National Opt Out Day? Face $11K TSA Fine

By Jason Beahm on November 24, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Thinking about participating in National Opt Out Day? Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says you might want to think twice before you refuse to submit to the airport scanner. That's because it can fine individuals up to $11,000 for refusing to participate once passengers have cleared the initial security line.

The National Opt Out Day is an event encouraging airplane passengers to refuse the new body scanning machines and instead choose the new "enhanced" security pat-downs. Those who refuse both could be subject to a civil penalty for their refusal. The penalty is designed to deter terrorists from backing out of a security check once one begins. However the TSA has never fined a traveler for not completing the screening process.

"While TSA has the legal authority to levy a civil penalty of up to $11,000 for individuals who choose not to complete the screening process, each case is determined on the individual circumstances of the situation," Greg Soule, Transportation Security Administration spokesman, told ABC News.

However, in light of the upcoming National Opt Out Day, TSA is warning passengers that they could do more than just cause significant delays. Opt Out Day participants could also be fined.

"On the eve of a major national holiday and less than one year after al Qaeda's failed attack last Christmas Day, it is irresponsible for a group to suggest travelers opt out of the very screening that could prevent an attack using non-metallic explosives," said TSA Administrator John Pistole.

Of course, not everyone agrees with Pistole's characterization. Privacy advocates are livid about the new body scanners, arguing they infringe of personal liberties and human dignity. In addition, security experts are skeptical of the new machines and pat-downs.

That said, despite the media uproar over the new TSA procedures, the general public seems to give them the thumbs up. According to a CBS News poll, 4 in 5 Support the use of the new body scanners.

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