Following a security incident on Christmas Day on a flight to Detroit, the aviation industry and their respective governments have discussed the implementation of additional security measures.
Manchester Airport has been conducting trials of “imaging technology” (also known as security scanners) in Terminal 2 since the end of 2009, feedback from our customers has been overwhelmingly supportive and Manchester Airport has now extended this enhanced security measure to Terminal 1, a view whether this will be further extended to Terminal 3 will be taken in the coming months as we continue to seek and re-act to Customer feedback.
Please note: From the 1st February 2010, additional Government legislation came into operation at this airport, which states that any passenger who refuses to use the scanner will be denied travel.
How does it work?
Imaging technology (Rapiscan Systems' Secure 1000 Single Pose) works by bouncing x-rays off an individual's skin to produce an outline image of the person's body, which is then used to detect concealed, potentially dangerous objects.
This image is transmitted to a remote security officer who has no visual or verbal contact with the area where the imaging machine is located. The security officer viewing the image then electronically confirms if the passenger can proceed or whether a search is required.
The process is entirely anonymous. We can assure you that contrary to popular misconception, imaging technology does not allow security staff to see you naked. The video below shows how the process takes place:
Will you be able to recognise me from my image?
The image produced is a black and white, ghost-like outline of an individual's body without any distinguishing features such as hair or facial features, making it impossible to recognise people but simple to detect concealed threats.
How can you guarantee my privacy?
Images are transmitted to a standalone computer where they cannot be stored or captured after the passenger volunteer has passed through the imaging technology.
All security staff involved in the operation of the imaging technology trial will be prohibited from carrying mobile phones or cameras. To enforce this, every member of staff will be searched before beginning their shift.
Is it safe?
The equipment is approved by the Health Protection Agency. Each full body scan of the Secure 1000 produces approximately 3 microREMs of emission. This is equivalent to the exposure every person receives each five minutes from naturally occurring background environmental radioactivity.
Isn't it illegal to make an image of a child?
On Friday 29th January 2010, the Department for Transport issued a directive under the Aviation Security Act 1982 relating to Body Scanners. This relates to Heathrow Airport in Terminal 4 and Manchester Airport in Terminal 2 where the scanners are currently in operation. Any selected passenger, including under 18s, who refuses to use the scanner will be denied travel.
Will Children be forced to use the Scanner?
The use of Body Scanners is compatible with the Protection of Children Act 1978 and we are confident the introduction of these scanners is a proportionate and necessary step in enhancing security for passengers.
The Government directive authorising the use of body scanners by airports does not exempt children because this would undermine the effectiveness of these new security measures.
All Airport staff viewing the images will have already undergone a criminal record check which includes checking for offences against children.
Do I have a choice?
If a passenger, once selected for a body scan refuses, they will not be permitted to travel – this may seem harsh but our overriding concern is the safety of passengers and staff alike. Security staff operating the body scanner are able to answer any questions or concerns that you may have about the process so please don’t be afraid to ask.
Will I be exempt on religious grounds?
All passengers, if selected, must use the body scanner in order to be allowed into the departure lounge.
Who will see the image?
Only the security guard screening the image and it is deleted as soon as it is screened. The security officer viewing the images will be prevented from carrying mobile phones, cameras or any other recording device.
What if I want my image viewed by someone of my sex?
Passengers modesty and privacy is protected by extensive safeguards – for example the person viewing the image will not be able to see the person being screened.