Arab group protests system to monitor airport discrimination

January 18, 2000|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

WASHINGTON -- The Transportation Department is rethinking a plan to test whether an airport security measure discriminates against members of minority groups after the Arab American Institute complained that the test was worse than the problem it was supposed to detect.

The institute objected to the department's plan to ask passengers about their religion and ethnic background to help determine whether they were being unfairly singled out by security officers. The institute complained that asking the questions would contribute to the perception that Arabs were unfairly viewed as suspects.

The Computer-Assisted Passenger Prescreening System was adopted by the Federal Aviation Administration in 1997.

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