Feeds

Airport rethinks strip-scanner for kids

Nudity no longer mandatory for under-18s

High performance access to file storage

Manchester Airport will be taking legal advice on proposals to send children through its new X-ray scanners.

This is a change from its position, reported in The Register yesterday, that they did not believe the images created by the new scanning technology (the slightly unfortunately named Rapiscan) would fall foul of child pornography laws, because they use X-rays and therefore "they do not make an image".

A spokesman for Manchester airports talked to El Reg this morning. "Our view is that it does not break the law," he told us. "However, since a number of people have been in touch and pointed out that there might be a problem, we have ourselves been in touch with charities working in this area to take further advice.

"We have spoken to Shy Keenan, co-founder of Phoenix Chief Advocates, which works with child abuse survivors. She agreed that this was a difficult area and that there might be an issue.

"As far as Manchester airport is concerned, we are not in the business of endangering children - our only interest is in making sure all passengers get on the plane safely. We will abide by the advice given by experts in this area."

The problem is that the practice of scanning – and checking - children brings together in one activity several of society’s current obsessions and moral panics.

On the one hand, in order to protect children from the prying eye of paedophiles, the Protection of Children Act 1978 (pdf) makes it a strict liability offence to "make" an indecent image of a child. Indecency is not defined absolutely in law – that is a matter for a jury to decide. However, the lowest level of "indecency" would not even require nudity, but could consist solely of images deemed to consider "sexual posing".

"Making", in law, can cover the simple action of downloading an image from the internet on to a PC.

For most effective use of Rapiscan technology, subjects are likely to be required to keep their legs slightly apart and raise their arms in a near-salute – a pose that devotees of a certain form of NSFW art may well recognise as potentially pornographic.

However, it is likely that the authorities would firmly resist arguments to the effect that sensitivity over child-related issues must lead to a softening of counter-terror measures when it comes to searching children. In law, a child is any individual under the age of 18, and in many theatres of terrorist activity, 16 and 17-year-olds have proven more than old enough to be active participants – while younger children can be used for concealment.

Thus, despite public objections to the searching of chldren, the Met has steadfastly asserted its right to continue to do so.

If children are not scanned at Manchester Airport, they will be frisked in full view of parents and other staff. All Manchester security staff are security and CRB-checked to the highest level. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Whoever you vote for, Google gets in
Report uncovers giant octopus squid of lobbying influence
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Banks slap Olympus with £160 MEEELLION lawsuit
Scandal hit camera maker just can't shake off its past
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
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.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.