Associated Press: EU adopts guidelines on airport body scanners

Discussion in 'Aviation Passenger Security in Other Countries' started by Mike, Nov 14, 2011.

  1. RadioGirl

    RadioGirl Original Member

    If you're handing these out to screeners who claim that the x-ray body scanners (the ones with two rectangular boxes) are only using radio waves, more power to you.

    If on the other hand, screeners are telling you that the MMW body scanners (the round booths) are using radio waves, well, the goobers are right.

    Note that, despite the sensationalist titles of some of the media reporting, the EU has not banned "body scanners". On the contrary, the EU has issued a ruling to ALLOW the use of body scanners, but only the MMW (radio wave) variety, and allow passengers to opt out. For countries like the UK which are using x-ray scanners without opt outs, this represents a limitation. For airports like AMS which are using MMW with ATR (and opt outs? I'm not sure), the ruling represents business-as-usual. For the majority of EU countries which have not yet installed body scanners, the ruling opens the door for them to do so.

    It's better than nothing but this ruling is hardly an unmitigated victory for the opponents of body scanners.
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  2. exbayern

    exbayern Original Member

    It is either Dec 2 or Dec 5 when opt out comes to the UK.

    I know that many here avoided the UK, but honestly, the times people were scanned seemed to be very low compared to the US, and most airports and terminals have no scanner at all in the UK. Nor is the scanner primary except perhaps recently at one terminal at MAN.

    And frankly it's NOT the UK scanning people, it's England. Let's give credit to Scotland and Wales for remaining sane. That makes a big difference to many people.

    And the 'room'? It's right next to the scanner in T5 at LHR.
    KrazyKat and Lisa Simeone like this.
  3. RadioGirl

    RadioGirl Original Member

    I understand what you're saying, and I agree that it's not as extreme as the US.

    But in my case - and I can't be the only one - I have a metal implant which alarms the WTMD. That raises the low probability of random selection for the NoS to a high probability of secondary NoS screening, which under the current rules would be mandatory. In the early days I wrote to the MAN airport security office to ask whether setting off the WTMD with a metal implant would necessarily result in NoS, and he hedged around the issue (classic "if I tell you the terrorists will know how to beat the system" response).

    And while it's only a few airports in the England which have the NoS, LHR and MAN are the only UK entry/transit points for flights from Australia and Asia. While EDI and NCL and STN are NoS-free, there are no direct flights there from my part of the world.

    Meanwhile, ZRH is completely NoS-free. ;)
  4. exbayern

    exbayern Original Member

    And in my case I am unable to use the scanners at all.

    Yet I have never been selected at English airports, which may be due to extremely perceptive screeners, or more likely due to the very low rate of screening. In all the times I have used English airports, I have only seen scanning once that I can recall, and that was one person. Add all the times I use UK airports, and I think that the overall incidence of scanning at UK airports was quite low indeed, and very very low as compared to US airports.

    And while there may be extreme complacency in England (witness the acceptance of CCTV), I only recall two reports of people refusing to be scanned and thus being denied access to their flight.
  5. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    I recognize that CCTV is on a continuum. It's on a continuum of state surveillance. I get that. But I'll tell you why CCTV has never bothered me as much as so many other intrusions that are going on. In public, I have no expectation of privacy. When I walk down the street, anyone can see me. Anyone can take a picture of me. Anyone can talk to me. And I think that's the way it should be. Because in that situation I'm in public, not private.

    I don't think CCTV is on the same level as wiretapping, computer snooping, irradiating, and groping.

    Heck, people are even complaining about EZ-Pass. If you don't want one, don't get one. I have one, I think it's great, and yes I know it means I can be tracked wherever I go. But so can my financial life be tracked by my using a credit card, by going to a store, by my bill payments, etc. Unless you live 100% off the grid in every way imaginable, you simply cannot avoid some "tracking" in the modern world. I'm willing to live with that. There are degrees to everything. And I think the degree of intrusion by CCTV, EZ-Pass, etc. pales to nothingness when compared with these other intrusions.
  6. exbayern

    exbayern Original Member

    Hm. stifle reports that there will not be opt out in the UK, even though somone received confirmation and even though it means that the UK would need to battle the EU on this one.

    I'm not certain what to believe, but I still think that chances are still very low of my being selected so will continue to fly (as well as train) to the UK. I do use many of the non-scanner airports as well.
  7. RadioGirl

    RadioGirl Original Member

    Manchester Evening News (and other sources) are reporting that Transport Secretary Justine Greening says (a) no opt outs, (b) threat is too high in UK to relax anything and (c) need NoS in all UK airports.​

    exbayern, I respect your decision but as someone who COULD stand in the scanner, sets off the WTMD and would have to fly to either LHR or MAN, the UK stays on my no-fly list. They may only be scanning a small number of passengers, but if people with metal implants are always some of that "small number" with no chance of opt out, I'm just not interested enough in the UK to risk it.​
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  8. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    ... which keeps the UK on our "no travel" list.
  9. RadioGirl

    RadioGirl Original Member

    I was using my Android tablet last night with limited editing capabilities. Some news coverage from the UK thumbing its nose at the EU rules (Google "Justine Greening" +"body scanner" for more):
    From the Manchester Evening News (22 November):

    From the Liverpool Daily Post (22 November):

    And the Guardian (21 November):

    Maybe some UK voters need to start writing letters...
  10. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Was that two minutes or three? Do you feel lucky, punk?

    The material RG quoted referenced European Parliament voting. Same question I asked before how binding is this? Were they voting on EU legislation or on what in the U.S. would be called a "non-binding resolution"?

    If Brussels puts some teeth into this, the UK will have no choice but to comply.
  11. RadioGirl

    RadioGirl Original Member

    Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. I am not a European. I'm definitely not a European lawyer. But I do have some experience with technical regulations.

    The EU document is here: (pdf warning) See what you think. My reading is that it repeatedly says "shall" (as in, "passengers shall be entitled to opt out from a security scanner") which indicates mandatory language.

    This is an amendment to the Annex of EU regulation 185/2010, (another pdf warning) which also appears to be mandatory. But again, IANAEL.

    Stifle's opinion, over at that Other Place, is that the UK position is illegal but that they'll get away with it until the European Commission and/or European Court of Justice take action (which could take years), or until passengers can show demonstrable damage and sue the airport operator or British government or take out an injunction. And since IANAEL, I'll leave it at that.
  12. exbayern

    exbayern Original Member

    12 people opting out, and 2 in the media, sounds about right.

    That to me displays apathy on the part of the travelling public, even if it means 'don't fly', because there are various options to avoid the scanners for most UK/Europe travellers (understanding that isn't a viable option for other travellers)

    The business of fear is quite strong in the UK, and Daphne du Maurier's USUK has been in existence for many years now.

    It's a little odd as in the 1970's and 1980's terrorism was certainly a viable threat in the UK as in much of the world, but fear didn't seem to be very common, at least not on the levels it appears to be today.
  13. Doober

    Doober Original Member

    Further, from the Guardian link:

    Apparently, allowing opt-outs would mean:

    Greening must be taking lessons from Nappy in how to be an (expletive deleted).
  14. exbayern

    exbayern Original Member

    The really sad thing is reading FT and even frequent flyers and crew who don't seem to have much of an issue with security theatre in the UK (not often posted on the security fora).

    I'm amazed at the complacency in a country once admired for standing up for itself.
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  15. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    One of the statements I've been posting at American sites for the past almost-two-years I guess I'll have to stop posting, as it looks like even the Brits have acquiesced:

    "If the British had behaved like this during the Blitz, they never would've gotten through it. Instead, they got up every morning, cleared the rubble, mourned their dead, and moved on."
  16. exbayern

    exbayern Original Member

    Lisa, that is exactly what I meant. Britain stood alone for a long time against the threat of invasion, from one of the largest world powers, at great cost to its people. In the 1970's and 1980's when terrorism was on the rise in Europe and in particular in the UK, there was still an attitude of 'we are tough, we can take it'. Now as the last generation who experienced WWII is dying out, and war nostaligia has started to take a downturn after a recent upswing, it is disheartening to see the collective attitude. Like the US, many in the UK seem to have bought into the industry of fear, and seem to have forgotten their recent past.

    Reading the BA forum is an eye-opener; there are rarely UK posters debating the scanner, or the liquid rules, and it seems like a lot of the responses are similar to the AFS crowd.

    It makes me very sad, and I fear that Germany has only protested as loudly as it has because our past includes the DDR years, not just the pre-war and war years. Once we move further and further away from 1989, we too may be complacent. Already some of my younger colleagues (even those who were born in Berlin, or the DDR), have forgotten what life was like in those years...
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  17. exbayern

    exbayern Original Member

    It may be a small step, but the BSX at LHR T5 is no more. (LHR uses both MMW and BSX) There wasn't an AIT at every terminal and/or connecting point at LHR, and now two of the machines are gone, so that is at least a small bit of good news, especially for those of you flying AA/BA. (Rare for me to use BA, haven't flown AA in over two decades)

    At LHR and LGW there is no terminal/lane which uses AIT as primary; in each case one is selected by some sort of scrutiny process. So someone with an artificial hip isn't going to automatically be scanned. (The AIT is not always/often in operation, either)

    MAN I believe is different in that at least one terminal is reported to use AIT in at least one lane as primary. I have not witnessed that although I don't use MAN very often.

    I appreciate that this may not change opinions here or decisions how to travel, but just wanted to give that small bit of credit where it is due. ANY loss of a BSX machine is positive news.
  18. N965VJ

    N965VJ Original Member

    I just heard today that crews are not exempt from the War On Water and subject to random searches. I'm not a fan of some animals being more equal than others, but come on, at least collectively push back at the stupidity. :rolleyes:
  19. Leave no trace

    Leave no trace Original Member

    Don't we have a right to water??
  20. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    Boy, have you hit on a favorite topic of mine.

    Water, water everywhere, but too few drops for all
    The most precious and dangerously threatened substance in a troubled world is not oil.
    May 11, 2003|By Lisa Simeone | Lisa Simeone,Special to the Sun

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