Airport scanners go live today, kids included
The peeping Tom you can't refuse
Body scanners went into operation at Heathrow and Manchester airports this morning. People chosen by security staff will not be allowed onto flights without going through the machine from now on.
Lord Adonis said he expected more machines to go live later this month, with further examples to be introduced at Birmingham airport soon.
Anyone selected for the scanners must go through the machine - there is no option to choose a pat-down search instead. Children can also be selected for scanning - despite early concerns that taking such images could breach child pornography laws. A spokesman for the Department of Transport said this was a proportional response on national security grounds.
A spokeswoman at Heathrow confirmed the machines had gone live, but said it was too early to gauge passenger response.
Images will be deleted once scanning is completed. Security officers must obtain appropriate security clearances before receiving training - and that training must be approved by the Department of Transport.
The code also said that passengers should be informed as early as possible that they may face a pervscanner - ideally this should be before tickets are purchased.
The code states: "Passengers must not be selected on the basis of personal characteristics (i.e. on a basis that may constitute discrimination such as gender, age, race or ethnic origin)."
Finally, scanners must be operated in accordance with detailed protocols which are not published because, we are told, they contain security sensitive information which includes selection criteria on those chosen for scanning.
Lord Adonis's statement, and a link to the code of practice, is here. ®
Don't Expect Any Protest
Ah well, I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for irate child advocacy groups to kick up too much of a fuss: with public money harder than ever to grasp from the Treasury, they'll all be easily (and very conveniently) frightened off making life too difficult for this hypocritical Government. So the scanners will slowly roll out across more and more locations and will, in time, become an entrenched fact of life; and nobody much will mind - especially not those who have been the loudest and most vocal about 'safeguarding™' children.
As a nation, for all we've allowed to happen to personal and civil freedoms over the past 13 years of NuLabour's social project in this CCTV nation of ours, we thoroughly deserve our fate. Too lazy to protest, to ignorant to argue: what else did we really expect?
It's naive to assume that terrorists expect to take over the world. The numpties who blow themselves up in the expectation of a sexually enhanced paradise might very well believe that - but the people who organise them (people in no hurry to reach paradise themselves) know very well that's impossible.
What they do seek is to shock and polarise the world into good guys and bad guys (which is which depending on where you're standing), provoke suspicion and bigotry, and put us all at each others' throats. Secure in the certain knowledge that military and security responses will generate even more terrorists.
They don't directly achieve fear in the majority of people, only defiance - it's governments who cynically promote and abuse fear. They don't detract from our civil liberties - they don't need to. They can rely upon our governments to do that, with measure after measure aimed at infallibly combating the last attack, increasing petty bureaucratic power in the process. Terrorists don't take our taxes - governments do that, and hand over large sums to finger-in-the-pie corporations in the name of security, or invest both money and young lives in foreign wars with no foreseeable end or result.
In the meantime, power passes into the hands of people and organisations who have forgotten who they are serving and why, and about whom we should be as profoundly suspicious as we are about terrorists. For many politicians, bureaucrats and police officers, the 'war on terror' is nothing less than a gift. Almost as big a gift as an endlessly gullible and acquiescent population.
On those counts I suspect the terrorists are winning already...
It's not the scanning of me that I mind, it's the fact that the terrorists have already won if our society has been forced to change this much to accommodate their threat.