Airport trials body scanner

Tue, Aug 30, 2011, 01:00

A full-body scanner is to be used on staff at Dublin Airport under plans to test the controversial security equipment.

Airport chiefs expect to use the walk-through device on a trial period for up to 18 months before potentially introducing them to passengers.

A Dublin Airport Authority spokeswoman said all airline staff and other workers will be invited to use the scanner, but it will not be compulsory.

“We actually are going to get one here on trial, but it won’t be for passengers,” she said.

“We’ll be testing one for staff around about the end of September.”

The European Parliament last month agreed body scanners should be allowed at EU
airports only if the health, dignity and privacy of passengers are protected.

The parliament said the images produced by the devices should be only “stick figures” and not full-body images. It also stated that all data must be destroyed after the person passes through it.

The scanner will initially be based in Terminal 1 and the spokeswoman stressed no body images will be displayed amid privacy fears.

“It certainly will not outline any specific minute details of anybody’s bodily features,” she said.

Concerns have been expressed about the potential health dangers of using airport scanners.

The European Parliament ruled scanners using ionising radiation should be prohibited in the EU.

A hospital consultant at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary in the UK was barred from boarding his flight at Manchester Airport earlier in the summer after he refused to use the scanner, claiming he could be exposed to X-rays.

The DAA described it as a “wave” scanner and not an X-ray, but said potential health concerns will be discussed with the manufacturers.

“They’re not mandatory or anything like that. They haven’t been decided at EU level that they should be,” the spokeswoman said.

“It is still a matter that will be decided by the Irish Government."

“But we ourselves are very much looking into it and we will more than likely
be trialing one here, but not for passengers.”

PA