Feeds

Child porn threat to airport's 'virtual strip search' scanners

Erm, has legal OK'd this?

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

Manchester Airport has rejected claims its new body scanners will fall foul of child pornography laws, claiming that because they use X-rays "they do not make an image".

The machines use low doses of radiation to deliver a 3D black and white scan of volunteer passengers' bodies to a human operator sat in front of a screen. The scans reveal objects concealed underneath their clothes - including genitals.

The airport says the technology will improve and speed up security checks.

During the 12-month trial children will be scanned if their parents give consent. The policy has prompted the children's civil rights group Action on Rights for Children (ARCH) to write to bosses, insisting they will break the law.

Making an indecent image of a child is an offence under the Protection of Children Act - the fact Manchester Airport scans will not be stored is irrelevant in the eyes of the law.

ARCH has sought and been given government assurances during past trials that the scanners that can see under clothes will not be used on children.

"It's completely unlawful. Manchester Airport haven't got a leg to stand on," the group's spokeswoman Terri Dowty told The Register today.

There is a "prevention and detection of crime" exemption in the law, but legal precedent indicates, but "it isn't a license for a trawling exercise", said Dowty. Authorities would need a good reason to justify using such an exemption, she added.

ARCH has campaigned against the use of body scanners on children, arguing they are disproportionately intrusive and remove their right to dignity, particularly given many are sensitive about their bodies.

A spokesman for Manchester Airport said he wasn't yet aware of ARCH's letter of complaint, but argued the scans did not amount to an "image" in legal terms.

ARCH believes it has the beating of that argument, however. A provision of the Protection of Children Act specifically outlaws "pseudo-photographs".

Dowty said that if ARCH is not satisfied by Manchester Airport's response to its complaint, it will mount a legal challenge to stop the scanning of children.

The Department of Transport, which in 2006 said children would not be scanned during a trial of the same technology at Paddington train station, was not immediately available for comment. ®

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
EU: Let's cost financial traders $400m a day, because EVIL BANKERS. Right?
Wait 'til this one hits your pension fund where it hurts
Systems meltdown plunges US immigration courts into pen-and-paper stone age
Massive outage could last four weeks, sources claim
RIP net neutrality? FCC boss mulls 'two-speed internet'
Financial fast track to replace level competitive playing field, report claims
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
UK.gov chucks £28m at F1 tech for buses and diggers plan
Well, not really F1 but who's heard of LMP and VLN*?
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.