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A US security official has criticised European use of perv-scanners at airports, saying the technology is better regulated in the US.

The arches were rushed into use at some UK airports earlier this year, following a failed liquid bomb plot. The measure was criticised by Interpol, European Commissioner Viviane Reding and the European Court of Human Rights.

The devices claim to aid detection of bomb parts or weapons by seeing through passengers' clothes.

But Mary Ellen Callahan, head of data protection at the Department of Homeland Security, said: "There is more privacy protection in place in the US than in Europe, because we embedded those provisions before rolling out the system," according to EUObserver.

The devices are in use at Heathrow and Manchester Airports in the UK and Schipol Airport outside Amsterdam.

Early trials at Manchester Airport were hit by legal fears that security staff were effectively creating child abuse images. The Rapiscan arches were first tested at Heathrow back in 2004. ®

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