back to article Compulsory perv scanners upset everyone

The debate over use of scanners in UK airports is rapidly turning into knock-about farce, as the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) takes a firm stand on some people’s right to privacy – whilst government disrespects everyone’s rights and prepares to hand over loads more dosh when it eventually loses the argument at the …

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Anonymous Coward

Does the EHRC not care about the health risks of scanning?

Or are health issues just not within the scope of this particular report?

X-rays are definitely harmful. Millimetre waves might be harmful, from what I've heard (if a government spokesman says they're not then they probably are).

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I don't mind the idea

As long as they work.

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Suppose it depends

On how big your cock is, really.

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Unhappy

That's the point.

"As long as they work". There's precious little evidence that body scanners in the UK will prevent people from other places flying in with bombs strapped to their nether regions. There's also evidence that the scanners don't actually detect nether-bombs even when they can be used. And there's damn good evidence that if you counter a specific threat that the terrorists just pick a different method for attack.

Intelligence seems to work well, but that seems to be a foreign concept for the government. Sigh.

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FAIL

I won't fly out of Heathrow, then...

And presumably neither will someone who wants to blow up a plane, choosing to board an inbound flight from elsewhere. They can't be trusted, you know?!

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Happy

Exactly!

See that's the trouble with these terrorists, just so bloody unreliable! You can't trust them! As an MP you get a contract for your mates scanner company worth millions ( ahem, minus your cut of course! ) , you get them installed and the bloody nutters come in by boat! What will the little tikes think of next, eh? Tch!

On the other hand when it comes to reliability, you can always trust the Gov to take a bloody stupid, disproportionate response to any situation!

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Grenade

Critical Omission?

I think not.

Under the eagle-eyed rule of the hypocrite Harriet Harman, who feels she can be both the Monster for equality and the Monster for Women despite both roles clearly being diametrically opposed, men are not to be included in any equality legislation. Apparently, men have enjoyed being "top of the pile" for too long, and all other genders/races/farm animals must be made "more equal" to make up for this shameful historical (or is that person-storical?) oppression.

And, of course, The Almighty Har-person must be top of this new pile of newly equal Overladies.

Anon - I'm scared of the Moderatrix!

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Joke

Sir

"..but not men".

Because as we all know, men are insensitive pricks and couldn't care less who is staring at their todger - just as long as 'someone' is.

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Whose human rights?

It's surely a pretty fundamental human right not to be murdered.

If there were an airline that required me to strip naked in front of security staff before boarding, I might actually regard that airline as preferable to the others. A trade-off between a little embarassment, and a greatly reduced chance of there being a suicide bomber on board.

The choice should be between the scanner, and stripping off in front of security staff of the same sex. The human rights of a hundred-plus passengers who don't want to die should override the human rights of one passenger who refuses security measures which the hundred-plus accept.

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Grenade

if it saves just one child ...

'nuff said

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Choice you say...

That would be fine. You want to start a naked airline for paranoid people like yourself? Got right ahead. Maybe sometime in the future when you bu an plane ticket, there will be a check-box for "naked or regular". I have no problem with that. Just let the rest of us our value privacy more than a tiny increase in safety alone.

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Yeah

And we should have the same before we get on busses too.

And into taxis.

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Anonymous Coward

Balance the risks

More people die in planes that crash due to pilot error, weather, mechanical failure or just plain (sic) bad luck. Why worry about terrorists? Because the government wants you to as it let's them pass legislation that can then be used to throw hecklers out of party conferences and stop fly tipping.

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Naked Airlines

I'd wonder a bit about those who applied to work as security staff for such an airline.

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Or queues

Or ferry ports

Or hospitals

Or schools

Or the dentists

Or shopping malls

Or churches

Or libraries

Or pubs - I seem to remember that they use to be a good terror target

Or houses - scanners at every doorway, just to be *safe* - it's all in the name of security after-all.

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WTF?

Prat!

Yep, you missed the point of the argument! Well done!

It's not the object, it's the principle. It's one more place where the Gov wants to infringe your rights and try to frighten you. What next? Scanners in every supermarket, Dentist, Doctors, Fire Station, Ambulance station, school....then finally when everyone is being scanned in public places, next is your house, finally your bedroom. Then once they can check on every single person, all the time, the world will be safe and everything will be wonderful, just like the idyllic little world you seem to think will come from scanners at airports.

The Gov wants nothing more than to ID every citizen, tag 'em and trace every single movement, ideally a little brain scanning just to be sure. All a little Sci-FI I grant you, but if they had the option, someone would be willing to sell this nation down the Big Brother road a little further to line their pockets.

Just to prove these things are safe, lets insist that the MPs backing it and the directors of the scanner maker companies have these things installed in their offices and homes, just for the next 12 months, then if they are ALL happy to do it, then I'll think about accepting them at airports until then F.O.A.D.!

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Here's an idea

Numbnuts.

Refuse to pay taxes == government can't afford to go murder more brown people == hundreds of thousands of lives saved !

And the added bonus of getting less likely than it already is to be blown up in the air yourself.

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Stop

We All Have Equal Rights

"The human rights of a hundred-plus passengers who don't want to die should override the human rights of one passenger who refuses security measures which the hundred-plus accept."

No. I fundamentally disagree with the idea that the many have greater rights than the few, or the one. It is as human beings - individual human beings - that we have rights, and we're all individual human beings. However many individuals you may gather together in a group, none of them has any greater rights than the lone individual who stands apart.

If we go down the road of treating the many as having greater rights than the few, the destination is fascism. The many having greater rights than the few is the very essence of fascism.

If the many deny the few their rights, they deny themselves those same rights; they are no longer free to join those few.

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Anonymous Coward

Perv or stupid

The chances of being blown up on a plane are so small, it would be better to spend the money on extra engineering checks on the plane to bring down the likelihood of a mechanical failure, which is tiny, to the chances of being blown up on a plane.

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Looks like I stirred it up a bit

I'm normally strongly against government efforts to acquire information amout us, to scare us and control us. But I really can't see any harm in them finding out what I look like naked in silhouette, even if they do decide to store the image for posterity. Look back at my posts about ID cards, for example (which they say will help stop terrorists, but which are of course utterly useless for that purpose, or almost any other).

As for the rights of the many and of the few - well, to a large extent democracy is a system whereby the majority can decide on laws that are imposed on the minority. Certainly, I agree that there are some rights, such as the right not to be tortured, or the right to life, that are fundamental and should not be up for grabs by politicians and lawmakers. I do not agree that the "right" to not have one's naked silhouette viewed by security staff is one of these fundamental rights.

Airports are a special case because a bomber can do so much harm with so little explosive. Compare the death toll for the Madrid rail bombings. Ten bombs on four rush-hour trains claimed under 200 lives, despite being suitcase-sized rather than underwear-sized. That's a large part of why it's necessary to scan at airports, and why it's at present impractical for other transport. We'll have to take our chances on the tube.

Suicide bombers smuggling bombs in body cavities? Maybe we'll soon have to allow X-ray imaging of travellers as well. How does the X-ray dose necessary to detect a bomb in a body cavity compare to the extra cosmic-ray dose which we all get from being in a plane at 35,000 feeet or above? Flight staff suffer that cosmic-ray dose for several hours every working day, and aren't obviously any more prone to getting cancer than the general public. Compared to which, X-raying the passengers might be acceptable to myself on safety grounds (and again I'd not object on any other).

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Coat

@We All Have Equal Rights

But don't you *want* a third glorious decade of total law enforcement...?!

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Not really...

"As for the rights of the many and of the few - well, to a large extent democracy is a system whereby the majority can decide on laws that are imposed on the minority."

Democracy is actually a system whereby the minority (the politicians and the vested interests of their financiers in big business) get to pass laws on the majority rather than the other way around.

From your views you seem to be against 1984 in the form of a little card but for it in terms of having no privacy. Frankly bizarre. The fundamental point you miss is that it DOESN'T WORK. Far better to employ sniffer dogs both in the airport and around the baggage staff etc.

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At what cost?

Benjamin Franklin said it best: They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

That said, given that you're quite more likely to be struck repeatedly by lightning than to get blown up by a bomb that was smuggled onto an airplane, aren't there greater threats to your wellbeing than a paucity of ineffective yet intrusive wastes of taxes, threats like the popular practice of discarding one's rights at the drop of a hat to vanquish a bogeyman and insisting that one's peers do the same?

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Coat

My human rights

While we may have the right not to be killed, is there any evidence that these scanners have ever found a terrorist?

But while we are being pervy, I'd prefer to strip in front of the opposite sex. And i'd like them to be naked too, just to get the party going.

Coat? No, left it at home.

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FAIL

dna database,

ECHR (much as i loathe the blasted thing) helped us once telling the government to stop keeping innocent peoples' dna. Remind me again what happened there ...?

Full body scanners are worthless and disgusting but even if joe public won, we'd still be subject to them.

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IT Angle

Confusing...

The ECHR with the EHRC - though this is going to be a huge problem for us in the ECHR too.

The DNA thing is pending appeal - which we'll lose and get fined even more for before anything else happens.

Same deal for stop & search without cause.

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Euope?

Is this going to become another time that we end up with the nasty-bureaucratic-want-to-control-us EU protecting us from our own government?

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Nowt to do with the EU

The ECHR was set up as part of a treaty after the second world war (IIRC) and is not part of the EU*, although it has been ratified by the EU. It just took the UK government a long time to accept it

*which is nice as it means I can still be for the ECHR and against the EU

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ECHR

Is nothing to do with the European Union, it's run by the Council of Europe and was created largely by British lawyers.

Having said which, the EU is also doing a lot more to protect us than our own government.

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Anonymous Coward

"the privacy of women and older people – but not men"

Isn't it obvious - letching at shadowy images of womens breasts is wrong but sniggering at shadowy images of penises is perfectly acceptable.

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Big Brother

No alternative?

So, when a member of a specific religious group (the very same who wear a full robe and head covering) arrives, what is the official policy from HM Govt going to be? Their holy book mandates that none other than their husband may see their skin. Are you going to deny them air travel, or make them strip off?

Me? I'm sewing tin foil to the outside of my boxer shorts.

By the way, has anyone done a study on the potential risks of multiple exposures to millimetre wave X-rays?

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"Protection of privacy" turned upside down

Forcing me to take off my shoes and belt and turn out the content of my pockets in the middle of a huge crowd of people is a much bigger invasion of my privacy than being scanned, while dressed, with the resulting blurry black and white picture is being watched by a bored security staff. Even if he/she gets a kick out of it - who cares?

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Big Brother

Heathrow?

Why would anyone want to fly from Heathrow Airport anyway? It's a horrible place.

Even when you've been herded through the perv scanner, you will still have nothing to do but sit and wait for two or three hours until your flight is (not) called.

Then there's its captive audience food and duty-free pricing. At least when Dick Turpin was working the Heath, he had the decency to wear a mask.

Far simpler to hop on a local flight (or, better still, Eurostar) to a decent hub airport such as Paris or Amsterdam. Good food, staff who are pleased to see you and a sensible approach to security.

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Because...

Your alternatives are Stanstead, Luton and Gatwick (most of which won't have certain airlines or routes)? Kind of like picking the shiniest turd.

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Health Issues

What about the health issues to pregnant women and their unborn babies? They are not supposed to have X rays and other e-m based scanners are also likely to be harmful. Is this government really willing to potentially cause another thalidomide scandal?

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No risk to the baby from a scanner, but ....

Millimetric waves don't penetrate the womb. It is believed that they don't pose any risk to the mother, either.

Anyone getting into an aeroplane is about to volunteer themselves for a significant extra dosage of cosmic rays compared to someone remaining at ground level. If a well-informed pregnant woman is worried about being scanned, she would not be flying in the first place, because the cosmic radiation "risk" is well-known and measurable. (And small compared to the terrorist risk).

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Bronze badge

more precisely...

"Sharp-eyed readers may notice a critical omission from that list: apparently scanners will impact adversely on the privacy of women and older people – but not men."

To be more precise, non-religous young and middle-aged men who are not trans-gendered.

Of course Trevor Philips (a man I met a few times when he was president of Imperial College Sudent Union) was always alert to special interest groups. He also had more than a touch of arrogance and who once parked his car on the grass in the middle of a college quadrangle (a mini I recall).

Just here in fact...

http://img.otel.com/hotelimages/UKD6JP/24065_1280x1024x2.jpg

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@Valerion

The problem is that they don't.

I shall be carrying a number of packages next to my skin each time I travel as well as a suitably scanner proofed cricket box. That way they'll have to pat me down instead and it will waste a bit of their time as they are already wasting some of mine.

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Anonymous Coward

Or they will ask you to...

remove the items blocking the scan and then put you through the scanner again. At which point, any hint of un-cooperation from yourself will only raise suspicions making you a prime target for the practice of "making an example of"....

BTW, you may not have noticed but there are big "reply to this post" buttons under every post.

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Joke

Erm....

i think i will first start with

"Meanwhile, it seems likely that government will press ahead with these measures, despite the fact that various minority groups – including the disabled and transgendered are getting set to challenge the measures directly and in court."

Key word in their "minority". so we are gonna put at risk everyones lifes for a few people who decided to change sex? fair enuff if you are disabled and you feel somewhat embarresed about your condition.

But at the end of the day whats better, a guy seeing your mangina or being blown up on a plane? do the math.

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Pirate

The difference is...

there is a 100% chance of getting your mangina seen and a 0.00000001%* chance of getting blown up by a plane bomb nutter.

The problem these days especially with Terrorfear** is that otherwise intelligent people have lost all ability to distinguish between a likely risk and a massively unlikely risk and act proportionately.

* Lies, damn lies etc.

**tm

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Stop

The math?

Sure.

People scanned: Infinite

People found: 0.

OK, I've done the math - what was your point again?

(Hyperbole acknowledged)

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The flaw in that argument

Number of terrorists deterred: unknown.

A similar argument says that early warning systems and nuclear missile submarines are both pointless, because there hasn't been a nuclear-armed first-strike since they existed.

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"do the math"

Do the math indeed. How many people actually die from airplane based terrorism? How many in the last 5 years?

This is, as usual, a pointless waste of time and money that could actually have gone to solving bigger problems in the world. Perhaps if we spent enough time on that, the imaginary terrorists might not want to kill us anyway?

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Pint

Let's prove the scum have not turned us...

.... into quivering wrecks, afraid of our own shadows.

Let's get a group together on a heapo-cheapo flight to anywhere, hire a coach, and all arrive at check in with no baggage, wearing swimsuits (stay legal!), and with the slogan ........

....... please submit your suggestions!

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100 middle aged men in Speedos

and make sure that you get the news cameras there as well.

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@The Vociferous Time Waster

Sorry, I was meant to be sarcastic but it didn't come over very well!

Even if it just speeds up queues I'll be happy. I got stuck for over ten minutes behind a dumb idiot who couldn't work out that any one of the 500 metal objects he seemed to have on his person could be setting off the bleepy machine.

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