An x-ray machine that sees through clothing is being trialled from today at Manchester Airport.

The authorities say it will speed up security checks by quickly revealing any concealed weapons or explosives. But the full body scans will also show up breast enlargements, body piercings and a clear black-and-white outline of passengers’ genitals.

The airport has stressed that the images are not pornographic and will be destroyed straight away.
Sarah Barrett, head of customer experience at the airport, said most passengers did not like the traditional “pat down” search.

At Manchester Airport’s Terminal 2, where the machine has been introduced, passengers will no longer have to remove their coats, shoes and belts as they go through security checks. During the twelve month trial passengers at Manchester can volunteer to go through the “human x-ray” or opt for a hand search.

Ms Barrett said, “This technology offers a potential alternative but we know that some people see it as controversial. That’s why we are running a trial.”

One important aspect in the way the system is now operated compared with earlier trials at Heathrow five years ago; is that the passenger’s body image is anonymous. The staff member who monitors the x-ray cannot see the actual individual whose image comes up on screen.

Ms Barrett confirmed “The image is viewed by a highly trained security officer who is sitting in a remote location in the airport. “They are not sitting in the search area and they can’t link the image to the individual.”

If passengers accept the new machinery it may be introduced at all British airports in future.

What are you views on these new security machines?

Would you be willing to go through the machine to sped up the queue and avoid the traditional “pat down” search?

Let us know your thoughts…

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