sugar
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
  • default color
  • green color
  • red color

The Muslim Link
tml

Harassed At the Airport? Click Here. PDF Print E-mail
User Rating: / 2
PoorBest 
Community News - Community News
Written by Wafa Unus Muslim Link Staff Reporter   
Friday, 11 May 2012 21:36

051112-iphone---fly-rights

 

Feel like the TSA overstepped their bounds during a security check? There’s an app for that.

On Monday April 30th, the Sikh Coalition released a mobile phone application that allows individuals to report complaints to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in real time.

“The idea came from Sikh entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley who were facing profiling...Somebody literally said ‘there should be an app for that’ and we ran with it,” said Rajdeep Singh, the Sikh Coalition’s Director of Law and Policy.

The app, called FlyRights, allows individuals instant access to a form requesting the same information as complaint forms available through the TSA and DHS websites. Once information is entered into the form and submitted, an email, containing the information, is sent to both of the departments for review. Upon receiving the complaint, it undergoes the same process that all other complaints registered with either the TSA or DHS.

While individuals can file complaints through forms on both departments websites, the app allows them to do it almost instantly. Crucial details, or even the motivation to file a complaint can be lost between the time of an incident and the time a traveler reaches their destination or has access to the Internet.

“The app really bridges the gap between the time an issue is had and the time a complaint is filed,” said Singh.

Singh said he and others at the Sikh Coalition found particular pleasure in the universality of the app.

What we are particularly happy about is that we have created a tool for people outside the Sikh community.. The whole purpose of this app is to empower people to file official complaints....it cuts across religious categories,” he said.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) welcomed the application.

“[The concept of] ‘flying while Muslim’ is a phenomenon that has arisen since September 11th and has really become part of the American Muslim experience,” said Gadeir Abbas, a staff attorney at The Council of American Islamic Relations.

CAIR, a civil rights organization, is no stranger to complaints regarding the TSA. However, making a case for profiling has its obstacles without documented patterns.

“When you're trying to get a government agency to act that government agency will not necessarily act unless there is a documented pattern of activity occurring,” said Abbas. “The absence of that documentation is an impediment to [getting rid of] some of the profiling that is occurring at the airport.”

While those impediments may be removed, the app does not guarantee action by the TSA or DHS.

“What’s left to be seen is if the government will take the information and [use] it in an effective manner to put a stop to profiling,” said Abbas.

Singh hopes the popularity of the app, with over 3000 downloads in its first few days, and its universality will not only make it a useful tool for travelers but a step toward addressing racial profiling in the United States.

“I think it’s going to make the TSA and DHS much more accountable. At least that is our hope,” he said. “At the very least this application will create a dialogue about whether the DHS or TSA have sufficient internal controls on how it handles profiling.”

Just a few days after its launch the app recorded five unique complaints filed.

“If because of this app [the TSA’s] complaint volume goes up exponentially the Congress will be asking them questions,” said Singh.

Comments (0)
Write comment
Your Contact Details:
Comment:
Security
Please input the anti-spam code that you can read in the image.
 
Banner
Banner
First Hijrah Annual Community Dinner
Sat, Nov 29th, @4:00pm - 10:00PM
Youth Sisters Halaqa at Maryum Islamic Center
Sun, Nov 30th, @11:00am - 01:00AM
Islamic Leadership and Khilafa
Wed, Dec 3rd, @6:00pm - 08:00PM
Masjid Al-Ihsan Annual Fund Raising Banquet
Sat, Dec 6th, @5:00pm - 08:00PM
ICNA Relief Community Banquet Dinner
Sat, Dec 6th, @6:00pm - 09:00PM
Jaam'i Masjid Fundraising Dinner
Sat, Dec 13th
Dar-us-Salaam Annual Fundraising Dinner and Family Night
Sun, Dec 14th
Add an event

Print Edition

Banner
Banner