It seems the political leaders are drinking some sort of drink to believe everything, with the Secretary of State for Transport Justine Greening coming out and saying that more scanners should be deployed, a lack of opt-out (scanning to remain compulsory for those selected), and for scans that are conducted to be reviewed by machine, rather than by humans.
It seems the UK wishes to go it’s own way from the European Union again, in relation to deploying more scanners (which the EU said no until further tests are carried out to determine the safety of the scanners) – whilst Ms Greening states that she
“will consider it carefully before making decisions about which technologies should be deployed at UK airports in future”
So expect little change on that front then.
In relation to the clause to opt out and have a manual scan, Ms Greening has played the “safety” card stating:
“[she] aware that the proposals recently agreed by the European Parliament include the right for passengers to request an opt out from scanning”
“Given the security arguments against permitting such an opt-out, and the threat level that exists in the UK, the Government intends to use its powers under the Aviation Security Act to maintain the current position. Those passengers selected for scanning will therefore not be able to fly if they are not willing to be scanned”
Ms Greening states that she did not believe a pat-down search is equivalent in security terms to a security scan, and a full private searches would “likely to represent a greater intrusion of privacy than a security scan”, as well as proving “operationally disruptive to airports and other passengers”.
So there’s another finger at the EU notice then.
Ms Greening states a total of 12 passenger refusals have been logged from 1 million scans. Note that there have been no notifications of objections to scans or scans taken under duress as this would had prevented travel. So yes, you can bet there’s massaging in those numbers too.
In relation to the matter of reviewing the images, Ms Greening states that software that will analyse images is in development which means no human eye would see the image again. Note that nothing was mentioned about image retention, comparisons or sources of images. And it being a government IT project, it’ll be delayed and over budget.
For those who really want to read the political spiel from Whitehall, head to http://www.dft.gov.uk/news/statements/greening-20111121 for your dry as dishwater comment from the horses mouth, but it seems our political masters are doing this “for our safety”.
Exactly who’s safety… I’m not sure.
Once again, this just stinks of “security theatre” with dressing on the top, and little down the bottom.