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Airline passengers have ‘no right’ to refuse naked body scanners

Alan Travis and Dan Milmo
London Guardian [1]
Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Airline passengers will have no right to refuse to go through a full-body search scanner when the devices are introduced at Heathrow airport next week, ministers have confirmed.

The option of having a full-body pat-down search instead, offered to passengers at US airports, will not be available despite warnings from the government’s Equality and Human Rights Commission that the scanners, which reveal naked bodies, breach privacy rules [2] under the Human Rights Act.

The transport minister Paul Clark told MPs a random selection of passengers would go through the new scanners at UK airports. The machines’ introduction would be followed later this year by extra “trace” scanners, which can detect liquid explosives. A draft code of practice covering privacy and health issues is being discussed in Whitehall.



Clark dealt with concerns raised by the Commons home affairs select committee about the ability of airports abroad to upgrade their security to similar levels by indicating that extra support and help was under discussion.

Lord West, the counter-terrorism minister, told the MPs the government had firmly ruled out the introduction of “religious or ethnic profiling” into transport security. Instead, he said, airport security staff were being trained in “behavioural profiling”, which meant spotting passengers who had paid cash, were travelling with only a book for luggage on a long-haul flight or were behaving erratically at the airport.

Full story here. [1]