The US Transportation Security Administration is far from the most popular of government agencies, but a new app is making it easier for people who believe they've been profiled to file a complaint. "FlyRights," released by The Sikh Coalition, was created after Sikh tech entrepreneurs complained that their beards and turbans were leading TSA guards to stop them too often at airports. "They literally said to one of our staff members, 'There should be an app for that'," says Coalition co-founder Amardeep Singh. "We thought, great idea, let's start working on it." The app, now available for both iOS and Android, asks users to fill out their name and address along with a description of the incident. It can then be sent directly to the TSA, The Sikh Coalition, or both.
TSA spokesperson Kawika Riley says that anyone with bulky clothes or scarves "should know they may be subject to additional screening" and that the agency does not profile based on race or religion. Providing an easy way to report potential problems, however, doesn't stop the TSA from conducting its checks, and the app also includes text that clarifies the rights of both Sikh and non-Sikh passengers. Security expert Bruce Schneier, well known for his critiques of the TSA, says it could even help restore some trust in the agency by collecting hard data for review. Stopping any potential profiling based on demographic factors, Schneier says, is "just doing security smarter."