back to article New anonymity rule on Euro airport body scanners

The European Commission has adopted new rules for the use of body scanners at airports. From now on, any European Union country that wants to use the controversial technology with have to do so "under strict operational and technical conditions", the EC said in a statement. "Security scanners are not a panacea but they do offer …

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Anonymous Coward

Doesn't not saving the image (at least for the duration of the flight) defeat half the point?

If something does go wrong with the flight then the images can be reviewed to see if anything was missed, and eliminate the innocent etc.

Plus I'd prefer to look at whoever was looking at me rather than have them playing with themselves in a little hidden room.

... the EU fails again!

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Facepalm

Do you actually think that if they spot something explosive on you, they let you get on the plane anyway?

Scans like this are a pre-emptive measure. It's far more likely that a scan will catch something that will be recognised as dangerous while the person is there being scanned than it is that a subsequent investigation would involve someone saying "Hmm, maybe it was the vest made of what we thought were sausages that was the explosive bit".

It is still more likely that someone wanting to get an explosive agent onto a plane would try and bypass airport security entirely or do something interesting and worrying with some modified electronics. But hey, don't let that stop you from claiming that those with nothing to fear should have nothing to hide. (even though, by that logic, you'd be walking around naked 24/7...)

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@Captain Underpants

"Scans like this are a pre-emptive measure"

No, they're just another part of the ridiculous "we have to be seen to be doing something" Security Theatre.

See, for instance, this video clip of Adam Savage from Mythbusters who went through one of these scanners, got off the flight at the other end and then realised he was carrying two twelve inch industrial razor blades on his person..! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3yaqq9Jjb4

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Happy

I didn't say it was a *good* pre-emptive measure, did I? :)

I think many aspects of airport security are retarded (eg - you can't take liquids through in case someone manages the long, tedious, and unlikely-to-succeed process of creating a binary liquid bomb on board the plan, but you can buy plenty of flammable liquids in duty free) but the point of having any kind of individual scan is to prevent people from taking dangerous or restricted materials on board an aircraft.

Whether they implement those scans in an effective manner, or whether the list of materials perceived to be dangerous is sensible, are a separate matter. A coherent, pragmatic and measured approach to airport security would, in my view, do well to take those considerations into account, but then we come back to Security Theatre, don't we?

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@OP AC

There is actually something to be said for your first point. There is indeed a case to be made for storing the data until the flight safely lands at the other end. In the event of an attack, there may well be something that did not appear suspicious, but, when combined with other evidence, shows a new attack vector.

However, on your second point, you are probably in a minority of one. First of all, if the screener has no idea who you are or what you look like, why is s/he going to be "playing with themselves" in the first place? Secondly, you have no idea who is getting their jollies to pictures of you anyway, and I find it impossible to understand how one can be upset by someone doing something that you do not know about.

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groping

Sad to see it doesn't cover making the alternative to full body scanners humiliating in an attempt to get more people iradiated.

Maybe the TSA in america will start offering hernia examinations with every opt out.

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Happy

I still think...

...the full wall security scanner in Total Recall is the way to go. Minimal intrusion, real time results and free flow of traffic through checkpoints. Just make our walls stronger. :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wY0bk31ylA

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Anonymous Coward

'Passengers must be informed about the conditions under which the body scan is taking place, and they have the right to refuse to do it as long as they accept an alternative method of screening.'

...so the worried terrorist can simply refuse to go through it then.

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FAIL

Yes, the worried terrorist can refuse...

... and instead opt for a full cavity search in a room with an armed guard. As for the worried non-terrorist, they can choose the same option. However, nobody gets the option of avoiding a direct violation of their physical privacy. Human rights? Think how many you'd have if the terrorists won and destroyed America!

Oh, wait, that's right - we'd probably have more.

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So the worried terrorist gets the manual search including HM rubber glove up the jacksy I expect.

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Does what now?

So we'll now have the right to opt-out of being scanned which, being a right, they can't refuse. I know what I'm going to do from now on... leave for the airport that little bit earlier, then opt-out. I bet I can make them more uncomfortable than they make me...

"Ooooooh, you like your job don't you cheeky! No straight man can be THAT good with his hands. I feel like I should be paying you after this. Carry on like that and I'll be carrying a semi" etc etc

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Alert

You can be as funny as you like, just remember that they have the great-grandmother of all punchlines available to trot out on demand.

The full body cavity search, conducted by a deliberately careless and very pissed-off bloke with fingers like Walls' sausages.

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Unhappy

Nice thought

Pity you'd only get as far as the third word before being dragged off to a cell. You'd better leave for the airport several weeks earlier, depending on how long the country you're departing from is allowed to detain you without trial or charges.

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Unhappy

I wouldn't...

They might wheel you a away for a full body cavity search! No matter how 'confident' you are, there is nothing quite like a prostate examination to make you feel small....

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Big Brother

Meanwhile, in the real world ...

"I bet I can make them more uncomfortable than they make me..."

More uncomfortable probably, but I bet you don't have the power to pointlessly detain nor to make their lives a continual misery from then on. In a game of vindictive oneupmanship they hold all the cards.

I guess being flagged as 'no-fly' or someone to scrutinise, with all the delays that entails every flight, could be worth taking the piss but the rules of the game are comply or suffer the consequences.

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Anonymous Coward

# nonsuch

Sure, and eveyone going through such a device would need treatment for Thyroid cancer after a few flights...

notice how the VIP's and special passengers would be excluded from going through such a device.

Criminal action is long overdue against the TSA for their treatment of all passengers and the endemic theft of their valuables from their luggage.

They make Thief-Row look like amateurs...

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Anonymous Coward

At last

Some common sense when it comes to the theatre at airports.

Well done EU!

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TRT
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Windows

Well, going by some of the holitards I see at airports...

there should be a machine that projects clothing onto all the muffin tops, orange-peel thighs and short-wearing individuals. Save my delicate sensibilities.

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Boffin

Schiphol

Does anybody know what kind of scanners they have installed at Schiphol? I had to go through one of them some time ago (as in, walk in, stand still with legs spread and arms up, wait for some mechanism to do a sweep around me), and the operator was right next to it, looking at the screen.

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Anonymous Coward

All BULLSHIT - PROOF ON YOUTUBE - STOP THE 1984 CIRCUS NOW

Scanners are totally useless: google youtube german scanner termite (or similar) - there is a LIVE demonstration of the American scanners (full body) where by a (not so skinny) German is able to smuggle TERMITE through the scanner i.e. scanner does NOT detect it ... afterwards outside the studio the effect of TERMITE is demonstrated by burning through several solid objects ... so all in all ... totally useless waste of time and money.

In addition: from the mouth of an anti-terrorist expert (UK - ex army), it is impossible to secure airplanes when a) so many people have access and b) when people are allowed to bring computers (mainly the batteries are an issue) on board ...

So all in all: a totally useless, annoying, expensive, waste of time and resources; all to make white people feel safe (as stated by George Carlin) ...

Please note that despite all this BS, PRIVATE plane passengers are NOT submitted to this BS, so potential LUXURY TERRORISTS are very unlikely to be caught ...

STOP THE CIRCUS NOW BECAUSE I HAVE HAD ENOUGH

btw everyone who dares to touch me, and who is not a qualified MD, will get sued AND potentially an accidental elbow (or worse) in the face (or other sensitive are) for FREE !

Do NOT fuck my European rights that our people have fought for ! Not on my watch !

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Anonymous Coward

@AC17:15

So he smuggled termites in his pants... that must have hurt.

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Bronze badge

thermite?

The compound of iron oxide & aluminum, I take it--unless the skinny German was hitching a ride on the Spruce Goose...

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@Thermite-obsessed AC

FFS - aside from anything else, if you knew what you were talking about you'd know that thermite has an ignition temperature of at least a couple of hundred degrees celcius, which is why it normally takes something like a magnesium ribbon fuse to get it started. And given how feckin' brightly magnesium ribbon glows when lit, the chances of anyone managing to subtly take down a plane by burning a hole through the fuselage with thermite unnoticed are astonishingly small. Not to mention the fact that unless you've got a *lot* of thermite, your attack surface is going to be titchy which then means you need to know *exactly* where to set it off to have an effect of any kind.

Don't let the absence of facts stop you from parroting some nonsense, though. A factually-lacking scare story about how the scanners are pointless does nobody any favours.

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Gimp

Blah

No it's not a panacea but an excuse for large companies to dosh it on the taxpayer.

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Anonymous Coward

Totally missing the point aren't we?

@Thermite-obsessed AC

The point is scanners do NOT pick up everything: e.g. everthing within the skull (think mouth), between legs, internal to the body, under footsoles and sometimes under clothing is NOT detected while the scanners are promoted as tools that will pick up everything and therefore are presented as a hegelian solution (= first create a problem, then suddenly come with a solution).

For the conspiracy theoristst: look into the pants bomber, it was known what and where he was and what he was doing and even helped ... so that makes you think on who benefits (follow the money/power) ...

So in conclusion: there is no solution as it is technically not feasable; the Israeli's don't use scanners of that type and the politicians certainly don't know what they are doing, so it is mostly a circus that I will no longer stand for. Just like fingerprinting: totally useless and even dangerous ...

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Anonymous Coward

Manchester and Heathrow...

...use X-ray backscatter machines, and refusal to go through them means refusal to fly, end of story. No alternative methods, just collect your bags, sod off, and don't try flying from here again. Perhaps the EU can stop this madness once and for all. Or not.

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FAIL

Agreed

I went through and was dumb enough to stick my head out of line fitting the profile of an impatient flyer or stressed. The guy that had no clue you could not go through with a watch wallet keys and belt was the reason I looked.

Get through security and get told I will have to do an additional scan. I asked if it was milimeter or backscatter and the lady could not answer the question. I told her I do not want any additional radiation.

She said either take the scan or leave the airport. HATE heathrow. Will not fly throught there again. Even if this is an EU privacy law bet the brits don't get the memo.

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Devil

@DANMAN

Heathrow Terminal 1 is to be avoided whenever possible, they seem to make a point of employing uneducated, poorly-trained and unprofessional numpties for their security services. On several occasions in the past I've seen their baggage scanning operators pass multiple bags through while looking away from the screen to chat to one of their colleagues (usually about the previous or upcoming weekend's antics).

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@DANMAN

@DANMAN

I got that as well

"She said either take the scan or leave the airport"

Except it was to my 4 year old boy.

Not even the Americans give backscatter X-Rays to young children.

But at Heathrow (and Manchester I'm sure) they do.

Sorry English friends, but this is wrong

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