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US agrees to address airport security technology discrimination

TSA is a division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and is in charge of overseeing the safety of the country’s internal and external transportation networks.

GAO found that although the TSA has a process for addressing passenger complaints alleging discrimination, it could improve how it informs passengers about this process.

While TSA provides signs for airports to place at checkpoints that include contact information for questions about screening, most do not explicitly cite complaints. 

Additional steps required

“Taking additional steps to better inform the public about the discrimination complaint process could help ensure any issues are identified and addressed. Further, TSA’s data systems and collection practices limit its ability to fully analyze discrimination complaints,” further stated the report.

The GAO found that TSA is unable to analyze the number of complaints that were found to have merit or resulted in disciplinary actions because the data are stored in different systems that lack specific fields to collect this information. Improving TSA’s analyses of discrimination complaint data could better inform training and other initiatives to help prevent discrimination.

Addressing issues with technology

TSA Director David Pekoske recently told members of Congress that the organization is now trying to address these issues through technology.

“We’re putting new technology in our security screening checkpoints,” Pekoske said. “We have a lot of that new technology at Atlanta airport, but part of that technology is to be able to automatically detect prohibited items, which currently we don’t have the ability to do.”

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