back to article Airport rethinks strip-scanner for kids

Manchester Airport will be taking legal advice on proposals to send children through its new X-ray scanners. This is a change from its position, reported in The Register yesterday, that they did not believe the images created by the new scanning technology (the slightly unfortunately named Rapiscan) would fall foul of child …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    when they deem it unsuitable for children...

    ... can adults then claim that they themselves have defined it as making "Indecent" images, so why should they be allowed to make "Indecent" images of adults?

  2. jabuzz

    Radiation Protection

    What I want to know is what are the radiation protection issues surrounding this. You simply don't get to dose people like this without *REALLY* good reason, and speeding up a security scan does not fit the bill.

    So apart from making potentially indecent images, there are far more important reasons of safety to be very wary of letting anyone, especially children through it.

  3. exit...quit...bye...quitbye.ctrl-C..ctrlX.ctrl-alt-X...aarrrr*slam*

    Is it a good sign?

    Is it a good sign I have no idea which "certain form of NSFW art" is meant with raising arms to a near salute?

    I think it is.

    Envy me, those who know! ;)

  4. Andy Enderby 1


    ".....they did not believe the images created by the new scanning technology (the slightly unfortunately named Rapiscan) would fall foul of child pornography laws, because they use X-rays and therefore "they do not make an image."

    This is a use of an imaging technology, that is an image on a screen right ? Fetch the clue by four.

    How long until failure to turn up at the terminal starkers, with no luggage of any description, (although you'll still be allowed to shop 'til you drop at the terminal of course) will be grounds for being denied your flight eh ?

    The terrorists won, albeit only with the assistance of our "beloved" political leaders, they've made travel by air an ever increasing pain in the arse.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "All Manchester security staff are security and CRB-checked to the highest level." And we all know what those are worth don't we *points out two recent nursery workers* paedophiles don't come with signs.

    The situation has nothing to do with intent, seen as the crime is "strict liability" the fact that the images are for security purposes means very little, just as if the image is to convert into fairies for the parents to put on their wall. Even having parental permission is meaningless.

    Manchester airport can't allow under 18s to go through the scanner without getting concrete guarantees and quite likely a reworking of the law not to be so fucking stupid.

    Otherwise they're putting their staff in the line of fire.

    The irony is they can pat down, and I suspect if it is moved to the next level a more in depth search could be performed and as long as there were no images it wouldn't be a crime.

    Sadly the law is broken, protects nobody, and puts a large number of people at risk of prosecution.

    It isn't the only example of stupidity, the new vetting process, the child minding laws (that have required rewriting, which interestingly I think will be at odds with the vetting law), various pornography laws and proposed rewriting of laws to include the rights of drawings and, ecrb checks (where rumour can be used to refuse jobs.)

    None of which will help children and all of which will find innocent people in prison or denied work.

    Because as I said before people that hurt children often seem completely normal, and are the kind of person you'd trust with you kid.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    ... a pose that devotees of a certain form of NSFW art ...

    I thought i was fairly knowledgeable when it came to NSFW art, but the only thing that springs to mind is the vitruvian man.

    But.. that can't be it, can it ?

    Or does it have anything to do with Poser ?

    (Paris, because she would know)

    As for the Manchester policy now.. it is touch but don't look ?

    Yeah, this'll work.

  7. dunncha
    Thumb Up

    Does this mean...

    That all the female operators at Manchester Airport will be still be able to look at my willie.

    Thank goodness for that

  8. Mike007 Bronze badge

    CRB checked?

    sort of like those people currently plastered all over the newspapers, who were also "CRB checked to the highest level"?

  9. Wibble
    Thumb Down

    What about adults?

    Not sure I feel comfortable having my privacy invaded in such an intrusive way.

    At least if they're patting you down you can slap them.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    It may seem stupid but

    rather than checking with self-rightious charities, Manchester Airport should check with oh I dont know - maybe the police or hell, people that study the law for a living... just a thought

  11. John Robson Silver badge


    Oh ffs - can I object to being made a porn star then?

  12. D Moss Esq

    Wisdom, confusion and magic.

    Congratulations for getting a response at all and, in this case, for getting it so quickly.

    It's a nice example, I think, of confusion. The confusion of "the authorities".

    The authorities are super-sensitive, as you say, to paedophilia. That guides a lot of their decisions, most recently the ridiculous vetting and barring scheme of the Independent Safeguarding Authority, based on the useless magic of psychometrics.

    And the authorities are super-sensitive to security issues. Tat guides a lot of their other decisions, such as the ridiculous National Identity Scheme, based on the useless magic of biometrics.

    The authorities can limp along with a sort of internal consistency as long as there is no clash between their senior objectives. But here, in the case of the Manchester X-ray scheme, there is a resounding clash. Thus their quick reaction and their willingness to re-think, or at least to discuss, the matter, an extraordinarily rare event.

    What the authorities need, of course, is some over-arching understanding of their role and of society and of individuals. They don't have one. Without that wisdom, they are headless chickens suddenly thrown into confusion.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Only children?

    What about the rights of adults? The compulsory use of these machines in airports or anywhere else is an outright fucking disgrace and needs to be challenged at every possible level.

  14. NickFitz


    "...we have ourselves been in touch with charities working in this area to take further advice" - WTF? How about consulting a lawyer?

  15. SmallYellowFuzzyDuck, how pweety!

    Title goes here

    So this is what happens when the Surveillance State and Political Correctness collide.

    Ha ha! When a child walks into it, it will just go into meltdown

    "System error: Looking at a naked child makes the operator a pedo"

    "System error: But wait, the child could be a terrorist!"

    Then it will go into this infinite loop of these two commands until the machine catches fire and melts.

    Love it!

  16. seanj

    Won't somebody think of the adults?

    If these images are in fact classed as pornographic in the case of a child, then surely they'd be classed as pornographic in the case of an adult.

    Therefore these could never be made mandatory as you can't force someone to agree to pose for a pornographic image - that's trafficking, my Home Office Nazi-Types!

  17. mariushm

    Security show

    Excellent, now we can use duct tape to stick razor blades and knives to our kids' bodies and bomb liquids in plastic bags (perfusion like) and they won't be checked because they're shy and worried some random person behind a screen will see their fat body or their wee-wee..

    All these checks are just for show and people shouldn't stand for it...

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    What short memories they have...

    Not even a month ago.

    This proposal just is not sufficient.

    There's really no alternative but to insist on a barium meal and full abdominal x-ray for every passenger, preferably a full internal examination, before every flight. Why would you object? Are you a terrorist or something?

  19. Anonymous Coward

    a certain form of NSFW art

    yes, please do tell, i feel left out now, like i'm missing something from my life...

    i'm not sure if it was just a euphemism for porn in general, or if it's something more esoteric like gymnast porn, or maybe it's just one of those "human statue" things done naked?

    enquiring minds want to know

  20. Chris Collins

    Is it art?

    It's Gilbert and George, isn't it? That one made of poo.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    CRB Check == They haven't caught you yet.

    CRBs are such a waste of time. Poor understanding by the public has lead to believe that if you have passed a CRB check you are 'safe' to work with children, when they mean no such thing.

    Likewise if you fail, even if it is only because of unfounded and unproved accusations, you must by a paedophile.


  22. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse
    Thumb Down


    "Our only interest is in making sure all passengers get on the plane safely."

    What a pile of crock. Surely the interest is making sure that nobody gets on the flight with a bomb or other portable instrument of death. If the interest was making sure everybody get on the flight safely then it must be cheaper to simply give them feather lined padded jackets and orders to avoid all eating at any of the fucking awful departure lounge restaurants.

  23. LuMan

    @ jeremy 3

    Bloody good point. If the term 'indecent' or 'pornographic' in relation to minors is relative to 'posing' then the model MUST have been based on the adult form in such positions. So, to this end, making an X-Ray image* of anybody in the required position - young, old, or otherwise - HAS to be deemed as pornographic.

    Scrap the machine and implement something that doesn't remove passengers' human rights and dignity.

    *Not an image? - how the hell does the person who claimed that remember to breathe ffs!!

  24. Alex Walsh


    They're now adding insult to injury by discriminating on the basis of age.

  25. Steve 13
    Thumb Down

    Security Checked

    To the highest level? All the security staff are checked to DV are they? I suspect not.

  26. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Invitation to Drug Smugglers etc

    By stating that under 18's won't be scanned this way, I'm sure those running Drug Mules will be frantically recruiting more under 18's now that their 'little packages' will be safe from these pesky X-Rays.

    Fail for obvious reasons.

  27. Mitch Russell
    Thumb Up

    Deep in-country on the other side of the pond

    Tulsa, Oklahoma is scanning everyone with this equipment. I just passed through Saturday.

  28. mmiied


    I suspect it related to a mister max mosley or somone of that sort

  29. Anonymous Coward

    oh for fucks sake (yes, I wanted to say it, not acronym it)

    Get a grip...

    So everyone who will view these pictures is a pedo, eh....?!

    Great - Thanks Labour for making what used to be a great country now scared shitless in fear of everything bad.

    Ney-sayers = FAIL

  30. Eddie Edwards
    Thumb Up


    How about flying from Liverpool?

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not an image?

    Obviously they mean "not an image within the terms of the something-and-something Act".

    If you look at something while wearing glasses then you are viewing an "image" (a "virtual image", to be precise) within the terms of optics as taught in O level physics when I was at school, but that's hardly likely to be relevant here, is it?

    I've no idea what the Act says but I expect it defines its terms and I expect it doesn't include virtual images formed by spectacles and I wouldn't be surprised if it excludes CCTV and the like.

  32. SuperTim
    Thumb Up

    Do do do do-dooooo I'm lovin' it!

    You could have a right laugh at that machine. You write messages on your body with those silver pen things and they would show up on the scanner. Brilliant!

  33. Vincent Ballard

    Tinfoil underwear

    Has anyone solved the challenges of making underwear opaque to X-rays but not uncomfortable, and if so where might I buy it?

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @oh for fucks sake

    "So everyone who will view these pictures is a pedo, eh....?!"

    In law, yes.

    What we're seeing here is two dumb laws colliding in a vacuum. Whichever gets messed up is fine with most people. Watching them duke it out is rather like Dave Lister and his boxing video.

  35. Anonymous Coward

    No Brainer

    think of it if it was the other way round.

    instead of going through the scanner which quickly shows an operator something which some people might think is rude they propose that they are going to take longer to physically feel up your child in front of you. I wouldn't like that to happen and it's also less certain of bringing up results so may result in a strip search.

    You'd take the x-ray every time.

    Those that are complaining about it are either luddites/prudes or are law nerds who don't care about if it's reasonable but if it breaks some law. A law which the current government probably came up with so you know was never thought through properly.

  36. Ross 7

    Pedo = criminal, but criminal != pedo

    Slight correction - the machine doesn't make anyone a "pedo". That implies that they love children (in an improper sense I presume). It does however make them a criminal, thanks to NuLabs affinity for strict liability offences.

    Basically one of Tonys (wifes?) mates said "oh noes, getting convictions is taking up too much of my golf/bar/"massage" time, 'cause I'm having to work to prove intent!". Tony then discovered strict liability offences and now mens rea is out the window and the police and CPS have an easy job of it as they only need to prove that an action took place (or didn't, depending on the offence).

    Now it's come back to bite them - I'd laugh if it wasn't so retarded.

    Making it worse is the CPS holding possible charges over people so that their overlords can apply pressure when they want. A prime example being the assisted suicide issue. They won't change the legislation as that removes power they currently wield. No, they tell the CPS not to prosecute unless they don't like the person for some reason.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Not an image?

    The coroners criminal bill thing when it goes through spreads the definition of an image pretty thin to catch as many things as possible.

    I wouldn't work on a scanner for the risk of becoming a paedophile in the eyes of the law.

  38. James Micallef Silver badge

    So many things wrong with this....

    A scan would just show an image of a naked person. This in itself is NOT indecent or pornographic, whatever the age of the person. At the same time, its a gross invasion of privacy for all who pass though, and once again there's no difference whether that person is 10 or 40.

    The focus is completely on the wrong thing, ie that the scanner is not needed at all. Unless every single airport employee goes through one, and every single piece of equipment going in and out of an airport secure area is as thoroughly checked (which is impossible), then the whole thing is just an added inconvenience and cost

  39. Anonymous Coward

    Since when was it safe to X-Ray people?

    Since when was it safe to X-Ray people - Let alone children! Ionising radiation has no safe dosage. It's all a matter of probability. Sure it's a low dose, but maybe it's enough to give you cancer.

  40. Chris Bradshaw
    Paris Hilton

    So don't show the 'body' image

    Just have the monitor background be white, (or the same as the flesh color), so it shows the non-fleshy bits (belt buckle, pen, AK47) while making the body shape (almost) invisible.

    And, frankly, given the choice between someone seeing an outline of a child's body (incl naughty bits) and someone patting said child down (incl naughty bits), the outline is a smaller risk.

    Paris - because of the naughty bits...

  41. A J Stiles

    @ AC 14:24

    Er, no. It's a real image, which is being projected onto your retina.

    Virtual images are formed by rays of light coming apart, appearing to have come from somewhere other than where they actually came from, and so can't be projected onto a screen.

  42. M Room
    Thumb Up

    Get a Life People

    If and when I fly, I want to get to the correct (as advertised) destination of the flight and I want to arrive alive.

    What possible time would those viewing the screen (which is remote from the individual) have to get into a pedo mood. All their concentration would be on identifying items that could be of danger to the aircraft, passengers or crew.

    I agree that any form of child abuse is abhorrent but It really is time that people stop over-reacting.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Our only interest is in making sure all passengers get on the plane safely."

    Bollocks - your only interest is forcing people to arrive at the terminal three hours before departure and delaying gate announcements to the last minute to maximise the time passengers spend in the shops* and restaurants.

    * Anyone else noticed that airport branches of Dixons are even crappier than the ones in the High Street?

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Feel for the kids

    The image is not an x-ray image, but converted into visible light for viewing. It is an image.

    If images of naked kids are indecent, then so are naked images of adults. Nude people are not indecent.

    So if they can't view pictures of naked kids, then feeling them up is OK?

    The law is an arse.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @James Micallef

    No there are two very different things here

    1) the fact that many laws made/amended from moral panics are stupid and badly thought out.

    2) do you think it's invading your privacy blah blah blah

    1 = a sad but true fact of media driven democracy. However this is an interesting example. Saying "well it's better then blah" or "it isn't the point what about adults" completely misses the point, that being that it doesn't matter because it is possible that a scanner operator becomes a criminal by generating/viewing an image of an under 18 year old on the scanner.

    2= you actually have a choice you can get patted down/told to strip or you can stand in a machine, your choice. But you'd be pretty stupid to pass up quick and easy or potentially long and very embarrassing. There are random stops and where they think you're dodgy.

  46. Anonymous Coward

    "a certain form of NSFW art"

    That sounds vaguely familiar - I remember reading something about "standard slave positions" on a BDSM enthusiast website, all with various silly names.

    The idea seems to be that the "master" says the name of the position, and the "slave" adopts it; with a host of distinct possibilities depending on whether you're wanting clear display of certain body parts, conveniently prominent whippable areas etc. etc.

    Or it could be something completely different - I'm meant to be working, so not searching for it now.

    Whatever the case, it will be going through my mind if I'm ever the target of one of these scanning machines - which might help the image be that little bit more impressive. Clouds, silver linings, etc.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Strip now!

    For anybody in favour of this unnecessary system, ask yourself this: would it be reasonable to expect every passenger (if time was available) to enter a private room, with a security operator behind one-way glass, and then be asked to strip naked?

    Think about it, every person, every flight. Still think this is a good idea? Throw in some low dose radiation for good measure and you've also got an experiment on the masses. Sure it might be OK, probably fine, but what if...

    Sure strip searches are OK where there is reasonable cause to do one, but it is degrading and intrusive for *every single* passenger, whether child or adult.

    Paris, because even she would find this demeaning...

  48. HFoster

    Again with the X-ray question

    I'm still baffled how the laws of physics have taken a battering in this debate - since when have skin and muscle been radio opaque? If the scanner uses X-rays, it won't be able to generate an actually indecent image. Not unless SKELETONS are now deemed indecent. Or they're bullshitting and not actually using X-rays.

    Which does Occam's razor shave the least?

  49. Vladimir Plouzhnikov


    Even theoretically no child can be harmed by this (I'm not talking about x-rays) even if the entire airport security is staffed by paedophiles and child molesters.

    Even if every last one of the images will be published on the internet - how can it possibly harm any particular child? How can you tell who is on the picture - you don't even see the face. And the subject of the snapshot will never possibly know if that's him or her in the image and if anyone is wanking while looking at it.

    But now, because of the "think of the childrens" lot this type of scanner will probably be ditched and *I* will have to continue to go through the stupid charade of pointless undressing and turning out my pockets to satisfy some control-freak at the security check!

    Verily, my hatred of unthinking bigots is growing more personal by the minute...

  50. Anonymous Coward

    I'll never be surprised by the uselessness of state

    All herald, the new terrorist era of the "child bomb".

  51. VulcanV5

    Gawd's sakes, give it a rest will you?

    All this blah-ing on about rights and what have you has nowt to do with what's happening at Manchester.

    The new scanners are there to educate passengers in the error of their ways and stop them being so hostile.

    Though I like many have long contended that flying from or into Manchester Airport is a right pain in the arse, the scanner will show that we're actually all suffering from hemorrhoids.

    I admit, that's going to undermine my argument, but on the upside I can now request visual proof every time I get into a dispute with snooty immigration control officers about whether or not they're all dickheads.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Get a Life people

    "All their concentration would be on identifying items that could be of danger to the aircraft, passengers or crew."

    Clearly you haven't worked with security guards. Doing their jobs right is never a high priority when they can look like they're working by sitting still.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why not employ paedophiles for the system?

    OK, there'd be some loss of productivity for regular wank breaks; but you could guarantee they'd be paying attention. And it'd be cost-effective....they'd probably pay to do it.

  54. Anonymous Coward

    A Perfect Storm

    This is a perfect storm, isn't it? At last the War on Terror and the Paedogeddon meet head-on in a gloriously contradictory little furore. Gotta laugh.

    It's going to be interesting watching how the government and police squirm out of this one. Are they really going to try and convince us all that an 'image' in this case is not, in fact, an 'image' - and so therefore it will fine to photograph nude kids at airports on a daily basis? And by the way, 2+2=5, okay?

    John Ozimek is correct to point out that definitions of 'indecent' remain wildly open to interpretation - especially in British courts (where interpretations of 'indecent' win out many, many more times than not). Convictions have been secured on images involving no nudity and certainly no 'pornography'.

    The triumph of children's 'charidees', with years of scaremongering and misdirection to their credit, is to turn all of us adults into child-fearing cowards. When it comes to other people's children we've all been there: We ignore them, we don't stare, we take little interest, we don't compliment and we certainly don't chastise. We don't get involved and we maintain a certain indifference. We stay safe, in other words. Above suspicion, because now we are all suspects.

    And this is the mark of a 'healthy', progressive society..?

  55. Anonymous Coward


    If I write "look at the size of my wang" in lead paint on my chest will it show up?

  56. Neil Lucock

    What a terrible job

    We ought to consider what effect having to look at naked people (of all ages and types) would have on a normal person. If looking at naked children makes you dangerous to society (and the law locks you up), what does doing that as a job do to an ordinary person?

    All that will happen is some scanner operator will claim that it affected them and go off sick with stress. Once the operators claim it affects their personalities, the lawyers will flock round with compensation claim forms. Lawyers made this mess, we need to set them at each other's throats to end it.

  57. Darren Lingham 1

    X-rays? wfT?

    I don't know why people keep going on about x-rays and radiation. The technology this uses is in the millimetre band of the spectrum (hence the usual name, millimetre wave technology). They are short wave microwaves and *completely* non-ionising and entirely safe to use.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Straw for the camels backs

    This is just another thing to be pushed out onto the public, no concern about safe levels of x-rays - there are reasons that the staff in the xray department hide behind their shield- and when the media are paid to pump out the message "everyone else puts up with it", will be another thing those that have to fly will have to endure.

    I'll add it to the list of other stuff that the 'great' british public have bent over and swallowed:

    Poll tax

    Chip and pin cards


    digital tv

    broadband tax

  59. Richard Porter

    "All Manchester security staff are security and CRB-checked to the highest level."

    Oh, so they haven't been caught yet then? Given that some child abuse trials occur 40 years after the crime that's a lot of comfort.

    And aren't these machines similar to those that used to be used to view children's feet inside their shoes? They were banned bacause of the danger of repeated exposure to X-rays.

  60. Tom 106


    There are very serious reasons as to why airports etc are now having to resort to this type of technology.

    If it is decided that certain sections of society can be opted out of the scanning because of their age, race, religion, sex, status then the who point of scanning fails, and therefore it should be totally scrapped.

    Every person passing through Airport Control including Government personnel and alike should be subject to the scanning and vigorous security checks. After all, it is for everybody's safety and peace of mind when flying.

    Furthermore, if no one becomes exempt from the scanning, then the likelihood of anyone attempting to carry anything illegal onto a plane, because they will be apprehended before boarding.

  61. Mark Wooldridge

    @AC ... Paint

    Best comment yet... Made me redecorate my computer with Coffee flavoured hot water.

  62. Robert Hill
    Thumb Up

    @Ross 7

    Ross, you've hit the nail on the head - the problem isn't about this, it's about a generation of legisislation that removes intent and subsitutes specific actions that make the accused a criminal. Probably the most thought provoking thing I have read all day was your comment, and that includes the entire NYT and CNN sites for today. It is something I would like the media to write about more, as it is possiblyi a severe encroachment on liberties.

    As a VERY frequent flier for most of my life, I WANT these machines - far easier to step through one of these "invasive" machines than to have to remove my belt, footwear, pens, change, mobiles, etc (although I perhaps mobiles will still have to be removed). These machines are a HUGE step forward towards eliminating the ridiculous lines at security, and are harder to beat than a metal detector, making planes safer.

    And for those debating whether these form an "image", it's about as much an image as an x-ray. I also think that like anything else, too much exposure (like viewing thousands of people per day) will render ANY images non-pornographic or even mildly exciting for the security guards...

  63. b166er

    What this bit for?

    'our only interest is in making sure all passengers get on the plane safely.'

    Call me old fashioned, but if they're to have only one interest, I'd rather it was that I got safely OFF the plane!

  64. Anonymous Coward


    I don't care if kids get scanned at airports, although I expect an increase in deadly Action Man and GI Joe weaponry to make it on board after a successful clamp down on these tools of terrorism.

    What bothers me is how stupid the public are if they believe new child porn thought crime laws have a purpose beyond making up crimes to attack those our wimpy MPs would *like* to put in prison.

    The Thatcher years brought an end to most of the small amount of democracy this country possessed, and unfortunately rather than undo what we can now view as a fairly modest assault on civil rights, Labour has made huge strides to bring about their own version of 1984.

    When this became a manual as opposed to a warning I have no idea, but sometime around Sept 11, 2001 seems likely.

    Normally I'd leap up and down in joy when some useless but invasive technology is brought down by the government's own stupidity, but if the porn producing x-ray box has been taken out, there exists the possibility that useful security equipment might also fall foul of increasingly retarded lawmaking.

    If Labour succeeds in next year's election, I wouldn't be surprised to see a new "makes me feel uncomfortable" bill worm it's way through Parliament, making it illegal to talk to strangers in lifts, make someone jump by approaching from behind too quietly or be in any way introverted or shy.

    Laws banning "being mean to children and over-sensitive adults" will presumably follow.

    It's as if most of the population has been replaced by Americans, those politically correct, spineless pussies who run crying to mommy if you say mean words to them or show them a nipple on TV.

    I suppose we should be thankful the worst threat to our society right now is a bunch of homeless crusties the media calls Al Qaeda, instead of something that might fight it's way out of a wet paper bag. Should a threat on the scale of a 5-yr old girl menace this country, we'd be in big trouble if we're too afraid to see if suicide bombers come in fun-sized packaging.

  65. Anonymous Coward

    Tin foil underwear...

    I don't know about tin foil but as somebody who would be wearing an adult diaper when I pass through security, I can't help but wonder if that will obscure their x-ray and what the outcome will be when I first encounter one of these machines!

    "Excuse me, Sir, but we can't quite see your meat and two veg. This way please..."

    <sound of glove smacking against skin>

  66. John Ozimek

    NSFW Art


    Was going to give a lengthy explanation explaining all this from photography and drama. Point out how raising hands above shoulder level is always exceptional, and often causes dramatic effect - whilst placing one or both hands behind the head is pretty staple (along with pouty lips and semi-dazed eyes) soft porn fare.

    And yes...whoever mentioned the bdsm Master/slave sort of imagery more or less got it right. Whilst hands behind head and out of alignment with the perpendicular tends to be erotic, hands up and behind head in a squared off pose tends to connote passivity. is also possible to read almost anything into anything, as this clip suggests:

    Anyway...the inclusion of the term "erotic posing" in the indecency definition has always struck me as mildly odd, given what some folks will find erotic.</p>

    Although I have to say, Ive never been a fan of salmon-pink for suits.

  67. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Xrays and dosage

    First of the system doesn't use Xrays, it uses millimeter waves. Different frequencies and supposedly safer since they don't penetrate as deep.

    Secondly, the dosage. You get many times the dosage of radiation actually taking the flight than during a scan. You would have to be scanned hundreds of times to match the dose you get in flight from gamma rays.

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    This article has made my day. We just need to raise awareness; tell teenage girls and boys to pose sexually when being scanned, which will guarantee an indecent image of a child is made.

  69. Anonymous Coward

    Simple solution.....

    Make an exception for airport security and Just x-ray everyone regardless of age. If it can't be done legally for airport security then all forms of x-ray (and other forms of scan that produce images) for medical purposes should be banned where the patient is under 18, in case the person analyzing the image is a bit of a pedophile.

  70. Ymbspraec

    Hope this is interesting...

    The device seems to work by scanning an x-ray spot of about 10 - 20 square mm and 50 keV across the subject in about 10 s. Compton back-scattered radiation - a very tiny fraction of the incident beam - is then recorded by detectors facing the object. The detectors are probably quite large, and may not need to be position-sensitive, since the signal can be correlated with the spot position to recreate the image.

    And of course it's an image, and the Rapican site says these images may be saved or discarded.

    The integrated dose is quite low at about 0.1 microSv, compared to natural background of about 2 microSv/hr. However, for subject of about 1 square metre area, scanned in 10 s, the spot dwell time is about 0.1 ms, so the instantaneous dose-rate is about a million times higher than background.

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Persuaded I am not

    Claiming they're not making an image was a bit of a brain dead excuse wasn't it? If I was trying to find an argument to allow these things, I'd try saying that the images they make are not indecent. At least that one stands up to more than a few seconds of examination.

    So what does that tell us about the people pushing these things?

    1) They're so keen on these things that they consider any excuse is worth using, even a transparently false one.

    2) So either they're brain dead idiots or completely untrustworthy.

    3) Their morals are such that they'd be quite happy making indecent representations of children so long as they didn't fall withing the strict definition of "images" set out in law.

    Given that pedigree, I think it's valid to question whether these things are useful, whether they are safe, and whether the claim that the non-images will not be saved is even remotely convincing. I'd also like to know a lot more about how they vet the people who view the non-images.

    And I'd like the answers to come from someone independent.

  72. Eddie Johnson

    Just a minor detail but...

    "As far as Manchester airport is concerned, we are not in the business of endangering children - our only interest is in making sure all passengers get on the plane safely. We will abide by the advice given by experts in this area."

    Actually I thought the point of the security was to make sure that all the passengers ultimately got OFF the plane safely. Getting on safely is rarely an issue.

    And why did they go to charities in search of their "experts"? And how is an X-ray not an image? Anyone remember the Sony X-ray cam furor a few years back? They are clearly grabbing at straws out of desperation.

  73. Ryan 7

    FFS you retards!

    It's millimetre waves, not X-rays!

  74. KaD

    Radiation Hazard?

    These machines are backscatter x-ray unit. They work on a very different principal than "typical" x-ray systems that look at bones or scan your carry-on bags at airports. Backscatter devices rely on the principal that different materials "scatter" x-ray photons in a uniquely identifiable way depending on what atoms are in their makeup. The less protons an atom has, the more it scatters x-ray energy. A computer can read the scattered x-ray photons and show on a screen where there is a difference in the chemical makeup of the person being scanned. So that's how it shows that someone has a block of explosives or drugs taped to their thigh.

    If you are worried about radiation, a person can receive up to 25 millirem (mrem) of ionizing radiation per year from a single source at maximum ( according to the U.S. Gov ). A backscatter X-ray delivers about 0.005 mrem of radiation. So if you were scanned about 200 times a year you would be exposed to what would be considered a negligible dose of 1 mrem. You could have cause for concern if you were scanned 100 times per week for a year.

    FYI, 1 mrem of radiation is about the same as you get from living on the surface of our planet in about 2-3 days or flying in an aircraft for about 3 hours.

  75. This post has been deleted by its author

  76. theloon

    Just for children!! Over 12 and it's ok?

    When did being over 12 suddenly remove your rights to not having to have a forced "strip" search at an airport, unless you are a criminal, and even then they have rights.

    And what else are they saying looking at only the child issue....Is the airport full of childporn freaks working at security?

    Plus if the images are really being destroyed then there is no issue for anyone...ummmm perhaps they are not being destroyed after all. Shocking surprise!

    It is an issue for us all.... I will be refusing and they can just waste a load of time pading me down.

    Clean underwear folks, in case of "the glove" .....

  77. Anonymous Coward

    @Darren Lingham @Vincent Ballard

    Yes they are X-rays, as far as I can tell it uses a pencil beam that scans rapidly over the suspect, backscattered into the detector. From the time when the pulses of backscattered radiation are detected, the angle of the beam at that time allows an image to be built up. These are real X-rays (not millimetre waves), the kind that comes from an x-ray tube and that can give you cancer like any other X-rays, with a certain low probability, but not zero probability. It can also cause mutations and birth defects that would affect your descendents.

    Shielding clothing:

  78. asiaseen

    What about the burqa-wearing sorority?

    Think of the affront to Allah imagined by all those muslim men who won't even allow their womenfolk to show their faces in public.

  79. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And it wont increase security

    The Rapescan works by creating an image using the X-rays scattered back from the body. They are very low energy and can only just penetrate clothing. Anything else would give unacceptable dose.

    Therefore the machine can be defeated by the use of a prosthetic paunch under which the terrorist can hide whatever they like.

    The machine is being manufactured to cash in on the current scared brainless state of airport authorities etc by means of apparent gee-whiz high tech appeal without actually enhancing security at all.

  80. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Our "society's" two current unchallengable assertions, paedophiles-are-everywhere and the money printing machine that is the anti-terror industry meet head on in a thrilling deathmatch at the unlikely venue of Manchester airport. Despite the promise of magnificent entertainment, I don't think the outcome is in much doubt at all, since the Concerned Mothers of Hyde (and friends) aren't quite the income generators the makers of scanners and other such security trash are , and are rather less likely to fund Labours soon-to-be-ill-fated election campaign. Nice idea while it lasted.

    Since children are apparently entitled to dignity, what about the rest of us?

  81. Martin Nicholls

    I hope some of you clowns are joking..

    "no concern about safe levels of x-rays - there are reasons that the staff in the xray department hide behind their shield"

    Probably because:

    a) Hospital X-rays are especially powerful, and

    b) Taking the hospital X-ray dosage time after time in a day for x years will most definately damage cells in ways you don't want.

    That doesn't mean it's dangerous to have an X-ray a whole bunch of times. Quite the opposite, it is indeed, perfectly safe.

    Also can we stop using the R word in the context of the ionising kind as if everything that 'radiates' energy will cause your children to be mutants like you spent 4 weeks inside the sarcophagus at Chernobyl.

    And yes, these things are overpriced lawsuit machines - not only is the technology just asking for all sorts of issues in the criminal courts, especially with regards to children, but there are major issues with this equipment as it pertains to the human rights act if nothing else.

  82. Anonymous Coward


    it's time to smash the machines.

  83. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    "raise their arms in a near-salute"


  84. Futumsh
    Thumb Up

    Top Trumps

    So we now know who wins in a game of social anxiety Top Trumps - my paedo hysteria trumps your terrorism hype!

    Seriously, if they're not scanning everyone then there's no point. Here's the evidence:

    They've been using this technology in Moscow for the last 4 years or so - personally I found the body scan performed by the attractive Russian security officer in the tight starched uniform quite exhilarating...

  85. Anonymous Coward

    not a big deal

    Assuming the guy monitoring the images produced by this machine is in a remote room with an alarm button he can hit to warn the guard outside the scanner when someone is packing, then the guy in the room need never know anything about the person being scanned.

    And as he works in an airport, the people he scans could be from almost anywhere on earth. Just don't give that guy access to any CCTV cameras in the same area as the scanner and he'll be none the wiser.

    It'll be worse for him having to look at your genitals all day than it will be for you. Unless he was getting off on it, it would scarcely matter either way.

    As for the radiation, well if you can afford to fly often enough for it to be a problem then you deserve it tbh.

    Airport security is completely pointless, but they're so dead set on putting on their little security theatre, the least we can do is be grateful when they make it more convenient for us. I do object to having to do the silly slave pose in the machine but hey it beats having some guy with a double digit IQ and a triple digit income touch your nuts and accuse you of being a terrorist at the same time. And you can always flip the bird while in the scanner. What are they gonna do about it, accuse you of carrying a bomb when you've just undergone a procedure that proves you aren't?

  86. Malcolm Boura 2

    Bad law, bad consequences

    This problem reflects a fundamental problem with a law which is so badly defined that nobody actually knows what it means. What is worse, it reinforces the myth that children are inherently sexual and that they must be viewed as inherently sexual objects. The Act is a significant contributor to the problem. It illustrates what happens when legislation is passed in a climate of moral panic whipped up by the likes of Mary Whitehouse.

  87. Anonymous Coward

    @I'll never be surprised by the uselessness of state

    Just what I was thinking too. There are probably plans already afoot in terrorist camps to do just that.

    We have all our rights for innocent, rights for criminals, rights for children, etc, that means we have to spend so much time dodging laws and being pc all the time. Criminals and terrorists don't have such morals so will just use all these things as our weaknesses.

    So what could happen now (or eventually once a kid blows up) is that more attention is put on checking the kids, manually, slowing up the time it takes for the rest of us to get in the airport and less attention is paid to the adults as the scanner *should* pick up everything that isn't safe, slightly overlooking the fact it still needs the guards to be vigilant mind. In short, this could mean it's slower to get through and isn't actually that much safer?

    All because other criminals such as paedos cause us to think this way.. Who runs this world? - the Criminals it would seem?

  88. David Cameron

    Simples !

    I won't be flying !

    So my hard earned will not go anywhere near places running such invasive technology. I might allow medical staff to decide to expose me to X-Rays, but some shite at a terminal ? I might also, after being requested and having the reasons explained, allow medical staff to view my naughty bits, but, again, some shite at a terminal ?

    I think not !

    Simples, we all stay at home until they start to behave like their role in life suggests to be suitable behavior for them. You REALLY want the bus conductor to look at your naughty bits missus ?

    Money always pulls the wayward back into some kind of line !

  89. Anonymous Coward

    @Mosh Jahan

    A-men Brother!

    Proceed with this nonsense at flank speed! Lock away the prudish twats who make this country shite and overtly PC beyond imagination! Oh.. wait.. it's too late.. Dash darn it..

    next plain to a remote island please! I want outta the human race!

  90. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: And it wont increase security

    >Therefore the machine can be defeated by the use of a prosthetic paunch under which the terrorist can hide whatever they like.

    Never being one to shy away from adding to the unsubstantiated rumour mill I seem to recall that it was reported as being able to show up breast implants so it would seem to be rather more penetrating then some would have us believe. Maybe in an attempt to counter the prosthetic paunch scenario.

  91. Righteously Indignant

    @ futumsh

    I travel in and out of Moscow every other week and must have been through these machines dozens of times now - and yes, sometimes you do get a hot chick in uniform giving the blurry image of your naked torso the once-over but I've never had one wink at me yet... Unfortunately.

    The bit that always makes me laugh though is that as soon as you're through you can turn around and see the screen to watch the next person come through! The image actually isn't that special, I watched my girlfriend walk through behind me and was quite disappointed by the picture.

    The thing that I love the most about the machine is the plaque in front of it explaining it is made in Canada and assuring people in both English and Russian that it is completely safe. It's a safe bet that if it was made in Russia nobody would go near it! :)

    In defence of the machine and the technology it really does work quickly and queues are never as long as they are in airports with the traditional metal detectors and wandering hands guy. And most of the time the operator looks so disinterested that I doubt they would care even if Cheryl Cole (or the Russian equivalent of female perfection) was mooching through it...

    Beer - because I don't like vodka. And vodka really doesn't like me!

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