UK concerned that airport body scans violate child porn laws

January 5, 2010

(ChattahBox) — The Christmas underwear bomber has sent authorities into the usual knee-jerk panic to crack down at airports, even though he would have likely been caught had existing technology and procedures been executed properly.  The U.S. will immediately start using some full body-scan machines and has requested pat-down searches of passengers from a list of 14 countries.  And three dimensional whole body scanners, are being set up at airports worldwide (The Netherlands, Britain and Nigeria have already announced plans to rapidly deploy), which critics say performs “a virtual strip search” and produces “naked” pictures of passengers.   A body scan takes between 15 and 30 seconds, while a full pat-down can take from two to four minutes, so it does speed the process of getting travelers through security.While it’s one thing to have airport security looking at people’s naked bodies there are concerns and demands for safeguards to ensure that images from the scanners, are not used improperly, including avoiding those photos ending up on the internet.  With hospitals and even law enforcement occasionally caught giving in to revealing private information on celebrities, how much temptation will there be for an airport employee to look to profit from having access to some A-List star passing through a security scan?  The United Kingdom, has some of those concerns and has proposed “gradual” introduction of these devices.  The first main concern is that body scans could violate existing child porn laws, particularly the Protection of Children Act 1978, under which it is illegal to create an indecent image or a “pseudo-image” of a child.  According to The Guardian:

“A 12-month trial at Manchester airport of scanners which reveal naked images of passengers including their genitalia and breast enlargements, only went ahead last month after under-18s were exempted.  Ministers now face having to exempt under 18s from the scans or face the delays of introducing new legislation to ensure airport security staff do not commit offenses under child pornography laws,” a Monday report reads.

In reaction to the concerns, British transportation authorities told The Guardian:

“We understand the concerns expressed about privacy in relation to the deployment of body scanners.  It is vital staff are properly trained and we are developing a code of practice to ensure these concerns are properly taken into account. Existing safeguards also mean those operating scanners are separated from the device, so unable to see the person to whom the image relates, and these anonymous images are deleted immediately.”


Comments

One Response to “UK concerned that airport body scans violate child porn laws”

  1. Old Man Dotes on January 5th, 2010 11:06 am

    Exempt those under 18, and the terrorists will simply strap explosives to children. Islamic extremists condone the murder of innocents “in the name of god,” so that won’t bother them at all. They’re perfectly happy to slaughter children if it will cost the West a few dollars.

    Two decades ago I objected strongly to religious profiling. That was before I was radicalized by Islamic terrorists. Now I want to see Islamics banned from International travel, with shoot-on-sight orders issued at all borders.

    On the other hand, nothing useful has been accomplished by the so-called “security checkpoints” at Western airports, unless concentrating travellers in large groups to make them an easier target is what the DHS has in mind.

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