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Wed, Feb 03, 2010

Britain Bans Passengers From Flights Who Refuse Full Body Scans

Airports Introducing Body Scan Technology This Week

Passengers boarding commercial airliners at Heathrow and Manchester airports who refuse to submit to a full-body scan will not be allowed to get on the airplanes following deployment of the technology at those two airports Monday. Civil liberty and privacy groups have criticized the scanners since their proposal as being an invasion of privacy.

The London Daily Mail reports that Transport Secretary Lord Adonis said "In the immediate future, only a small proportion of airline passengers will be selected for scanning. If a passenger is selected for scanning and declines, they will not be permitted to fly." Officials said the restriction of scanning those under 18 years of age had also been removed. 

The stepped-up implementation of the scanners follows the attempted bombing of a Northwest Airlines flight on Christmas day. The person accused of attempting to bring down the airliner boarded a plane bound for Detroit in Amsterdam.

The scanners have been under evaluation at Manchesters' terminal two for some time, and that will be where they are first being used under the new rules. They are expected to be installed in terminals one and three in the near future. BAA, which operates Heathrow airport, would not tell the paper how many scanners are in use, or where they will be deployed in the airport.

Airport officials continue to say that the scanners do not invade privacy, that the machine operator never sees the image, and that the images can not be stored or transmitted, though a recent report indicates there is a setting on the machines that can allow the storage and transmittal of the scans.

FMI: www.dft.gov.uk

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