Sikh faith is updating a mobile phone application that allows airport passengers to report alleged instances of racial or religious profiling by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

The New York-based Sikh Coalition said its FlyRights 2.0 application will allow passengers to copy members of Congress on profiling complaints they submit to the TSA and the Department of Homeland Security.

“FlyRights users have confirmed that we cannot simply trust the TSA to self-report on whether it is engaging in discrimination,” Sikh Coalition Director of Programs Amardeep Singh said in a statement. “An independent auditor should review and publicly report on the TSA’s screening practices. Only then will we know whether the TSA is remaining true to its own anti-discrimination polices. Until that happens, we call on the public to hold the TSA accountable by downloading and using FlyRights.”

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The original FlyRights app was downloaded 18,000 since its launch in April 2012, the Sikh Coalition said.

In addition to the new option to copy lawmakers on complaints, the Sikh Coalition said the updated FlyRights app will include a map that shows the airports with the highest instances of reported profiling.

The application has drawn support from TSA critics and civil rights advocates in Congress.

“Airport safety measures based on someone’s race, gender or faith are not safety measures at all – they alienate targeted communities and make victims out of travelers. The new FlyRights mobile app being introduced today will empower travelers to fight back against profiling with new tools,” Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, said in a statement.

“A process for travelers to submit complaints can provide recourse while helping improve TSA’s performance,” Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) added.