Currently, when travelers feel that their liberty has been violated by agents of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), their only recourse in the moment is to accept it, to try complaining by involving TSA management or police officers (often delaying their own departure enough to miss their flight), or to bite their tongues and file a complaint with the TSA after the fact.
The TSA only shares citizen complaints under duress, when compelled to do so by Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, after much delay, and heavily redacted so that no identifying information is available to follow up with the person filing a complaint, let alone to help others to determine where a pattern of rights violations is occurring.
We are going to revolutionize travelers’ dispute resolution options. By collecting and pooling travelers’ complaints, our growing database will form the basis for concerted efforts to redress their grievances and demand change and/or restitution. Working together, the traveling public will discover that they have the power to pressure the TSA to abandon abusive practices.
Our objectives include:
Create a web-based infrastructure where:
- Anyone may use computers, tablets and cell phones to share their own experiences with the TSA, particularly encounters in which they felt violated. This will include all pertinent information about what happened, where it happened, when it happened, and who was involved in terms of travelers, TSA personnel, and others.
- This information can include textual accounts, as well as uploaded or shared audio, visual and other supportive evidence.
- This platform will allow users to easily generate and submit complaints to the TSA.
- Heat maps can be generated showing the geographical and temporal concentration of violations, so that further follow-up may be done wherever there are the most reports of violations.
- Users may communicate with each other through public and member-only User Forums to share ideas, collaborate on solutions, and work together on a particular project or regional basis.
TSA Watch will advocate for improvement by:
- Helping people to file complaints with the TSA via web tools and mobile applications,
- Investigating centers of repeated complaints—enabling teams to further document these TSA locations and agents, investigate, and to use various tools to “catch violators in the act,” on video, audio, and through other means,
- Communicating with relevant authorities to address complaints and improve TSA oversight,
- Campaigning through mass media to educate the public about TSA violations and alternatives to the current practices, and
- Where necessary, using the power of the courts and juries to bring justice and change.