Note: This article is from the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph.
(by David Millward, Telegraph.co.uk) – Passengers who refuse to go through an airport body scanner will be refused permission to fly, the [British] Government has said.
The strict rules were confirmed as scanners were introduced at [England’s] Heathrow and Manchester airport[s] as security was stepped up following the attempt to bring down a transatlantic flight on Christmas Day.
All passengers, even children, face potential selection, the [British] Department for Transport said.
The scanners, which are designed to detect explosives, at Heathrow’s Terminal 4 and Manchester are part of a program which will eventually be rolled out to all major airports.
At the same time Heathrow has been training staff how to look out for unusual behavior as passengers pass through the airport to decide who should face additional screening.
Such behavior could include being nervous or agitated when passing through the terminal.
In addition intelligence information will also be used to identify which passengers should be subject to further checks, which could include scanning or further questioning.
Terminal 4 has been chosen for the first of Heathrow’s scanners because it is used by a number of transatlantic airlines.
The scanner will be placed in a purpose-built cubicle where passengers who are selected for screening will be taken after passing through the metal-detecting arch.
It will take about 15 seconds to scan an individual. This will be done [before] the passenger reaches the departure lounge.
Heathrow declined to say how many passengers will be expected to go through a body scanner a day.
Lord Adonis, the Transport Secretary, said only a small proportion of passengers will be selected for scanning.
He added that a code of practice meant that nobody can be selected on the basis of race, age or gender. The assurances are designed to avoid claims that Asians [Middle Easterners] could be more likely to be picked out than others.
Other safeguards announced by the Government include giving passengers the right to demand that the individual inspecting the scanner image on a screen is the same sex.
In addition the security officer inspecting the image will not see the passenger and all images will be destroyed after the individual has walked away from the scanner.
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1. Two British airports began using full-body scanners this week. What will happen to passengers who refuse to submit to a full-body scan?
2. In addition to the full-body scanners, what new measure is airport security taking with security staff?
3. London’s Heathrow Airport is the largest and busiest airport in the United Kingdom. It is the world’s second busiest airport in terms of total passenger traffic.
Why was Heathrow’s Terminal 4 chosen for the first of Heathrow’s scanners?
4. How many passengers will have to go through the full-body scanner each day?
5. a) On what criteria will passengers be selected for the additional full-body scan?
b) How does the Transport Secretary explain the reasoning behind the criteria?
c) Do you agree with the government’s reasoning? Explain your answer.
6. a) Watch the CBS News video under “Resources” below. Despite the new tactic being implemented by terrorists to thwart the full-body scanners, do you think the scanners should be used in airports?
b) Should scanners be used in all airports, including U.S. airports?
c) Should all passengers be scanned?
Explain your answers.
d) Ask a parent the same questions (a, b and c).
ON THE USE OF WHOLE-BODY SCANNERS IN U.S. AIRPORTS:
The Transportation Security Administration, (TSA) was formed immediately following the tragedies of Sept. 11. The agency is a component of the Department of Homeland Security and is responsible for security of the nation’s transportation systems. Read the TSA’s explanation of their “whole-body imaging” machines used for airport security at tsa.gov/approach/tech/imaging_technology.shtm.
Read the Privacy Coalition’s letter to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano at privacycoalition.org/stopwholebodyimaging.
The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) is a public interest research center in Washington, D.C. established in 1994 to focus public attention on emerging civil liberties issues and to protect privacy, the First Amendment, and constitutional values.
EPIC announced a national campaign on May 18, 2009 to suspend the use of “Whole Body Imaging” — devices that photograph American air travellers stripped naked in US airports. The campaign responds to a policy reversal by the TSA which would now make the the “virtual strip search” mandatory, instead of voluntary as originally announced. EPIC and others say that there are inadequate safeguards to prevent the misuse of the images. They are asking Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to suspend the program and to allow for public comment. Read an article posted at StudentNewsDaily on EPIC’s campaign at studentnewsdaily.com/daily-news-article/airport-security-bares-all-or-does-it.