EU moves airport body scanners a step closer

The European Commission has moved a step closer to introducing body scanning technology at airports.

Nov 20, 2008
By Paul Jacques
Cleveland PCC Steve Turner

The European Commission has moved a step closer to introducing body scanning technology at airports.

A workshop on aviation security and the use of full body scanners was hosted by the European Commission last week.

The workshop was a first step in addressing the impact of aviation security measures and body scanners on human rights, privacy, personal dignity, health and data protection in close cooperation with the European Parliament, the European Data Protection Supervisor, manufacturers and national authorities.

It follows a European Parliament ruling that the scanners could “have a serious impact on the fundamental rights of citizens”. A detailed review of the technology was also called for before it is used.

The aim of the workshop was to exchange information and examine issues relating to body scanners, including the results of trials at London Heathrow, Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport and Helsinki Vantaa airport.

These trials found that while the majority of passengers accepted the use of the scanners and that they were more effective than the metal detectors and hand searches currently used at airports, they were noticeably slower than existing security measures.

As well as regulatory issues discussed by EU member states at the workshop, manufacturers involved in these trials also made presentations on how a body scanner works.

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