04/26/2012 11:38 am ET

Airport Racial Profiling App To Allow Real-Time Reporting

WASHINGTON -- Civil rights groups plan to unveil a mobile app Monday that they say will allow users to report instances of alleged racial profiling by the Transportation Security Administration in real time.

Representatives of organizations including the Sikh Coalition, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Muslim Advocates and South Asian Americans Leading Together will demonstrate what they are calling "a novel marriage between technology and civil rights activism" at a news conference to be live-streamed at 10 a.m. ET.

"Racial profiling is ineffective and wasteful law enforcement that regularly and unfairly deprives people of their freedom," said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference. "This app will protect the innocent individuals who are most targeted and make air travel safer for everyone."

Complaints from members of minority groups that they have been singled out by airport security have proliferated since the 9/11 attacks. Incidents involving "Flying while Muslim" and turban searches of Sikh travelers have focused attention on racial profiling by airport screeners. Members of Congress last year demanded explanations after TSA officers at Newark Liberty International Airport singled out Mexican and Dominican passengers for special scrutiny.

The TSA has said its nascent behavior-recognition program is aimed at suspicious behavior and not passengers' appearance. But the agency also has an Office of Civil Rights and Liberties to which travelers can bring such complaints.