Report TSA profiling with new free app FlyRights

Report TSA profiling with new free app FlyRights

Summary: Passengers can report unfair TSA screenings or suspected profiling with Apple and Android app FlyRights.

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If you feel like you've ever been harassed for extra screening by the TSA, or are sick of feeling like the TSA is getting away with targeting you, then you'll want to download the new FlyRights app.

FlyRights is the first smartphone app to give travelers a direct line to file a complaint when you think you've been profiled (or worse) by the TSA during airport security screening.

The FlyRights app is available for Apple and Android.

The free app is an easy way to report suspected instances of additional search and screening abuse by the TSA based on your gender, race or religion.

It's no secret that the Transportation and Security Administration needs to clean up its act. Under pressure to drive up their productivity numbers and retaining employees that misbehave has created a dangerously closed environment where TSA incidents are practically expected - and all too often go unreported by passengers.

Last November TSA agents in both Honolulu Airport and Newark Liberty International came forward saying that fellow TSA colleagues were targeting Latino passengers . These officers allegedly had nicknames such as "Mexican Hunters" and "Mexicutioners."

It's not just religious and ethnic groups that face unfair, and often humiliating, profiling.

Women describe instances of sexualization and some have reported what they feel are "peep show" atmospheres in full-body scan screenings.

This past February, one woman went public with her story after a TSA agent called her "cute" while she was made to go through full-body scans three times - something that is against TSA policies.

She did not file a complaint at the time because she did not know she could.

Upon the app's release this morning, the first FlyRights report was filed from a woman who felt mistreated over a breast milk incident.

Despite what appears to be serious concerns surfacing about TSA profiling or misconduct, according to the Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties at DHS, only 11 official complaints of improper TSA screening were filed during the first two quarters of 2011.

Today FlyRights was unveiled in conjunction with the TSA - and that's good news.

While it is a project of the Sikh Coalition whose primary focus is to stop religious profiling, the app includes a range of discrimination categories.

FlyRights guides users through a complete report process for submitting an official complaint, and it sends your report directly to both the Department of Homeland Security and the TSA.

While the app's simple function is as an email sender, it follows exact incident report questionnaires on the TSA and DHS websites.

Users that believe they have been targeted simply open the app and begin.

FlyRights starts with a checklist of behaviors that qualify as profiling: passengers then describe what kind of discrimination they have experienced by checking boxes next to categories of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, nationality or disability.

Users are prompted to enter the date, time and airport where the incident happened, if there was a body scan or additional screening, and the app features a text field to report the name and badge number of the TSA agent involved.

At the conclusion of filing your report, an in-app Tweet button lets you easily write a tweet saying you just filed a report against the TSA.

The app links to TSA policies to help the user make decisions, as well as helping users describe detailed points about having to remove religious - or other - clothing or items.

However, as the ACLU's technology and civil liberties policy attorney pointed out to Ars Technica today, it's never going to be clear-cut until we know exactly what the TSA's policies are. The TSA reinforced to Ars that the, "TSA does not profile passengers on the basis of race, ethnicity or religion."

Hopefully FlyRights can be the beginning of a desperately needed course correction at a time when "TSA" has become synonymous with "incompetence" and "abuse" - and gives us passengers a little bit of control back over our bodies and our dignity.

Topics: iPhone, Android, Apple, Apps, Google, Hardware, Mobility, Security, Smartphones

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13 comments
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  • The TSA SHOULD be profiling

    Forget that PC nonsense! We are wasting time and money running everyone through security, making flying miserable for frequent flyers and vacationers alike, because we are afraid we might offend someone? SCREW THAT! I want the TSA to profile, looking into the background and travel history of their passengers, then green light the majority of flyers and subject the few who have some red flags in their profile to the heightened security checks. The current system is so flawed that even the pilots must go through security. If the pilot wants to kill you, they don't need a gun, knife, or bomb to do it, and pilots are already subject to extensive checks.

    Free the hands of the TSA from PC nonsense and allow them to profile and we will all be safer.
    itpro_z
    • Congratulations!

      itpro_z, you just ensured that you'll be treated to extra screening procedures next time you fly!

      Really, how many bad guys has the TSA stopped with all these extra measures? ZERO! What a waste of money and time.
      WozNotWoz
      • Agreed

        It's nothing more than the BIG GOVERNMENT trying to make everyone FEEL safer and exploit more tax revenue from us. Nothing but hogwash that needs to stop.
        smashandgrab
    • If you profile then you let real bad people through

      If you are looking a only certain type of people through profiling then you can allow bad people that don't fit the profile that you are looking for and they can do the same destruction or lot more. Profiling creates stereotype of people that most people of that group are not and this unnecessarily creates friction with these people. If you want to profile people we should stop all drunk, people on certain medications, badly behaving people on all public transportation since they are threat as much as a "profiled" people. Look at the recent incidents of flight crew members loosing it on the flight and could have cause a major and deadly incident. Also the drunk passengers trying to open doors in flight and other dangerous behavior which could be deadly but we choose to "profile" certain type of people since it easier to see them than bad behavior, drunkenness, or people on medicine since it difficult to detect them so we let them through since they are "upstanding people of the community".
      phatkat
  • What about reporting good behavior?

    Is there a way to report good and courteous behavior? I travel often for work and there are plenty of times that TSA agents are very professional and pleasant.
    grcarter81@...
  • Profiling works

    One of the worlds most threatened countries, Israel, has always practiced profiling. It has worked great for them keeping their people safe. In fact, they have suffered fewer attempts, and fewer successful attempts, than the USA has endured. They place the safety of their citizens before anything else, including being politically safe.

    Further, the past director of the TSA, believes that 90% of the screening done by TSA is 'clutter:

    "Americas airline security system spends 90 percent of its effort looking for clutter and distracting agents from genuine threats. So says Kip Hawley, former Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration in a new book."

    Someone with the exact same name as mine is on the 'no fly watch list' and that is a bother for me every time I try to board an aircraft. Still, I can live with that kind of bother; what I cannot live with is a bomb on board.

    I would much rather see an app that would allow us to compliment a TSA worker every time they did a good job of screening, or, when they eliminate a potential threat from an aircraft, as opposed to some PC app for PC people.
    Forensics.Focus@...
    • Yes, but one point...

      The no fly list is a joke. Ever since it's inception by the Bush administration, the no fly list excludes suspected terrorists so as not to tip them off that they are being watched. So... everyone on the no fly list is NOT suspected of terrorism. So it exists... Why?
      mlashinsky@...
  • Personally I don't have any issue with profiling...

    Laws of numbers and stats show and historical actions trend that way.

    If you have been robbed 3 times by a purple people eater and threatened by a purple people eater and the number of purple people eater crimes indicate that there is a high probability that it will happen, than guess what you are going to do mentally...profile, period. If the individual purple people eater is innocent then he/she has nothing to worry about. If it keeps my family safe while flying, grope away, I have nothing to hide.
    TheBottomLineIsAllThatMatters
  • hi re

    My best friend's mom makes $77 an hour on the computer. She has been out of job for 9 months but last month her check was $7487 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read about it here NuttyRich dot com
    MaciasJanette31236624
  • No to TSA yes to profiling

    Rather than inconvenience everyone and spend money unnnecessarily we should be profiling. A terrorist is typically x, y, and z. What's wrong with that. The Israel's do it very effectively. We are much too worried about political correctness. We don't need X-ray machines or battalions of security people. We need common sense ! Let's stop the senseless abuse of our Fourth Amendment rights because we are afraid to offend someone.
    pizzaman7
    • Oh, we do need xray machines...

      ...because some company is making a quarter mil. apiece in our tax money! After all, isn't that what it is all about?
      mlashinsky@...
  • TSA has nothing to do with airport security

    It's all about getting the sheeple accustomed to giving up their rights and accepting the supposed authority of the government's brownshirt army. It's all based on the idea that we're under constant threat of Islamic Terrorism, although Big Sis Napolitano wants everyone to believe everyone is a terrorist. Just look at those caucasians over there. How could they not be terrorists? They're suspicious. They paid cash for their coffee.

    If you haven't read 1984 do so. He describes the benefits a totalitarian regime enjoys in a state of forever war.

    Patriot Act
    NDAA
    CISPA
    Obama's recent signing into law making free speech a felony.
    It's not a Left-Right thing either.

    ???Once when he happened in some connection to mention the war against Eurasia, she startled him by saying casually that in her opinion the war was not happening. The rocket bombs which fell daily on London were probably fired by the Government of Oceania itself, ???just to keep people frightened.??????
    Orwell 1984
    Hatestone Johnson
  • How about an app that gives TSA workers home addresses?

    Much like the app making addresses of recently paroled sex offenders known, we do the same for our friendly neighborhood TSA workers?

    TSA screener positions would soon be impossible to fill. Just a thought.
    Hatestone Johnson