Airport technology showing people's 'private parts' to get scrutiny

Airport full-body scanners which show people's private parts are a lot like a strip search, imposing "a serious impact on the fundamental rights of citizens," according to a resolution passed by European lawmakers late last week.

Although already in use at some airports in the US, the UK, and Netherlands, full-body scanning -- a security technology quite capable of showing people's unmentionables -- might now fade away as a specter facing Americans and other travelers in European airports, due to a lawmakers' vote.

Some airports in Europe, including London's Heathrow and Amsterdam's Schiphol, already make use of full-body scanners, as do some airports in the US.


Proponents of the controversial technology argue that it can detect ceramic knives and other weapons that are invisible to current detectors, while also avoiding the need to "pat down" travelers suspected of carrying items not permitted on planes.

But opponents contend that full-body scanning violates civil liberties by showing a person's private parts to airport security personnel.

A non-binding resolution passed by the European Union on Thursday asks the organization's executive European Commission to prepare an assessment covering the economic, medical and human rights impact of full-body scanners.

Members of the EC asked last month for full body scanners to be added to a list of security measures allowable for use throughout the 27 countries in the EU. However, officials of some countries in the EU, such as Germany, are vehemently against use of the technology.

"I can tell you with complete clarity that we are not going to cooperate with this mischief," a spokesperson for Germany's Interior Ministry said at a government-sponsored press conference on Friday, says an account in the English-language service of Germany's public broadcaster Deutsche Welle.

The EU's vote stops short of banning full-body scanning entirely. But 361 lawmakers stood up in favor of conducting a detailed study of the technology before it is used, while only 16 opposed the resolution, with 181 abstaining, according to wire service reports.

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