Passengers Refusing Scan at Heathrow and Manchester Airports Banned

by Emily DUNBAR on February 2, 2010

Heathrow Airport and Manchester Airport began operating full body scanners on Monday morning. Anybody that the security staff chooses to go through the machine doesn’t have a choice - unless they want to be banned from their flight by refusing.

A Department of Transport spokesperson said that this is a response on national security grounds. Security concerns have been raised worldwide due to the failed attempted bombing of a US flight on Christmas Day. After claiming responsibility for the attack, Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda threatened more attacks on the US. Now security efforts everywhere have been stepped up, as no one wants another tragedy like September 11.

Since everybody has to go through the machine if they are chosen, children are included in this. The full body scanners show a full outline of whoever goes through it, and this raised concerns of that doing so would break laws surrounding child pornography.

However, the government has put an interim code of practice into effect, which regulates that airports put a privacy policy into place so that the passengers are protected. This means that security staff watching the images will be hidden from passengers’ views. The passengers also have the option of requesting someone of the same sex to view their scanned image.

A spokesperson at Heathrow Airport confirmed that they have started operating the scanners, but noted that it’s to early to tell how the passengers are reacting. Lord Adonis says that more of these full body scanners should begin operating in these airports later this month.

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