Thursday, October 15, 2009

X-ray-ted: British airport scanner reveals all

A British airport has started using a security scanner which produces naked X-ray images of travellers complete with genitalia, body piercings and breast implants, officials said Tuesday.

Staff at Manchester airport in northwest England, where it is on trial, say the machine takes a black and white picture of each passenger which is examined by one security officer before being deleted.

Travellers who do not like the idea can instead opt for the traditional frisking procedure, but the new machine speeds up the security process as it does not require passengers to remove coats, shoes or belts.

"Most of our customers do not like the traditional ‘pat down’ search –they find it too intrusive, but they still want to be kept safe,” said Sarah Barrett, the airport’s head of customer experience.

"This scanner completely takes away the hassle of needing to undress. The images are not erotic or pornographic and they cannot be stored or captured in any way."

The machines, already in use at a number of US airports, are designed to detect any hidden weapons or explosives before they are taken on board planes.

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