EU adopts new rules on airport body scanners

November 15th, 2011 - 1:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Brussels, Nov 15 (IANS) The European Union (EU) has adopted new guidelines on the use of security scanners at airports to protect the privacy and health of passengers.

Under the new law, EU member states are not obliged to deploy body scanners, but if they do, these will have to comply with EU-level standards, Xinhua reported.

Security scanners must not store or copy images and the security personnel analyzing images should work in a separate location, according to the law adopted Monday.

In addition, passengers must be informed and be given the right to choose an alternative method of screening.

In order not to risk citizens’ health and safety, only security scanners which do not use X-ray technology can be used at EU airports.

“Security scanners are not a panacea but they do offer a real possibility to reinforce passenger security. Security scanners are a valuable alternative to existing screening methods and are very efficient in detecting both metallic and non-metallic objects,” said Siim Kallas, the EU commissioner for transport.

He said it was still up to each EU member state or airport to decide whether or not to deploy security scanners, but the new rules would make sure the health and rights of passengers is protected.

“Experience to date shows that passengers and staff generally see security scanners as a convenient method of screening,” he said.

Since a terrorist attempted Dec 25, 2009 to blow up a plane flying from Amsterdam to Detroit with plastic explosives that were hidden in his underwear, EU countries have been mulling the use of security scanners, which have been used in the US.

However, concerns over privacy and health have delayed their implementation across the continent. Only Britain and the Netherlands are currently using security scanners, while France, Italy, Finland and other countries have tested them.

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