The UK will not retain body scan images
from their extended security measures at airports.
The scanners are currently being trialled
at London Heathrow and Manchester Airport under tighter security rules, with a
view to extending their use country-wide.
On Christmas Day, 2009, Umar Farouk
Abdulmutallab allegedly tried to detonate a bomb on a KLM flight from Amsterdam to Detroit.
Subsequently security has increased worldwide.
Full training will be given to
staff regarding the new scanners, which have come under fire as they take a
‘naked’ picture of passengers. This procedure has been introduced in order to
unearth hidden contraband that may be worn underneath clothing and missed by
the traditional pat-down searches. The controversial technology has been described
as a ‘digital strip-search’.
Privacy campaigners in the UK
have alleged that the pictures breach the Protection of Children Act, 1978. The
trials at Manchester
were only allowed to proceed after an exemption for under-18s was introduced.
Transport Secretary Lord Adonis
told the UK
broadsheet the Daily Telegraph that people already accepted the ‘pretty intrusive’
pat-down searches because they realise that it is important that airlines are
able to detect weapons or any other powerful substances. He explained that the
images taken would be destroyed once a passenger had been cleared by security.
“It is very important to stress that the images which
are captured by body scanners are immediately deleted after the passenger has
gone through the body scanner,” he said.