November 14, 2011,
EU stresses privacy in new airport body scanner rules,
The European Union on Monday adopted a new set of guidelines governing the use of body scanners and addressing privacy concerns that have delayed their use at airports across the continent. Siim Kallas, the EU commissioner responsible for transport, said that under the rules the technology will only be used with strict safeguards to protect health and fundamental rights. "Security scanners are not a panacea but they do offer a real possibility to reinforce passenger security," he said. The scanners, some of which produce nude-like images of passengers, are already used in the United States and elsewhere as a more effective method of screening passengers than metal detectors. Scanner technology is developing rapidly and has the potential to significantly reduce invasive pat-downs. The latest machines are equipped with software that displays a generic outline of a human body, with a red box around the area where a passenger may be concealing an object. EU member states and airports do not have an obligation to deploy security scanners, but if they decide to use them, they will have to comply with the operational conditions and performance standards set at European level, the transport commission said. Under the new legislation, security scanners must not store or copy any of the images, and the security staff analyzing the images will be located in a room separate from where the actual screening is conducted. In addition, passengers must be informed and be given the right to choose an alternative method of screening. And in order not to risk jeopardizing citizens' health and safety, only security scanners that do not use X-ray technology can be used at EU airports, the commission said.
my response....If anyone hasn't noticed, terrorist hijackings are fewer today because we've learned how to thwart these murderous attempts! But still, there are those who would rather complain at rules put in place to save their life! It's pointless to challenge security agents when singled out for a body scan or a body pat-down. If complainers want to express their anger, at least they should direct it where it is due! Security Agents have been directed by law to ensure the safety of all passengers after the 9/11 attacks, when 19 terrorists, 15 from Saudi Arabia, two from the United Arab Emirates and one each from Egypt and Lebanon, 14 with "al" in their names who took over commercial aircraft with box-cutters. Afterwhich, both the Canadian and American governments banned sharp objects from planes. It wasn't that long ago when I waited patiently behind an 85 year old lady in Logan Airport who came up for special treatment. I think they called it 'random testing' at the time! Despite finding it difficult to comply, she did her best and didn't complain. Airport security began confiscating little old ladies' knitting needles and breaking the mouse-sized nail files off of passengers' nail clippers. Surprisingly, no decrease in the number of hijacking attempts by little old ladies and manicurists was noted. After another terrorist, Richard Reid, AKA Tariq Raja, AKA Abdel Rahim, AKA Abdul Raheem, AKA Abu Ibrahim, AKA Sammy Cohen (which was only his eHarmony alias), tried to blow up a commercial aircraft with explosive-laden sneakers, both governments prohibited more than 3 ounces of liquid from being carried on airplanes. On my last flight, I had to finish the contents of my water bottle before clearing customs. All passengers were required to take off their shoes for special security screening, which did not thwart a single terrorist attack, but made airport security checkpoints a lot smellier. After terrorist Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab of Nigeria tried to detonate explosive material in his underwear over Detroit, the authorities began requiring nude body scans at airports. The machines, which cannot detect chemicals or plastic, would not have caught the diaper bomber. So, again, no hijackers were stopped. After explosives were inserted in two ink cartridges and placed on a plane headed to the United States, but flying over Canada from Yemen, authorities banned printer cartridges from all domestic flights, resulting in no improvement in airport security. Can we stop a terrorist attack simply by searching for the explosives? Some say, 'not any more than you can stop crime by taking guns away from the good guys'. In the 1970s, liberal ideas on crime swept both countries. Gun owners were treated like criminals while actual criminals were coddled and released. If only we treated criminals with dignity and respect and showed them the system was blind and dumb, liberals told us, criminals would reward us with good behaviour. As is now well known, crime exploded in the '70s. It took decades of conservative law-and-order policies to get crime back to near-1950s levels. It's similarly pointless to treat all Canadians as if they're potential terrorists while trying to find and confiscate anything that could be used as a weapon. We can't search all passengers for explosives because terrorists stick explosives up their anuses. You have to search for the terrorists. Fortunately, that's the one advantage we have in this war. In a lucky stroke, all the terrorists have been swarthy, foreign-born males, so far. This would give us a major leg up, if only the liberals weren't involved. Is there any question that we'd be looking for Swedes if the 9/11 terrorists, the shoe bomber, the diaper bomber and the printer cartridge bomber had all been Swedish? If the Irish Republican Army were bombing our planes, wouldn't we be looking for people with Irish surnames and an Irish appearance? Only because the terrorists practice a common religion do we pretend not to notice who keeps trying to blow up our planes. It would be harder to find Swedes or Irish boarding commercial airliners in Canada than terrorists. Swarthy foreigners stand out like a sore thumb in an airport. The Canadian domestic flying population is remarkably homogenous. An airport is not a Bay department store. Only about a third of all Canadians flew even once in the last year, and only 7 percent took more than four round trips. The majority of airline passengers are middle-aged, middle-class, white businessmen with about a million frequent flier miles. I'd wager that more than 90 percent of domestic air travellers were born in Canada. If the government did nothing more than have a five-minute conversation with the one passenger per flight born outside Canada, you'd need 90 percent fewer security agents and airlines would still be as safe as they are now. Instead, the government keeps ordering more invasive searches of all passengers, without exception, except members of Parliament and other government officials, who get VIP treatment. Is it becoming increasingly obvious that we need to keep government hacks and assorted hanger's on as far away from airport security as possible?