European Parliament to agree use of "body scanners"?

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The European Parliament's Transport Committee is not going to use its powers to oppose the Commission's plans to introduce new airport security measures including body scanners (which strip people naked) because Commission Vice-president Tajani has told the Committee that the Commission intention is to allow the use of body scanners only as an additional option for the screening of passengers, not an obligation.

The measure was proposed in the Commission proposal for a Regulation on aviation security: full-text (pdf). As it is being considered as a "technical measure" falling within the powers of the Commission the European Parliament has either to accept or reject the whole proposal - which the Transport Committee is choosing not to do. The Commission's view is set out in a letter from Vice-President Tajani in a letter to Mr Costa, Chair of the Transport Committee: Tagani letter (pdf)

The Commission's position is a bit different from that taken in its: Third Report on the implementation of Regulation (EC) No. 2320/2002 establishing common rules in the field of civil aviation security (COM 582 dated 29 September 2008, pdf) which says:

"A number of trials have been progressed during 2007, involving the use of body scanners (millimetre wave and backscatter) and dogs. At the end of the trial period, the Commission will decide whether the new method should be included in EU legislation. It is highly likely that this will soon be the case for body scanning equipment, which is expected to considerably facilitate passenger flow through screening points as well as raising standards." (emphasis added)

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"The notion that the Commission's proposal for introducing "body scanners", which strip people naked, is OK because their use is only "optional" is irresponsible - all EU states could decide to exercise this option.

In an EU of "common values" and standards a proposal which would subject people including women, old people and children to such a shameful and undignified experience and that offends against proportionality, privacy and civil liberties should not be sanctioned anywhere."

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