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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

EU to introduce ‘virtual strip searches’ at airports by 2010

According to a draft European Commission regulation, seen by The Daily Telegraph, the new millimetre wave imaging scanners are to be used “individually or in combination, as a primary or secondary means and under defined conditions” to provide a “virtual strip search” of travellers.  Dominic Grieve, Shadow Home Secretary, stressed that while body scanners may be an effective security tool “the implementation must be carried out by the British government in a proportionate manner, based on UK security requirements rather than the dictates of Brussels”.  The new imaging technology creates an image of an unclothed body which privacy critics argue “amounts to a virtual strip search” has been tested on a voluntary basis at Heathrow’s Terminal Four.

Air passengers scanned by the new technology walk into a large booth where electromagnetic waves are beamed on to their body to create a virtual three-dimensional “naked” image from reflected energy.

Gareth Crossman, Director of Policy at Liberty, said: “I don’t think people are aware of what these scanners can do and how demeaning it is to have your body on display.

Security officials in the United States have pioneered use of the scanners at New York and Los Angeles airports because the technology reveals the contours of the body, picking up hidden items, such as guns or knives, more effectively than standard physical “pat-down” checks.  Paolo Costa, Chairman of the European Parliament’s Transport Committee, is concerned over the safety of the new technology and how “nude” images of passengers will be viewed, then stored, by security officials.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/3110533/EU-to-introduce-virtual-strip-searches-at-airports-by-2010.html

Posted on 10/01
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