Feeds

MEPs warn on 'virtual strip searches'

Old bodies, new scanners, new danger

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Members of the European Parliament have asked the Commission to look carefully at the privacy implications of millimetre wave scanners - which effectively produce naked pictures of passengers.

The technology has already been trialled in the UK - at Paddington railway station - but was found to be impractical and abandoned.

Although the technology can be used to peer beneath people's clothes, more recent incarnations, like the 12 ordered by the US Transport Safety Administration, work on an alarm system - a red light flashes or an alarm sounds if an unexpected object is detected beneath clothing.

But that hasn't stopped the MEPs getting into a tizzy about the fact that the machines could produce "scanned images of persons as if they were naked, equivalent to a virtual strip search." Yes, NAKED.

The MEPs have adopted a resolution on the technology, in which they say the Commission's draft measure "could exceed the implementing powers as the measures foreseen cannot be considered mere technical measures related to security, but have a serious impact on the fundamental rights of citizens. MEPs consider that the conditions for a decision have not yet been met, given that essential information is still lacking."

Philip Bradbourn, Tory MEP for the West Midlands, said: "This technology has the potential – and, I stress, the potential – to force air passengers to undergo what could be seen as undignifying treatment." Bradbourn noted that, as with rules on liquids in planes, what starts as exceptional measures can quickly become the norm for airport security.

MEPs asked the Commission to investigate privacy implications alongside the possible health impact of the technology, and an economic, commercial and cost-benefit analysis. Whether MEPs regard an actual strip search, or even a quick grope from a minimum-wage security monkey, as a worse invasion of privacy is not clear. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
Yes, Australia's government SHOULD store comms metadata
Not because it's a good idea but because it already operates the infrastructure and processes to do it well
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.