back to article Airport scanners go live today, kids included

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 …


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  1. Steven Jones

    Nothing to fear...

    That Lord Adonis of course. With a name like that he presumably has no worries about being humiliated due to security staff pointing out his bodily shortcomings.

  2. Eponymous Cowherd


    his title is ironic.

  3. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Lord Andrew Adonis

    As the Guardian's Simon Hoggart once put it, 'he's much more an Andrew than an Adonis.'

  4. censored

    That's it, then...

    I've taken my last flight out of Heathrow.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    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?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Read the news do you?

    The protests have already happened well before the pants bombing incident. So that makes a nonsense of your entire post.

    Bear in mind that the investment in the scanners was already committed. The protests happened. Then came the pants bomber.* This gave the government a very handy justification for this latest intrusion into our privacy. The fact that these scanners probably wouldn't even have detected the pants bomb is, of course, conveniently forgotten.

    However the politics here is pretty clear. A bomber apparently came close to blowing up an air craft, this shows that the security in place is inadequate. Rather than the government actually holding some sort of enquiry into the failure and addressing the shortcomings there is an immediate knee jerk reaction to put in place yet another security measure. This is something we have seen from this government for almost thirteen years. When something goes wrong they either implement a "solution" very quickly in order to show they are doing something (without any evidence that their "solution" will work) or worse still set themselves a target to deal with the problem. The target setting is laughable since they very seldom do anything, they just continue as they were and hope the target will be met. This either shows a solid belief that their current action plan is correct or a solid belief that by the time the target date is reached it will be somebody else's problem. That's always assuming that they don't just wait until the problem drops out of the news and then issue a revised target which amounts to doing fuck all.

    So we can conclude from this that our current government's response to problems is to either (a) throw huge amounts of money around indiscriminately in the hope that it will solve the problem, or at least create the impression that they know what they're doing or (b) promise to do something about it in the hopes that the problem will simply go away, while creating the impression that they know what they're doing.

    * There's a sentence I never thought I'd have to type.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    An upvote, but...

    ...also to make the point that the protests are/were inadequate. Like when it gets to the point when you have to physically fight, so you give in because 'it wouldn't be civilised'. Methinks the protesters doth protest too much with the aim of maintaining an illusion of what it is to be British.

  8. 1of10

    UK seem full of headless chickens

    "...People chosen by security staff will not be allowed onto flights without going through the machine from now on..."

    oh yeah no other option!?!?! what a bunch of DICTATORs

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    expensive, useless, invasive, time wasting, scanners installed! Enjoy!

  10. 1of10

    same sex

    "...People chosen for scanning can ask for the images to be viewed by someone of the same sex..."


    Same sex, same sex tendency and also same religion.... and by the way show him/her self to see if it can be belived.

    What a joke UK is becoming...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "People chosen by security staff will not be allowed onto flights without going through the machine from now on"

    So how do the security staff know they are not letting a threat through? Is it random checking or is it based on some sort of risk assesment? Either way it's a complete crock.

  12. Mike Richards Silver badge

    According to the BBC

    The regular metal detector arches will be randomly selecting people to surrender to the Pervatron, the human element (or indeed the element of the security staff) won't get a look in.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Privacy infraction, anybody?

    "People chosen by security staff will not be allowed onto flights without going through the machine from now on.


    "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"

    That is unbelievable.

    When will the UK bring its privacy laws into line with the rest of Europe? Can there be any Euro-sceptics after this?

    The cynic in me wonders if this is all just a Government plot to get everyone to accept everything offered from the EU, all done at the taxpayers' expense as the Government defends one privacy infraction after the other.

    Milk farmers gave up producing milk. Will this stop people from flying to/from the UK? As I refuse to be scanned under the current 'rules' it looks like I won't be doing any flying in the foreseeable future.

  14. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Refusal is easy.

    Don't fly anywhere. It's not like being loaded into a metal tube and transported several thousand miles in relative discomfort is the best thing the 21st century has to offer.

  15. 1of10

    fully refunded

    Air companies (BA specifically) will love to have to refund passengers simply because of refusal to be submitted through X-Ray which no one knows has done enough studies on consequences.

    Airport scanner lab-rat = no thanks

  16. censored

    I'm pretty sure...

    that airlines don't have to refund people who fail security screening. And even if they did, under these circumstances they'd say it was your choice to not walk through the machine and get on the plane.

  17. 1of10

    no quite...

    That would be a good case for courts to answer and not the airliner. Since they provide the service which cannot be used because of local security arbitrary choices.

    Nothing tells someone that 30 minutes later you get through the checks without being picked up again... so as passenger you have the right to fly since has a valid ticked if not barred.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ...both the courts AND the airlines (certainly BA anyway) support the pervscanners. If the courts didn't support them, then I'd like to think that they'd have been stopped way before now due to the genuine privacy issues. Of course, the airlines support them because they're all in the politicians' pockets. I can't see anyone fighting to actually get an air passenger ON to a flight in any of this. Oh dear!

    On another note, BA are all "Oh, woe is us!" about the air industry going to sh*t, staff strikes, staff pensions, rising fuel costs etc. So what do they do to try and sort it out, back the further penalisation/discomfort/humiliation/expense to their own paying customers, riiiiiiiiight, good one!

    Like I said, however, BA couldn't have just turned around and said "No" to the scanners, they're too big for that, if they HAD done that, we wouldn't have the scanners, the government know that, which is why BA are their b*tches.

    Anyway, I've got a gorgeous little sun spot on The Lizard with my name on it come July, cheap local cider, fresh fish and chips, panoramic sea views and not a pervscanner in sight thank you very much.

  19. blackworx

    Same Sex

    "People chosen for scanning can ask for the images to be viewed by someone of the same sex"

    Oh, well that's alright then. Nothing to worry about. As long as we're pandering to silly preconceptions then everything about this whole charade is just A-OK.

    Mine's the one with "TERRORIST?" stitched up the inside in six inch tinfoil letters.

  20. ravenviz Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Body beautiful

    Right, where's that sit-ups bench?

  21. landyman

    Request a same sex viewer ??

    I'm flying from Manchester in April with my 15 year old daughter, of course if she is selected for scanning I will be requesting that a same sex operator carries out the scan - but as they are shielded from the person being scanned, how do I know that my request has been fulfilled ?? and how do I know that they don't have a room full of 'interested parties' or 'trainees' also present.

    Unfortunately I can only reach my destination from either Manchester or Heathrow (or go via Europe - no thanks) so I'm stuck.

  22. Aaron Harris

    You Tube Anyone

    How long before a video of this arrives on youtube after being left in the airport lounge, or baggage hall. No doubt someone in the government will state that lessons have been learned again! Perhaps the naked rambler should go on a flight and see if he gets picked for a pervscan?

  23. lansalot


    "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)"

    Does that mean "she's got big bangers, get her on it!" is out as well then ? I dunno - today's Britain. No matter what your job is, someone is withdrawing the perks...

    I've no plans to fly any time soon, ladies, so no need to rush in on my account.. Although in this temperature, I don't believe results would be worth getting your mates round the monitor for. Sadly.

    Unless the systems have photoshop as well ?

  24. Richard Jones 1

    When will the backlash start?

    So, it would be unfair to profile passengers as that would infringe someone nutter's (in-)human right to take the human rights from others? If there is logic there it is well hidden from me.

    If we did not have the problem of certain sub human psychopathic types wanting to murder and maim there would be no problem, so sod the human wrongs act and target those most likely to target others.

    In the meantime shut down the damned airports by not using them, or would that deny the b*st*rds human rights to kill?

    Who is for embroidered vests with suitable slogans suggesting that the perverts go home and the the terrorists get what they deserve? Surely it should be my human right to wear what I want in the privacy of my own underwear however offensive it might be to the law breakers, e.g. this bloody Goophymint..

  25. censored

    The logic of profiling...

    My friend Mohammed who I went to uni with, is just as likely as me to blow up a plane (i.e. not at all likely).

    So why should he get stopped at security just because he's called Mohammed and has dark skin and a beard?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Funny that...

    I thought the same thing about a chap called Mohammed (Shakil. Go Google him...) with whom I worked for a while.

    He seemed to leave his job abruptly (I just thought it was because he SUCKED at it), only to resurface on his way back from a terrorist training camp in Pakistan.

    He has since stood trial for being on the reconnaissance team for 7/7 and is now doing 7 years for conspiracy.

    Like you, I thought he was just as likely as me to blow up a plane. Turns out, by that statement I'm actually a potential terrorist. My mum will be so disappointed.

  27. Anonymous Coward

    Do you remember?

    When the UK had actual terrorist attacks? But for some reason people managed to go about their business without getting all panicky and giving up all their rights. Why are phantom terrorists so much more frightening than real ones? Is it because they're not white?

  28. Anonymous Coward


    Quite simply because a large number of people have 'Mohammed' in their name and that also have beards live in the country we are currently bombing.

  29. Paul 87

    Gotta love this country...

    ... the most effective use of these scanners, beyond a "scan everyone", is to target specific people whose background fits into a "high risk" catagory. However the security services can't use these catagories because they're discriminatory!

    Why on earth have they even bothered with these stupid things if they aren't going to use them properly. I do understand why people would be relucant to have their image scanned, and that civil liberties are being eroded more and more each day, but seriously, either use your resources properly, or stop trying...

  30. RichardB

    Hang on

    This government is so focussed on targets and metrics and data retention, but these images are going to be 'deleted' immediately after scanning?

    Seems unlikely. The only reason must be that they know its theatre - that none of the images will be useful for anything - ergo the scanners all but useless.

  31. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    V for Vendetta

    It's amazing how prophetic that film is becoming.

  32. Anonymous Coward

    Book dear boy, book!

    'nuff said.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Don't expect any protest

    I think it's harsh to blame the lack of protest on lazyness, we have see that protest now has very real implications. The police photograph you and put these on file, take your dna, keep you kettled up for 8 hours or otherwise cause the protesters major inconvenience. And finally they have made it against the law to protest in the area where the politicians resided.

    Democracy has thus had a slap in the face in which it would be unfair to blame the populace for. Unless they should be blamed by not starting large civil unrest against the laws and practises that make protest itself be avoided.

  34. Anonymous Coward

    Does the public know?

    "A spokeswoman at Heathrow confirmed the machines had gone live, but said it was too early to gauge passenger response"

    The thing is, it's ok for us geeks who read the Reg and suchlike - We know what the scanners do. But does the general public? Is there a clear sign on the scanner saying "this machine sees through your clothes and takes nude piccies of you"? It should, of course. But I bet it doesn't. And without that, most people will just think it's some sort of fancy version of the bleepy stick things that have been used for years. And, no-doubt, the airport staff will be more than pleased (indeed, may well have been instructed!) to let the public carry on thinking that.

    So, what's the policy on THAT?

  35. Dennis O'Neill

    Lord Adonis

    The man whose name writes cheques his face can't cash.

    And if you're against scanners then you must be in favour of terrorism.

    It's all a ridiculous waste of time. And the fact that it's been proved to be a waste of time means they shove their fingers even further into their ears.

    Thatcher was a twisted old misanthrope, but she was a crusty pinko libertarian nutcase compared to this mob.

  36. 1of10


    "...And if you're against scanners then you must be in favour of terrorism..."

    Its a fact that all those airport security nerds and their procedures were unable catch a single terrorist before boarding a plane. So why would that change?

    Just because Mr Brown likes to indulge himself in front of a scanner and all his friends have a brain-orgasm by just looking at their leader showing up naked on the scanner's monitor?

    Simply plane crazy? No! But government crazy... a big YES!

    The probability of a plane not reaching its destination are higher, lower in case of plane crash due to mechanical failure and not significant for the cases of bombing.

    So why all this unjustified panic beside of having paranoid people in places of power and to just please Obama?

  37. Anonymous Coward

    For shame!

    This has NOTHING to do with security, it's just another step to complete removal of privacy and restricting the freedoms and liberty of the public. Also, if passengers can insist that only an operator of the same sex is allowed to view the image, this implies that the image does (or at least may) contain an element of sexual information. In this case, WTF are they doing allowing children to be scanned!? Who's going to view those images?

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    they're tacitly reinforcing anti-gay/lesbian prejudice that I was under the impression they were supposed to be attempting to irradicate (by legislation, surprise surprise!).

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    This should make environmentalists happy....

    ... if you pi$$ off enough people by making flying so difficult, it'll cut down on the number of flights and benefit the environment!

  40. 1of10

    indeed you are right

    Indeed I can see a hand of plane crazy in all this matter...

    so soon we would get the news saying... HTW doesn't need of extra runaway since number of planes are down...

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: indeed you are right

    But, of course, they'll go ahead and build it anyway (just because they can).

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is the government.

    They'll just push it through, no matter what. It's quite amazing already, for this government, to have a public statement contain the notion that the watchers at least obtain a security clearance (but not, apparently, a working-with-children clearance, the pervy pervs), despite the loud protests of the watchers. That in itself is a sign on the wall, but it'll be mighty interesting to see what remains of these feeble promises two, six, twelve, twenty four months from now.

    I'm sure we'll find, if we're still allowed any such thing, that the government will have just carried on.

  43. ADarkGerm

    If you refuse will you get a refund?

    Cannot refuse a scan!

    This must be illegal under EU law to blackmail people into being scanned using radiation!

    Why does the government have the right to expose us to radiation?

    Do no lawyers read this stuff?

    Come on guys and girls, resist the BORG.

  44. Anonymous Coward


    Do you have any idea what you're talking abour re: "radiation'

    If they *look* at you, you're being scanned by radiation. Sunlight.

  45. Robert Ramsay

    Same Sex viewer

    Are you allowed to specifically ask for an opposite sex viewer?

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    bloody hear!

  47. Mike Richards Silver badge


    I think you've just come up with the idea for ITV's next big Saturday night show. A new version of 'Blind Date' with a freshly botoxed Cilla and a Pervatron.

  48. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Opposite sex viewer?

    "Are you allowed to specifically ask for an opposite sex viewer?"

    Only if you're a registered gay. That's why you need the ID card and the big database. You see? It *is* joined up government, honest!

  49. the spectacularly refined chap

    So much for the safeguards

    The very safeguards put in place to prevent previously are now superfluous because a different country came under an attempted attack. Has the reason those safeguards were put in place disappeared overnight? Of course not. It is now obvious that was merely a ploy to get the things installed and then argue "well, they're there, we should use them".

    I think we deserve an announcement of this in Parliament. Lord Adonis should give it bollock naked obviously, since that is what he is inflicting on everyone else.

  50. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    "The peeping Tom you can't refuse"??

    Oh please, get a grip! Accusing "pervscanner" operators of being peeping Toms and perverts is not just silly, it's probably libellous. It's like insisting that any security officer who gives you one of the "pat-down" searches is committing indecent assault for fun. What a crock of over-hyped media hogwash. I wouldn't need the scanners to tell me the vast majority of air travellers are overweight and unattractive, and I really don't want to spend time in the confines of an aircraft with you, let alone imagine you naked, so why do you all suddenly think a "pervscanner" is going to turn you into eyecandy? If anyone should be agrieved it's the poor scanner operators that will not only have to endure staring at your unappealling forms, but will also have to shoulder the tag "pervs" thrust on them by hyperventilating "jer-nah-lists" wihtout a real story to print.

    Strange how no-one complains about the medical scanners that can do even more invasive scanning. But that's alright, isn't it, 'cos none of you morons thinks to label nurses and doctors "pervert tools of the oppressive Big Brother". How hypocritical and sad. Try thinking before simply regurgitating the Indymedia line.


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