EHRC letter – Body scanners in UK airports
The Equality and Human Rights Commission in the UK has warned the UK Government that the use of body scanners at UK airports may not be lawful. The Commission, in a letter to the Secretary of State for Transport, Lord Adonis, outlined its concerns that the use of the scanners may be discriminatory, and may contravene the right to privacy. Moreover, the absence of a strict policy on how passengers are selected for scanning and the lack of a monitoring system is cause for concern.
A further problematic aspect of the scanners which was not addressed in the letter is the vetting process for those persons observing the images. In addition, stringent safeguards are necessary as to the destruction of the images after screening. Given that the Minister for Justice, Dermot Ahern, has expressed his support for such a counter-terrorism tactic, it is crucial that these issues are addressed before any equivalent policies are introduced in Irish airports.