By Keith Laing - 04/20/12 03:55 PM EDT
A civil-rights group for citizens of the Sikh faith is launching a mobile phone application that will allow airport passengers to report alleged instances of racial or religious profiling by the Transportation Security Administration.
The New York-based Sikh Coalition said the application will help reduce members of their and other religious and minority communities from being targeted by airport security employees.
"Using this innovative application, victims can document their experience at the airport and submit profiling complaints directly to the Transportation Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security, making the experience of reporting faster, easier and less daunting," the group said in a news release announcing the application.
Sikh Coalition Director Amardeep Singh said the Department of Homeland Security has agreed to accept complaints submitted via its application as "official, actionable complaints."
Singh added that it was long overdue to provide travelers with a mobile way to report their airport security experiences.
"Profiling at airports is far from just a Sikh community problem, but the idea for the phone application comes from years of Sikh travelers anecdotally reporting extremely high rates (often every time they travel) of extra, additional screening at U.S. airports," Singh said in an email. "Too many travelers, due to fear or confusion, almost never formally document their cases. Which means for years the Department of Homeland Security has been able to say 'without high volumes of reported cases, we can’t see there being a problem.' "
The group plans to unveil its profiling application April 30 at the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights office in Washington, D.C.