Manchester Airport’s RapiScan Will Not Nudify Kids – Over 18’s Will Get Naked Snaps

Manc Xray FemaleYou’ve probably heard about the X-ray machine that produces ‘naked’ images of passengers being trialled at Manchester Airport.

Just in case you haven’t the scanner is to snoop out hidden terrorism-style object but will also show up any breast enlargements, false limbs, piercings, and a clear outline of passengers’ naughty bits.

However fears have been raised that the Rapiscan Secure 1000, which has the aesthetics of a large filing cabinet, may not be safe for women in the early stages of pregnancy or children.

Other travellers might not want to be scanned because of the graphic nature of the images, bosses admit.

Passengers can refuse to undergo the virtual strip search at Terminal 2, opting for the traditional ‘pat down’ if they prefer the more hands-on search.

However airport chiefs say the black and white image will only be seen by a single officer in a remote location before it is deleted.

The X-Rays penetrate one-tenth of an inch into the body, enough to detect any devices or drugs hidden just under the skin.

My background working in Medical Imaging within the NHS leads me to agree with Dr Sarah Burnett, who works as an independent radiologist in London. She raised concerns about the safety of the device saying: “The machines are referred to as ‘low-dose’, but there is a school of thought that there is no ‘safe’ radiation dose,” who has had 15 years’ experience working in the NHS.

The other stumbling block for the new Rapiscan scanner is that Action on Rights for Children (ARCH) raised concerns with Manchester Airport that the images breach the Protection of Children Act.

Until the issue is sorted out, the X-ray scanning will only be used on people over the age of 18 – and, as before, only on those who volunteer.

The trial is set to begin in two weeks, so no images have yet been taken.

A spokeswoman for Manchester Airport said the issue fell into a “grey area” legally. She said the airport was working with the appropriate agencies to sort out the issue by the time the trial goes live, but admitted they “may not ever have children using it.”

“The problem is one of law. It’s portrayed in some ways as some kind of pedophile hysteria. It’s not, it’s a rule of law issue,” she said, explaining that taking indecent photos of children was illegal regardless of the use, even with parental consent. “The law does not allow the use of these images because they produce indecent images.”

“The member of staff on the scanner is committing a quite serious criminal offence. It’s not right to ask employees to do that,” she added.

So – what’s stopping potential terrorists or drug smugglers using under 18’s for their dirty work? I understand that this is a tricky problem with protecting kiddies on one side and also ensuring that nothing gets through customs that shouldn’t.

What would your solution be?

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