Debate grows over flier security vs. privacy

It looks like San Diego's John Tyner's refusal to comply with airport security could cost him a lot of money.

KUSI's Ed Lenderman sheds some light on why Tyner could be paying a big fine.

An investigation into Saturday's incident has begun and Tyner could be fined as much as $11,000 for his refusal to be patted down, after initially refusing the body scan.

It's a federal law.  Once you've committed yourself to airport screening, you must complete the process. Michael Aguilar, the Federal Security Director at Lindbergh Field, says Tyner Faces up to $11,000 in civil penalties for his actions Saturday.

The airport security official also addressed the larger and growing issue of passengers' privacy involving the full-body scan, “the enemy we're facing isn't stagnant,” said Aguilar,  “our procedures continue to be refined, we use a risk-based system that addresses all the emerging threats, or in response, as was the case December 25th, to new threats.”

Aguilar is referring to the so-called “underwear bomber” last Christmas day, who'd gotten aboard a plane with a non-metallic explosive. That kind of argument meets with this argument at the American Civil Liberties Union, that the routine use of scanners and pat downs is excessive, unnecessary and unjustified.  “If there was a particular reason to scan or search a particular person, that would be different,” said David Blair-Loy, Legal Director of the San Diego ACLU, “but what we're talking about here is the routine, suspicion-less use of scanners or pat-downs.”

The American Civil Liberties Union claims the body scanner causes more harm to privacy and dignity than any other type of security.

Aguilar points out that when the scanned person clears, the image is immediately deleted from the system.

There's a grassroots movement on the Internet promoting a passenger protest the day before Thanksgiving, the busiest travel day of the year, opting out of a full body scan means a pat downs, which will certainly slow things down.

Michael Aguilar calls such a protest, if it happens, irresponsible.

Categories: KUSI