Compulsory Scan Rules Introduced

NEW RULES introduced in the UK mean that selected passengers at Heathrow and Manchester airports will have to go through full body scanners before boarding their flights.  Those who are selected for a scan but refuse to take part will not be allowed to fly.
The new security rules have been introduced following the alleged attempt by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to detonate a bomb on a flight from Amsterdam as it was about to land in Detroit on Christmas Day.
There have been concerns the scanners breach passengers’ rights to privacy, but the Government’s Transport Secretary Lord Adonis said in the immediate future only a small proportion of airline passengers would be selected for scanning.
In a written statement to the House of Commons, he said: “If a passenger is selected for scanning, and declines, they will not be permitted to fly.”
The scanners were introduced at Heathrow and Manchester on February 1, and were due to be installed at Birmingham as this edition went to press.
The body-scanning machines have been in use at Manchester Airport’s Terminal 2 on a random and non-compulsory basis since October 2009, and additional scanners planned for Terminals 1 and 3 by the end of February.
The UK’s Department of Transport has published an interim code of practice covering privacy, health and safety, data protection and equality issues.
“The code will require airports to undertake scanning sensitively, having regard to the rights of passengers,” Lord Adonis said.
Manchester airport said it had put strict procedures in place to protect the privacy of passengers.
Manchester Airport’s head of customer experience, Sarah Barrett, said: “It will enhance security for everyone, which can only be a good thing, without compromising people’s privacy.
“The image generated by the body scanner cannot be stored or captured nor can security officers viewing the images recognise people.”
The equipment does not allow security staff to see passengers naked, she added.
A rule that meant under 18s were not allowed to participate in the body scanner trial has been overturned by the government.
The introduction of body scanners has generated much debate, and even the Home Secretary has admitted it will not be a ‘magic bullet’.