Monday, January 04, 2010

The naked passenger

I must say, I'm not really thrilled about this whole digital strip-search idea: Germany Reconsiders Controversial Airport Security Measure Der Spiegel 12/30/09:

It is highly likely that, had Abdulmutallab passed through such a scanner, the explosives he had moulded to his inner thigh would have been detected. And in fact, such scanners are already in use at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, where Abdulmutallab boarded the flight to Detroit. But as NRC Handelsblad reports Abdulmutallab never passed through Amsterdam customs because, as a transit passenger with a connecting flight, he technically never entered the Netherlands. He was simply subjected to another standard security check before boarding the flight to Detroit.

On Wednesday, the Dutch government announced at a press conference that within the next three weeks it would begin screening all US-bound passengers using full-body scanners. Debates over full-body scanners have simmered in the European Union for several years now. Although a pilot program is being tested by the Dutch government at Schiphol, the EU has been reluctant to permit mandatory use of the technology because it has the potential of taking nude images of passengers. Earlier this week, Schiphol spokesperson Mirjam Snoerwang told NRC Handelsblad, "European regulations tell us we can only put people through them (the full body scanners) on a voluntary basis. And objections have been raised with regards to privacy." Several airports in the United Kingdom also have full body scanners.
Something for bets for the new year: how many weeks will it be before airport body scan images of celebrities and models begin showing up on the Internet?

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