European Union Countries Ban X-Ray Scanners At Airports, Adopt New Guidelines for Body Scanners

By Paul Riegler on 15 November 2011
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The European Union adopted new guidelines on the use of body scanners at airport security checkpoints, Munich curbside checkin Lufthansawith an eye towards addressing privacy and safety concerns while deploying newer technologies.

Such scanners are in use in the United States and other countries but their deployment has been controversial both there and in Europe.

The new EU law does not require member states and airports to deploy security scanners but, if and when deployed, the scanners will have to comply with the new EU standards.  Scanners cannot store or copy passenger images and those operating the scanners must be in a room that is separate from the area where the scanning is taking place.    The use of X-ray technology is specifically prohibited for the scanners.

Passengers must be given an option to undergo an alternate screening method and cannot be required to use the body scanner.

Simi Kallas, the EU commissioner for transport, said that the new technology will only be used with “strict safeguards to protect health and fundamental rights.”  He added that they are not “a panacea but they do offer a real possibility to reinforce passenger security.”

Some countries, including Germany, have already gone on record that they will not use them. Tests conducted in Hamburg, Germany found that the scanners  reported far too many false positives.


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