back to article Airport scanner staff object to vetting

Security staff at Heathrow airport are reportedly furious at the suggestion that any of them would ever use pics taken from the new body scanners for lewd or lascivious purposes. Their reaction was reported last week in Skyport, a newspaper that carries news and features for those working at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted …

COMMENTS

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  1. P.Nutt
    FAIL

    Said it before I will say it again

    I will give it 20 seconds for the 1st perv to post some scanner porn on the web and make an arse out of all the "safe guards" (Is that no tissues near the scanner terminals???)

  2. Fred Flintstone Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    Brilliant!

    Excellent work. That's a rather large handful of nuts into the works of that legislation.

    Let's see how they talk themselves out of that one..

  3. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    If they have nothing to hide...

    ...what's the problem then? Quis custodient ipsos custodes...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Coat

      How can anyone downvote that?

      Unless it was for the glaring error. <pedant>It's "custodiet"</pedant>

  4. Capt John Yossarian
    Unhappy

    WTF

    Surely these people are already vetted for the work that they carry out? It would beggar belief if that was not the case.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Don't make me laugh

      Wouldn't be surprised if many were illegal immigrants too; the Home Office has already admitted this year that it employed a dozen illegal foreign staff over the past four years, including in the head-quarters of the UK Border Agency and in Whitehall too.

    2. Alan Esworthy
      FAIL

      beggar belief?

      Heller's Yossarian, unlike you, sir, was not fatuously gullible. Or do you wear your Joo Janta 200 Super-Chromatic Peril Sensitive Sunglasses whilst you read the news?

  5. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Of course they object

    whose going to smuggle in the drugs that the people who think up our security systems obviously take in huge quantities?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    An angle that seems to have been overlooked..

    These scanners undress people "virtually", allowing for an almost nude image to be seen. Am I right in thinking that it is forbidden for Muslim women to be seen in the nude by anyone other than their husbands? Isn't that why they cover up so much in public? I'm guessing if these scanners are widely deployed, there could well be a religious back lash to them....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Good

      In both regards.

    2. Mike Richards

      Yes, but look on the upside...

      ...a clever government will soon realise each of these images is indecent and probably breaks the law. In which case each passenger can be fined for indecent exposure with the money going to the State - let's just call it a Security Levy.

    3. Anton Ivanov
      Grenade

      Why only muslims?

      Some varieties of Orthodox Jews are similarly strict on the matter. So are most Christian sects.

      In fact the first male airport security guard to try running that on a group of Russian Eastern Orthodox nuns should probably be awarded the Victoria cross for bravery. If he survives. I am not going to give him more than 1:8 odds there.

      That is one thing the Dutch have done right by the way - they completely rehash the body into a diagram in software. No recognisable image whatsoever. I am surprised this is not done in the UK. It is just asking for trouble.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Alert

        Fuck that

        Forget about religious types....I'VE got a rule that says I'm the only one that can see my wife naked.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @AC F*ck that

          I'm with you, I don't care if a security guard gets his jollies looking at my 3rd leg, but I'm really uneasy at the thought of him perving at the missus!

  7. John G Imrie
    Big Brother

    "We have bombs and knives on our minds and that’s it."

    So we have a bunch of people looking at artificially enhanced pictures of nude passengers with "bombs and knives on our minds and that’s it."

    Either they match the profile for terrorists, or the are falling foul of the extreme porn laws.

    Take your pick.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    They have WHAT on their minds?

    You'd be amazed what smudgy pictures pervy people contend themselves with. These high-tech machines don't produce that, but rather an inverted image that's easily inverted again, yielding a quite detailed picture. Government lies to the contrary, that's high-tech for you. But let's hear what the man-on-the-ground has to say.

    "Its about as sensible as saying the act of patting down a passenger is perverted."

    Well, yes, it is. I don't care that they claim to do or don't enjoy it, I'd rather they didn't do it.

    "We are here to do a job. We have bombs and knives on our minds and that’s it."

    They're clearly terrorists, then.

    The most important thing, though, assuming these are somehow governmentally acceptable terrorists, is that if the entire populated is to be vetted (and this is what these people do), then they have to be vetted, too. No way around it.

    The very fact that various people nominally in charge duck that sort of question means they're being irresponsible. Have these people heard of "accountability"? How else would they suppose they're worthy of public trust?

    Carry on government.

  9. Dave 120
    FAIL

    Whats wrong with frisking?

    It detects guns, knives, non metallic bulges, bottles of water and boobies. Fingertips have a low carbon footprint, don't break down, are portable and can be individually assigned to each member of security staff. They even get to keep them when they go home.

    And what happens when the world at large gets to hear about that bomber in the middle east with the "cavity bomb".

    Yes sir, please remove your shoes, belt, metallic objects and take a firm hold of your ankles.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    contact with children

    If airport security staff need to be vetted because they are "in contact" with children on a regular basis since children will always be in the security check queues then on the same basis why doesn't the same apply to people on supermarket checkouts/behing the counter in newsagents/sweet shops. I mean you'll need to be ISA-ed to be allowed to sit on a park bench next :-)

  11. irish donkey
    Thumb Up

    eye balling kiddies, titties and willies without vetting

    I don't think so.

    See how you like the threat of an serious internal body cavity search!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      Oh FFS

      "These high-tech machines don't produce that, but rather an inverted image that's easily inverted again, yielding a quite detailed picture"

      Have you seen the pictures? The inverted rumour is all bollox. If it was that simple do you not think the scanners would do it in the first place?

      You'd be lucky to recognise anyone.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Whats wrong with frisking?

      Dave 120: "Whats wrong with frisking?"

      This - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hu5LLKmP5DQ

    3. I didn't do IT.
      Black Helicopters

      <comment sarcasm="off">

      That is exactly what the government wants. It matters not all the data they collect about you from birth, through school, and any tertiary contact merely conducting business in the modern world (auto license, etc) - WE MUST KNOW ALL.

      What better way to keep you entertained with drivel, targeted with ads to get the money we can't tax away from you, and get the needed jump (pun - or policy?!) on the next generation - your kids.

      Don't forget to leave your Government Status Report for the time you spent reading this when you could have been victimized... er... serviced by your government and corporate masters.

      </comment>

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Wrong argument

    This whole 'naked image' argument is nothing but a diversion. The important point (which nobody is talking about because 'lewd or lascivious purposes' grabs the headlines) is that these scanners would have done not a thing to prevent the 'pants bomber'. They're just an expensive vote-winner for Brown.

    Paris because I think we've all seen grainy, ghost-like images of her naked by now...

  13. Stuart Rogers

    Frankly Offensive

    When you have a body as fabulous as mine, the idea that security guards *aren't* going to get kicks out of seeing a blurry grey image of my body is frankly offensive.

    If the authorities aren't going to trust me to not carry a bomb on board, I see no reason why I should trust the authoriities to not abuse my privacy.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Under Secretary?

    "Paul Clark, an Under-Secretary with the Department of Transport."

    How would Mr Clark like it if he saw an image of himself as "Underwear-Secretary" on the net?

    These fascist Muppets just never get it.

  15. Tony Humphreys
    Stop

    What?

    Hopefully, I have skimmed this article and missed something.

    So if I drive my kids and one of their friends on the 2 minute drive to school, I would need to be vetted, yet if I got a job patting down people at an airport I would not need to be.

    My gut instinct is this is not true, but my head can believe it. Even if it is not true it says a lot about this country these days that it is believable.

    1. Mike Richards

      Surrender to the Pervatron!

      I think I've worked this one out.

      I'm a threat to mankind because I want to fly. Meanwhile the bloke operating the man-sized microwave isn't - because he's got a peaked cap.

  16. Psymon
    Thumb Up

    wonderful!

    It's truly delicious to see all sides squirming as it dawns on them that the copious lengths of rope they have been generously been laying out for themselves have suddenly begun to resemble a noose!

    A tip of the hat for such wonderful knife twisting!

  17. Adam T
    Badgers

    Quid pro quo?

    I agree with most of the comments here, but my immediate reaction to the headline was "pot meet kettle".

    If you agree to put other people through rigorous checking all day every day, I think it's only fair that you go through something similar yourself.

  18. Whitter

    That's life

    There's no accounting for the lunacy of a few. If the system is open to abuse, it will be abused sooner or later.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/glasgow_and_west/8474081.stm

  19. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    hmmm

    "The idea that we are going to get kicks out of seeing a blurry grey image of people’s bodies is frankly offensive."

    Norma Major?

    1. Frank Sattler
      Joke

      Edwina Currie...

      Aaah, my eyes! Ze goggles, zey do nothing!

  20. Simon 6
    Coat

    underpants bomber... what perfect timing

    I'm not one for conspiracy theories but boy, the timing of the underpants bomber just could not happened at a more perfect time.

    Public start out-crying over these scanners and viola! pants man bomber turns up and everything is perfect again in the land of Government because this bomber has single handedly solved all the problems.

  21. Neal 5

    I bet that really fucked you off

    absolutely no one responded to your question, which was of utmost import to you, but obviously not to anyone else involved with the scheme. ROFLMFAO.

    So tell me then, at what point does the line between my human right to fly to a destination and arrive safely, take second place to a terrorist human right to blow himself up along with the 'plane and maybe 300 or more passengers.?

    If it saves one life, it's worth it, no?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "We have bombs and knives on our minds and that’s it."

    dirty perverts.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      So

      Your happy for pictures of your floppy bits to be peered at and possibly posted all over the interwebby-thingy.

      Fine, you join the GREEN queue.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      How do you value one life?

      Neal 5: "If it saves one life, it's worth it, no?"

      And all cars should be banned from the roads to reduce number of car related deaths to zero; drinking and smoking and eating and everything bad for anyone should be made illegal because it might save one life, etc.

      There's a balance between the social and economic impact of such measures versus the damage caused by a terrorist atrocity.

      If they make us change our behaviour, so we are no longer free, haven't they "won"?

      1. Neal 5

        @anon coward 15.02

        You make a poor argument against, for your examples we already have legislation which if you like, inhibits your human right, to perform those functions if you so desire to pay the penalty to do so. The law doesn't stop you driving a car drunk, the penalty does.

        You're right there is a balance, and nobody has yet looked at the simplest, exemption to be being scanned for underage of 16. Exemption to be scanned on religious grounds, there is alredy legislation in place for that.

        As far as i understand, these scanners are suplementary.

        Your behaviour has already been altered, by the very thing that is being protected against..Can you in all honesty tell me, that 9/11 hadn't happened, we wouldn't have these measures in place or being discussed, for not only airport security but air travel security.

        Yes, if it saves one life it's worth it, but the liklihood, is that in the evnt of another airplane bombing, it won't be just one life will.

        So how high does the death toll need to be, before you say it is worth it?

        1. Luther Blissett

          @Neal5 16:04

          > The law doesn't stop you driving a car drunk, the penalty does.

          Semantics. What stops me in any instance is either that I arrive at my destination or I immobilize my vehicle, e.g. against a tree. What might stop me in the long run is running out of money to pay the fines, or being permanently deprived of access to a vehicle. These all assume just one thing - that I want to. So what stops me from driving a car drunk is me.

          > There is a balance

          Metaphor proves yet again a convenient refuge for the absence of a justifiable criterion.

          > So how high does the death toll need to be, before you say it is worth it?

          ...as does the rhetorical question. Are you a professional politician or lobbyist perchance?

        2. Tom 35 Silver badge
          Thumb Down

          So how high does the death toll need to be, before you say it is worth it?

          His argument is fine. Air travel has had restrictions almost since day one. Before 9/11 you could not walk onto a plane with a shotgun. They keep adding more restrictions every time something happens or almost happens, or might happen. If it's worth it because it saves one life why not apply the same idea to everything else.

          Cut all speed limits by 10%. It would save more then one life. And it's only 10% that's not too bad. Next year we can cut it another 10%. Next time there is a big pileup in a snow storm or fog we better cut the top speed to 50k and force every one to fit speed limiters to there cars.

          Banning cars and air travel will save more then one life, is it worth it?

          Where do you draw the line?

        3. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Answer:

          There is no death toll that makes it worth it. Freedom is worth more than the vanishingly small risk of being killed by a terrorist.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Happy

        Actually..

        I am, buit then I have the physique of a greek god and am hung like a horse.

        AC as the Mrs gets upset when I get groupies.

    3. kaiserb_uk
      FAIL

      My human right to fly...

      Ah yes, the 'my right to not get blown up' defence, as used by Geoff Hoon on QT to explain why 42 day detention without charge was a good idea.

    4. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Threat level vermilion

      I notice that as a prelude to the introduction of the scanners next week, the "terror threat level" has conveniently just been raised.

    5. Trevor Pott o_O Gold badge

      f it saves one life, it's worth it, no?

      No.

      Some things are worth dying for. Freedom is one. I'm willing to die for my freedom if necessary. Aren't you?

  23. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      But then...

      Do train conductors, bus ticket collectors or similar use a device to take a look at our winkles and twinkles?

      Not as far as I know.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        We already are..

        yes, all drivers on county council and most school hire work now needs drivers to be CRB'd and social security checked. And that's when you've got 50-odd kids on a bus and sometimes a couple of teachers as well. I think if you drive a taxi and are likely to have a child in the car alone, you probably have to have both sets of parents (yours and theirs) in the car with you and drive blindfolded so you can't see the child.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Neal 5 - you missed the point a little

    Its not about the right or wrong of the scanner, it is about the rights we have as citizens to have all laws applied equally to all people.

    The vetting laws are onerous to say the least and this should be demonstrated as they are applied to more situations, but it is only fair that security people looking at the images from these scanners should be held just as much in suspicion as you or I seem to increasingly find ourselves.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nothing to hide, nothing to fear?

    As a member of a civil enforcement organisation. You have no right to privacy as regard to what goes on within your jobs. Off duty, as a private citizen on the other hand, is a different matter.

    Nothing to hide, nothing to fear? shoe, other foot, anyone?

  26. JohnG

    Use sniffer dogs

    Much cheaper than the machines, cost less to maintain, low carbon footprint and nobody has to be vetted. Simples.

  27. Sir Sham Cad

    @Neal 5

    "If it saves one life, it's worth it, no?"

    Go on then, which one is it? Daily Mail or The Sun?

    The article that you have just read on El Reg isn't about whether or not these scanners will improve security. It's about the application of a seperate law that compels ISA checks in many circumstances and whether or not it will apply to airport security staff, with these new scanners being simply another possible avenue for abuse of vulnerable people. As it happens, the question was answered. The answer was simply "We dunno, guv" which is to be expected since the government that introduced this legislation don't know either.

    That the airport staff were upset and felt that they were being accused of being perverts at the possibility of being required to be screened simply mirrors that of the rest of the population when it was announced that they were all filthy paedos and if they wanted to continue working as a school volunteer/dinner lady/babysitter they'd have to prove otherwise.

    1. Mark Monaghan
      Coat

      @nobody has to be vetted

      What about the dog?

      It's the one with the aniseed in the pocket.

    2. Alan Esworthy
      Joke

      Of course they have to be vetted...

      ...who else would keep the dogs healthy and clean their teeth?

  28. Mark Monaghan
    Big Brother

    We are not amused

    Presumably body piercings will show up on these scanners as well...

    Guard A: Do you think that's a knife?

    Guard B: No it's just something he's got stuck through his... Eeww!

    That should take their mind off "bombs and knives".

  29. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Hmmm...... a question.....

    I fly about 5 times a year so am naturally concerned...

    What if I don't want to be scanned but rather patted down - is that going to be possible as I find that less intrusive?

    I have been through the ones that were trialled at Heathrow and was offered a chance to look at my own picture. Thankfully I was wearing button down jeans which covered up a good portion of my man hood but still think tin foil underpants are the way to go. Plus the pictures aren't as grainy / low quality as you are being told about.

  30. JBR
    Unhappy

    we've lost

    As Dara O'Briain pointed out on Mock the Week, if I have show pictures of my genitals to a bloke in a box to get on a plane, then we've lost the war on terror.

  31. Ilsa Loving
    Alert

    The issue is clear

    No one seems to have any problem with the scanners at all.

    The issue is that passengers are being forced to 'trust' the security staff won't do anything inappropriate with the new information they will have access to, and passengers (not to mention civil rights groups, etc) feel that that trust is grossly misplaced.

    Do all security staff recieve rigorous psych evals? Do they receive *exhaustive* sensitivity training? Are there channels in place for passengers to make complaints when they feel they have been abused by security staff? I doubt it. And I sure as hell don't trust them.

    1. Anderw Guard
      Troll

      That would be an extra £5 please

      Do not say that to anyone on Ryanair as before you know it there will be a fee for it.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Robert E A Harvey
      Thumb Down

      Schiphol

      I've asked every time I've been through one of these machines at Schiphol if I can see the result. I am always refused 'for privacy reasons'. Now I know that with my weight problem It's been a while since I saw my dangly bits, but I did not realise that they really were 'private parts' even from me.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The value of a life

    Hi Neal 5

    "If it saves one life, it's worth it, no?"

    Correct - it is NOT worth it.

    I don't know what the figures are - so I will make some up to illustrate the point:

    Say, the extra security measures, delay each passenger by an average 6 minutes.

    Say that 100 million passengers are thus delayed each year. You have wasted 10 million hours of life per year, just over 16 lifetimes (of 70 years each), which is not worth that one life saved.

    Furthermore, the financial cost of this extra inneffectual security, could have been much better spent in order to save many other lives, by improving road safety or providing clean water or better sanitation. Or indeed the money could have been better spent improving the quality of life by buying an ice-cream for every airline passenger.

    Best wishes,

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Different from now??

    Sorry but the only difference from things as they are now is someone WHO WILL NOT BE IN CONTACT with the child will see a blurry image. From your article if you say what they do means the guards will have to be vetted then I would guess they probably need to be vetted now anyway??

    As to the claims above that the scanners would not have stopped the underwear bomber I don't think there has been any proof either way but I guess claiming it as a fact helps your argument so heyho.

    1. Sillyfellow
      WTF?

      who's to say

      who's to say that this person looking at the (apparently not grainy or blurry) naked image of your teenage daughter will have no contact with her.. after all this screener person will most likely have easy access to her address and all personal details. and if said (unvetted) person turns out to be a twisted sicko...

      so especially for anyone viewing these images absolutely MUST be vetted and screened to the highest degree.

    2. Maty

      yes but ...

      "Sorry but the only difference from things as they are now is someone WHO WILL NOT BE IN CONTACT with the child will see a blurry image."

      So that makes it okay? Try putting same image on your computer monitor, and explain to Mr Plod that there's no problem because the picture is blurry, and you are not in contact.

      Now I've no problem about security people ogling my todger if they really have to, but asking parents to exhibit their children naked should not be a condition of flying.

  34. Skizz

    It'll all end when...

    ...Angolina Jolie (other celebutards are available) is made to use a scanner and the picture pops up on Face-Twitter-Space or whatever faster than a government U-turn.

    Acutally, thinking about it, the Sun would probably insist everyone goes through the scanner and the images made public just so they can publish 'shocking' images of celebs.

    Now the Queen needs a passport, would she have to go through one of these as well?

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Future recruits

    It's probably true that most of the current airport security staff are not pervs and will not particularly enjoy looking at these images.

    I am more concerned about future recruits. If the job advert says, "Spend 35 hours/week looking at images of virtually naked people", the applicants will tend to be people who want to do that - I mean, the job doesn't really have many other perks, does it?

    Similarly, what sort of person applies to work as a CCTV operator? This sort of person: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/merseyside/4609746.stm

  36. Lionel Baden

    hmmm

    How do i write bomb on my chest so that this scanner will detect it ???

    loving some of the comments !!!!

    agreed with the fellow stating why the fuck arnt they already vetted !!!!!

    also who frisks the kids ??? if it doesnt need to be done already why do they need to look at nekkid pics of kids !!!

    my intelligence is droppin the moar i fink a'bou dis ....

    1. 1of10

      @Lionel Baden

      “...How do i write bomb on my chest so that this scanner will detect it ???..."

      A little metal piece hanging from your neck with inscriptions... "WARNING - This bomb detonates if scanned"

      I'm sure he/she who saw your physical attributes before looking at metal piece will jump from the chair just to meet and congratulate you for closing down an airport for several hours.

      in panic times... all chicken runs around in panic...

      10-0, the terrorists are winning the game and laughing to all these inabilities and legislation changes put in place to make lifes of common people more interesting and stressed.

    2. Mike Moyle Silver badge

      Well...

      ...I would think that a metallic paint MIGHT work, but I think that you'd be better off getting a metal-foil tape and cutting out the letters to stick onto your chest. (Shave the area first, if necessary...!)

      ...and DO let us know how that worked out for you...!

    3. Robert E A Harvey

      Another solution

      Why don't we all turn up naked at airports? That'd sort out all difficulties.

      1. Steve Swann
        Go

        Flash Mob?

        "Why don't we all turn up naked at airports? That'd sort out all difficulties."

        I sense a facebook-led flash mob idea coming on. If you pardon the pun.

  37. Bassey

    Changed my mind

    On the subject of "we do this all day so it isn't a big deal" (which was the basic argument of the security guys) I was thinking that's fair enough. After all, other professions are in similar positions. I've done theatre work and, frankly, back stage, there are a lot of very attractive people wandering around in little or no clothing. You become blind to it after a while (no sniggering!). Doctors see patients in various states of undress and all kinds of weird and wonderful things besides. For some professions it is just part of what they do and, having been in that position, it isn't a big deal.

    Then I remembered a recent story about a woman suing her gynaecologist for sexual assault. It only takes one perverted little shit and I'd really rather not take the risk that someone like this piece of scum (http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&ct=res&cd=5&ved=0CBAQFjAE&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.three.fm%2Fnewscentre%2Fisle-of-man-news%2Fteacher-charged-with-sexual-offences-552&ei=J9JZS5TLGMyTjAfmyJ2aAg&usg=AFQjCNEo71VC8t5u8RqHpOwlKFP6iUkc6Q) - who worked at the school my kids will soon be going to - got a job in airport security because he didn't need to be checked.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Let's ask CEOP

    I think we should take the question at the heart of this - that of the creation of photographic images of children's genitals - to CEOP, since they seem, these days at least, to be the Supreme Arbiters of Morality. Let's ask them if they are happy for any number of unvetted staff to be 'making' these images day in, day out. So far, the usually quite vocal quango has been remarkably silent on the issue. I feel sure this is precisely the kind of issue that falls within their remit at the Ministry of Love.

    As another poster has already remarked - it is delicious to see the way these idiots are slowly tying themselves in knots with so much bad law sloshing about the system.

    Bootnote: I have no doubt that Reverend Jim (for it is he) will find some 'exemption' for airport staff, leaving them free to 'make' as many images as they like without any fear of prosecution. Funny how that works, innit?

  39. John Ozimek

    Nothing to hide?

    Neal 5...far from being hacked off by the failure of various organisations to respond, it gradually dawned on me that their failure was actually the story here.

    Because the question was NOT whether security scanners should be in use (I did not address that at all) but whether airport security staff ought to be treated with the same lack of trust as every other person in the UK (particularly those in teaching, social work, etc.). Personally, I dislike the levels of untrust that have been growing over the last decade, but that is a separate issue.

    However, I dislike even more the presumption of one law for us (because we are grown up security bods) and another law for everyone else. The indignation spewing forth from the security staff questioned is real and heartfelt. But hang on: they seem to be suggesting that because they do a grown security job, they are above suspicion. Really?

    Maybe THAT is a bit condescending. I am quite sure that somewhere lurking within the ranks of security staff are some saints and hopefully a very small number of total sinners.

    The fact that no-one on the official side - from the Under-Secretary, to employer, to the DfT itself - seemed aware of the new vetting regs also suggests a worrying disdain for the law.

    Hmmm...and as for the comment from someone else that: "in that case train conductors, bus ticket collectors, and a majority of professions would have to be vetted as they come into contact with vulnerable on a regular basis".

    Think you'll find that in many places that is exactly what is now happening.

    j

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Patting down

    "Its about as sensible as saying the act of patting down a passenger is perverted"

    Last year, my parents saw the security guards in a French airport holding back attractive young women for a "patting down", whilst everyone else got through without hassle...

    1. Neal 5

      @John Ozimek

      I appreciate the response, whilst eloquently put, I fear that maybe you are delving too deeply into this. Maybe the security staff have a repugnant inclination to having look at such images to begin with, why worry about the vetting. to be frank, would you actually LIKE to sit at a screen staring at various body parts for 8+ hours a day? I know I wouldn't., and to be honest, totally bored shitless by it, a common theme probably expressed by many of the security staff you interviewed.

      I don't think you can equate security to teaching, nor assume , by the logic being expressed here, put into reverse, that all teachers are paedophiles, it doesn't work like that, as least I hope it doesn't.

  41. kissingthecarpet

    They never do cavity searches

    They love to give the impression that they can happen in order to scare the public into doing what they're told, but I don't think that non-medical personnel are allowed to fist members of the public for whatever reason. A lot of apparently sensible people seem to believe that they occur as a matter of routine. No they never do.

  42. davefb

    its worth it..

    for the makers of the scanners.

    the biggest joke is that they've backtracked from saying this would have caught the latest bomber. It's now '50% chance we would have' .

    Patting down would have worked as well , if not better. Oh and listening to the guys father, that might have helped. Maybe revoking his visa, since he'd been reported as a terrorist,, stuff like that..

    Instead we get 'sexoscanners'. Incredibly the staff think it's insulting that we assume they're gunna enjoy looking at the pics, but it's perfectly okay to assume we're all a set of terrorist maniacs.

    And yeah, err how come these people aren't already vetted, or is it 'yet-another-vetting-system' ?

  43. John Ozimek

    Why not vetted already

    Because no-one is yet vetted.

    The Safeguarding and Vetting Act 2006 was passed in, er, 2006.

    Since then, the government has been busy setting up the vetting database, on to which many of us soon will go, establishing regulations, setting up the Independent Safeguarding Authority, etc.

    Most of that is now in place. The ISA oppened its doors for very preliminary business in October 2009.

    However, the first tranche of vetting will take place in July of this year.

    Up til then, those in the most difficult areas of life, vetting-wise, will receive an enhanced crb check. As i understand it, those working on security scanners already get this.

    However, the vetting process will add in data that does not go on the enhanced crb and despite some initial thoughts that vetting would supplant crb, that now appears not to be the case.

    Therefore, security/scanner staff are NOW vetted on a security basis and the enhanced crb is part of that. They are not, unless the DfT wishes to make a statement to the contrary, vetted on the basis of their propensity to perv at vulnerable people.

    It really feels as though, come July, they ought to be. It would have been so easy for the DfT just to have said yes.

    But I am still awaiting a reply.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A great man once said....

    ....Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

    Plus, hundreds of millions of people subjecting themselves to powerful electromagnetic radiation every year is not going to kill a few people eventually?

    If these plebs at airports are going to complain about anything, it should be the implementation of these damn things. Neither the airport nor the machines can operate without them, and a widespread walkout in protest for their removal would benefit everyone concerned.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Celeb Scans

    How long 'til the 1st pic of Cherly Coles etc scans are leaked on the net...

    I'd put money on it...

  46. Capt John Yossarian
    Coat

    Techy Question...

    Don't know the spec of these systems or the type of interface that the person doing the scanning will use, but there does seem to be a rather *big* assumption that the interface will have some USB connector and an interface to allow whoever is using the scanner to save images to a memory stick or similar. Would be incredibly dumb if this was the case.

    I would imagine that the person doing the vetting would have some facility to trigger an alert which tags the image and the relevant details to some kind of superdoopervisor system to allow escalation of the individual concerned. It would be staggering if these systems didn't have simple audit trails built in to determine who's accessed what and when.... QinetiQ strike me as exceptional clever buggers and I can't think they'd overlook this sort of functionality. Any BA worth their salt would have spotted this sort of numptiness at the earliest stage of product whiteboarding.

    From what I've seen of security systems at airports in US, UK, EU and Middle east, they're typically proprietary boxes and don't look like the sort of systems to deploy a "right click moose and send to Interweb/Facebook/Sun" functionality. Some of the hyperbole here and elsewhere seems to be nothing more than, er, hyperbole...

    Mines the one that reeks of common sense...

    ps Thanks Lionel Baden - BTW - any relation to Dusty Bin Laden? I think we should be told...

    1. Alan Esworthy
      Big Brother

      guess again

      After repeatedly stating that storage and/or transmission of images was impossible, the US TSA contract specifications for one of their two primary scanning systems were released. Part of the system was a "test mode" that allowed - wait for it - storage and/or transmission of images.

      I suspect that you'd need a security key to open a panel to get to the USB connector or to reset the machine into test mode. But kindly notice that the TSA had been lying all along by claiming it couldn't be done. Wankers.

    2. El Richard Thomas

      It doesn't matter...

      None of that will stop somebody taking a photo of the screen on their mobile phone ;-)

  47. Mike Shepherd
    Thumb Down

    Sed quis ipsos custodes...

    Heh...getting complicated, isn't it?

    It all distracts attention from the question the government doesn't want you to ask: what makes so many people want to blow you to bits?

  48. Jacqui

    Lady GAGA

    My Scum reading hubs suggests that images of this celebutard will probably be the first to be leaked. Evidently the scum has a reward outstanding for definitive proof of her (lack of) "meat and veg".

    1. Steve Swann
      Stop

      Fallacy

      "It all distracts attention from the question the government doesn't want you to ask: what makes so many people want to blow you to bits?"

      No, thats not the simple question either. The real question, I believe, is this:

      "What makes the government want you to believe so many people want to blow you to bits?"

      Given how relatively few people have died to terrorist attacks in the UK over the last 10 years, to ask why so many people want to blow you to bits is about as sensible as asking "Why do all car drivers want to kill everyone?!". After all a LOT more people died in RTA's than in terrorist attacks over the same period.

      Mind you, more people died in accidents involving their toilets or as a result of bee stings (despite all the stories about bees being in decline) too.

      Perhaps, when we're done banning cars, we should ban toilets and bees too?

      Terrorism is about government propaganda and media fear-mongering, all in the name of the Great God Profit. After the 7/7 copycat bombings our government and our media both trumpted the clarion call of "Carry on as usual, or the terrorists win". What happened to THAT idea? No, instead we see constant curtailing of liberties, the removal of freedoms, an increase in intrusive monitoring and surveillance....

      It's all lies. There are no terrorist organisations waging war on us. There is no Al Qaeda.

      (Caveat: There ARE terrorists; sad sack copycats and wannabes inspired by the same propaganda and media lies into believing they are acting on behalf of a global wave of rebellion. Non existant rebellion.)

  49. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    Vetting as they are subject to vulnerable persons act.

    Like it.

  50. Avian

    Seriously?

    Is it the case that these people aren't already vetted in some way? Incredible even for this looney bin of a country.

    Is it the case that these people aren't already vetted in some way? Incredible even for this looney bin of a country.

    My wife works in adult education and for a number of different organisations including those for learning disabilities and offender rehabilitation and I asked her how many checks she has had and she has lost track, genuinely doesn't know.

    Why would these people NOT be checked?

    On the subject of the image quality of the Sexoscanners -

    http://www.newsweek.com/id/229665

    Perhaps it's better quality than some would realise.

  51. Paul 77
    Stop

    X-Rays...

    My main problem with these is that they still use x-rays, don't they? X-rays can increase cancer risk, and I don't believe that humans should be x-rayed unless medical reasons justify it.

    1. Shades

      Oops!

      Accidentally down-voted your post. Sorry!

      Note to El Reg: Perhaps a confirmation dialogue for post votes may be in order?

  52. Shingo Tamai
    FAIL

    What pisses me off...

    ONE idiot straps a bomb to his ass on a US flight and as the result the rest of the world is forced to harass and stress travellers to make the US government happy.

    Also now we are in a situation where any terrorist could just collapse economies all over the world by just opening a door of going past a security check without folliwing "the procedure" and without the need to kill anyone.

    Imagine the Newark accident happening every single day in any western airport one day on and one day off...

    Pathetic.

  53. censored
    Flame

    I've said it before...

    But if you're not happy to do a strip-search to get on a flight, then why would you be happy with these scanners?

  54. silver fox
    Grenade

    Official figures

    Are there any official figures to say how 'productive' airport security has been? How many people have been caught trying to tak bad things on to planes?

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    start of this

    the start of this says all we need to know, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nioy8AhYweY&feature=channel and lets face it, we all thought "hey no more nuclear destruction! Awesome" No now we have to be scared of somethihng fasr less scary. Seriously if you're more scared of anything that might happen today is more scary then being cold war nuclear warfare god damn.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    just a matter of time......

    before the celeb images start appearing....... of course it'll also be interesting watching the guys scan their work collegues (who will be scanned also right ?) .

    can't wait for the xmas parties to begin and Bill from accounts suddenly getting all that new attention because of what his scan revealed.....

    and lastly

    me always wanting to look my best, i wonder if i'll need to take appropiate reading material to airport, you know just in case it's cold !!!!!

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "If it saves one life, it's worth it, no?"

    "If it saves one life, it's worth it, no?"

    If you believe that statement don't leave your fucking house you inbred fucking retard, because there are a million ways you can die.

    (it wont get posted but it's true - if you believe that kind of crap you don't deserve to live. Life is full of risks and living is risking death and the only way to be safe is to stay in bed 24/7 drinking blended food.)

    Jesus people who say that are stupid beyond belief.

    Jesus

    A few beers make me hate these people all the more, damn I hope whilst you're in your house, drinking your shitty protein shake a meteor kills you in your bed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      It is more likely...

      ...that he is going to choke on the blended food. :)

  58. Neal 5

    @anon coward 03.56

    Anonymous Coward

    "If it saves one life, it's worth it, no?" #

    Posted Saturday 23rd January 2010 03:56 GMT

    "If it saves one life, it's worth it, no?"

    If you believe that statement don't leave your fucking house you inbred fucking retard, because there are a million ways you can die.

    (it wont get posted but it's true - if you believe that kind of crap you don't deserve to live. Life is full of risks and living is risking death and the only way to be safe is to stay in bed 24/7 drinking blended food.)

    Jesus people who say that are stupid beyond belief.

    Jesus

    A few beers make me hate these people all the more, damn I hope whilst you're in your house, drinking your shitty protein shake a meteor kills you in your bed.

    Ahh, there, there, I'm sure you had such a sweet disposition as a child, mind it's a common trait amongst those children who had a different "Uncle" every night, to tend towards bitterness.

    I can't understand the point you make about protein shakes and airport scanners though, would you mind elucidating if you could please, so at least some of us may lower ourselves to you singular wavelength.

    Understanding is caring after all.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Neil 5

      At least he can quote a post properly and manage to not come across as a weasley little turd. Both of which seem to be beyond you.

  59. Cheeky Chappie
    Big Brother

    Back in the late 90's.......

    I worked at Heathrow in airline security, we routinely searched bags taken at random. some of these belonged to young ladies - there is no difference(from a sexual point of view) between rifling through someones underwear and viewing an image on screen, we were looking for dangerous items(to the aircraft) what was in the case wasn't interesting. The same would apply to the image.

    With hindsight, what now worried me is the amount of muslim asians that are employed in this field, please don't mis-understand, the old cliche applies, not all muslims are terrorists but it does appear that all terrorists are or claim to be muslim.

    Also I WAS vetted and received a certificate that was recognized by other security firms and airlines.

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Paul 77 X Rays

    What f***ng planet are you on?

    They don't EVER use X rays to scan people passing through airports. (with a caveat about to follow)

    If they suspect dugs have been swallowed, and have a damn good reason to suspect they've been swallowed then they might do an X ray to see what's inside the body.

    X rays most definitely are dangerous, which is why they don't routinely use X rays to scan the human body.

    1. Peter Hewitt-Dutton
      FAIL

      Wrong!

      Let me correct you! I work in Heathrow security, and for 3 years we had the very scanners everyone is worrying about now in Terminal 4. They are also in Manchester.

      They DO use x-rays, with a dose for the cycle of 3 micro-rem. The dose recieved is about the same as background radiation, and far less than you'd recieve on the plane!

      They will not see drugs swallowed, they do not penetrate the skin, the only thing you sometimes see under the skin is the shinbone, because it's right up against quite thin skin.

      However anything strapped to the body can be seen.

      I agree with the person interviewed though, we have NO interest in keeping images of naked passengers, why would we?? We are looking for anything which can bring down the plane.

  61. pixelatedpete

    another reactionary measure

    I've been to an airport. I've seen the people there. manning that scanner would not be a nice task! humanity is, by and large, not the beauties you see in magazines. i'm not and neither are you.

    I don't think it'd be too long before anyone at these scanners would desensitize to seeing naked people - a bit like doctors. my worry then would be, how long before that renders the scanners a useless waste of money as people cease to notice knives and bombs?

    there must be better machines that couldn't care less about what you look like and not rely on the falable human eye, surely? like the "sniffer" scans in the CN tower?

    I just get the impression who ever makes these devices just happens to also have the ear of a minister. twas ever thus.

  62. Remy Redert

    @RotaCyclic

    Think again. Some of the scanners suggested for this kind of work use backscatter X-ray scanning.

    Ionizing radiation is potentially dangerous, just like a car is potentially dangerous. You are exposed to small amounts of ionizing radiation every day, be it from solar radiation, various radioactive sources in the soil or common household items that are mildly radioactive.

    A backscatter X-ray scanner, designed properly, should not pose a health risk.

    For a short list of sources of ionizing radiation, think of concrete walls (emit radon gas), granite (radon gas again), smoke detectors (americium in most cases), gas lights (the sock is radioactive) and even good ol' carbon in all its forms contains radioactive isotopes.

    Now from what I understand, the type of scanners used by the UK gov are terahertz wave systems, of which possible health implications haven't been thoroughly researched yet.

    1. Boring Bob
      Thumb Down

      A common misunderstanding

      "Ionizing radiation is potentially dangerous, just like a car is potentially dangerous."

      Incorrect. Ionizing radiation damages your DNA, the body is not able to repair this damage and it will be copied into new cells. Hence the damage caused by ionizing radiation is accumulative and there is no safe dose (so called "safe" doses were created for purely practical reasons). If you have a trip in a car and survive without injury then this trip will not have any negative impact on your future health. The effect of risk from diving cars, unlike ionising radiation, is not accumulative.

  63. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Coat

    IIRC Senior UK customs officials carry out cavity searches

    One of the new responsabilities on promotion. Naturally they go on a course to learn how.

    Mine would be a hi-vis jacket with a warrant card in.

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