back to article Discrimination warning over airport body scanners

The equality watchdog has called on the government to explain its plans for the use of body scanners at airports, citing concerns about racial profiling and privacy. This weekend the Equality and Human Rights Commission said it had written to the Home Secretary Alan Johnson to urge the "utmost caution" over such technology. …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. ShaggyDoggy

    Hmmm ...

    Wasn't that pants bomber convenient.

  2. The Original Ash
    Thumb Down

    "... our overriding obligations to protect peoples' life and *liberty*,"

    I don't think that word means what you think it means.

    The only thing I need protection from is Government profiling and intrusion into my personal life. That's none of your business.

    I'm thinking of patenting clothing where the letters hide messages only backscatter X-Ray machines can pick up: "Pervert" being one of my favourite messages so far, with a sub-millimetre weave mesh in the front of underwear.

  3. Steven Jones

    Who is left?

    "especially members of particular groups including disabled people, older people, children, transgendered people, women and religious groups"

    Leaving only able-bodied atheist males in the range 18-65 to be scanned indiscriminately. So that's maybe 15% of the population then...

    1. LuMan

      Totally agree

      How can you cite discrimination and then leave out a HUGE demographic because they don't fit a 'preferred' group? Surely this in itself is discriminitive.

      Personally I'd like to exercise my right to fly and NOT be photographed naked against my will, along with the earlier-referred individuals.

  4. Pete 2 Silver badge

    all except men?

    Looking at the list of groups this thing will (apparently) have a negative impact on: old people, children, women ... The only people who won't be "negatively impacted" are men. Presumably if it doesn't have a negative impact on men, the effect must surely be a positive one - how exactly would that come about?

    Now, given that males are about 50% of the population, when you remove older ones and younger ones, doesn't that make men from 18-65 a minoirity and therefore worthy of consideration. Or are we simply invisible as an identifiable group?

    1. Richard 125

      "Let me tell you internets it's not easy being white"

      It's a short list of examples of those groups usually targetted by idiots - hence it says "especially" and not "this only applies to", etc. It is not an exhaustive list.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      on constructing an artificial "minority"

      >"Now, given that males are about 50% of the population, when you remove older ones and younger ones, doesn't that make men from 18-65 a minoirity and therefore worthy of consideration."

      Hey, why stop there; why not also remove the men who aren't whingeing crybaby losers with an unjustified sense of entitlement. Just you left? Not surprised.

      IOW, yes, sure "men 18-65" are a minority. Just not an oppressed one. A privileged one. That's why you don't get a fucking medal just for being born, twit.

      1. MinionZero

        @"Just not an oppressed one. A privileged one"

        This shows your true attitude. You see them as privileged. Thats racism. Yes it works both ways. The people who push equality should apply equality equally, otherwise its not equality, its hypocrisy.

        After all hypocrisy results in injustice and inequality for some, which generates anger. Yes it works both ways. Plus before you pull that age old argument about what the British Empire done, you first need to look who controlled the British empire. e.g. the 1832 Reform Act, which even then still only "allowing a total of one out of six adult males to vote". (Before the act, i.e. before 1832, only one adult male in ten had the vote!). e.g.

        Therefore what the British Empire done wasn't based on the wishes of the *vast majority* of the British people. The 5 out of 6 men and all women were all subjugated under the ruthless rule of the British Empire elite rulers who didn't listen to them and let them suffer (e.g. dickensian era etc..). (The same ruling elites arrogance we all suffer now). So don't punish everyone for what the rulers done.

        The arrogant elite in this country are not the majority and just like throughout history they never listen to the wishes of the vast majority of people. So don't punish many for the actions of a minority who cares only about themselves in power over us all.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          @@"Just not an oppressed one. A privileged one"

          >"This shows your true attitude. You see them as privileged. Thats racism. "

          Nonsense. First off, men aren't a "race". Secondly, I am not claiming that their privilege is a consequence of some shared DNA. Thirdly, I am one, and I find the advantages laid out for us by society blindingly obvious, but maybe that's because I'm not a self-pitying whiner but capable of showing a bit of damn gratitude for my good fortune. Racism is about lumping a bunch of people together and treating them as all the same because of some minor bit of shared genetics; grouping together a bunch of people based on their common economic and social position on the top of the heap is not even vaguely like the same kind of thing.

          >"Plus before you pull that age old argument about what the British Empire done, "

          WTF are you even talking about? I said nothing about it and wasn't about to go raising ancient history here. You have some kind of chip on your shoulder and you're conversing with it, not me.

  5. Winkypop Silver badge

    Pre-flight checks

    This will be abused very quickly.

    How long until the first story about: "Airport security chief apologises for x-ray porn torrents"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton

      Why should I care?

      As long as that image isn't traceable back to me, why should I care if somebody posts pics of my tiny todger to the torrents? That, and given the huge supply of quality porn available for free on the 'net, I'm pretty sure bootleg security pictures wouldn't be MY first choice of NSFW viewing material!

  6. Valerion

    Equality Watchdog? Get lost

    Does anybody want them? Another unelected quango staffed by idiots with no common sense.

    Profiling makes perfect sense. My family, consisting of 2 adults and 2 young kids, going on holiday to Florida are blatantly not a threat. The guy with the ticking rucksack is. So why screen us?

    You wait - the people who pose an actual terror threat will start screaming that it's against their religion to be viewed on a full-body scanner and so they'll be allowed through without it whilst the rest of us are forced through it. Not that I'd be that bothered by it really. In fact it's a great idea. However somebody will soon find a way around it, they always do.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      ..unfortunately ...

      Given the supremely supine nature of our courts, media, and MPs, we need watchdogs like this ....

    2. Greg J Preece

      Profiling is bullshit, as is your logic

      What a load of nonsense. Profiling is a flaw in logical thinking and nothing else. Judging by your last paragraph, you believe only the religious (and I think we can guess where you're going with that) to be a threat to aircraft. Wanna bet?

      And I'd love to know why you think this is a great idea. Given that it won't pick up explosives, and at this point in time pretty much detects only what a current scanner does, except visually, what's so great about it?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        What's so great about it?

        From a security POV absolutely nothing. It doesn't even work as a deterent because it's been widely publicised that it won't do what tell us it will do.

        From a political POV it covers the government's arse for a while. It gives the gullible section of the electorate (tabloid reasers) the impression that the governent is doing something about this "threat". Of course this only works until somebody gets past the scanners with explosives, but they're hoping that this will take long enough that people will have forgotten the promises and they can implement even more draconian measures.

        The point about all these "anti-terror" laws is that they are being used more in the fight against "conventional" crime than they are is the fight against terrorism. How many searches carried out in the name of anti-terrorism have actually resulted in terrorists being jailed? Not many. How many of them have resulted in prosecutions being brought for more mundane offences? Quite a lot actually. So IOW these measures are being implement to make the lives of police and customs easier, not as any realistic measure to prevent terrorism.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Equality Watchdog? Get lost

      @Valerion: Why?

      Because you think terrorists don't have wives and kids?

      Or because you think that having successfully procreated automatically clears you of any possible wrong-doing ?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My family....

      So terrorists/bombers start travelling in family groups.

      ISTR a soldier in Afghanistan being victim of a bomb where bomber eas woman with babe in arms.

    5. Anonymous Coward


      Agree completely with you.

      I expect to see an evaporation of idiotic politically correct thinking in favour of hard logic as terrorist threats increase, as they are expected to in the next few years.

      @@Valerion: Why?

      I'm guessing you're pretty naive. It would make it extremely difficult and hostile for terrorists if profiling was in place. It might not sit quite right with your year 11 style of social philosophy, but that's the truth.

      @suspicious git

      Terrorists are much less likely to blow up themselves and their own kids, even less so with the home grown and western educated variety which is becoming the main convern. Even if they did, then that information would be added to the profiling criteria.

      Note to commentards: Open your eyes and try some original thought for once.

  7. Joel Mansford


    We all know what's going to happen, if you're brown or black you go through the scanner, if you're not then you keep your dignity.

    It's all ridiculous.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      But we all know what DID happen...

      Can't fault the logic if history and fact are anything to go by.

      Sept 11: How many white bombers?

      Jul 7: How many white bombers?

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Just whose side you on anyway?

        > Sept 11: How many white bombers?

        > Jul 7: How many white bombers?

        Objective of Al-Qaeda: Provoke western democracies into persecuting *innocent* muslims in order to gain recruits funds and world-wide sympathy, something that would otherwise be quite difficult for a bunch of murdering psychos to achieve.

        Your role in all this: Willing accomplice.

      2. Greg J Preece

        God, that's the stupidest thing I've ever read

        "Can't fault the logic if history and fact are anything to go by.

        Sept 11: How many white bombers?

        Jul 7: How many white bombers?"

        Gah! What the ****? What, were those the only bombings in history? Were there no terrorist attacks at all before 2001? Or are you full of shit?

        OK, here's a response: How about "how many bombers?" We've been successfully attacked ONCE in this so called "war." Excuse me while I shit my pants. As tragic as the London attacks were, are they really worth all this?

  8. Master Baker


    It's been discussed in another article that the X-Ray scanners won't stop a committed bomber, but I'm bored from hearing statements like this :

    "The Commission yesterday warned Johnson that discrimination on racial or religious grounds is illegal."

    Why is discrimination on religious grounds illegal (I agree with racial discrimination being a bit shit)? I thought it was pretty clear that the folks who want to kill western people/any non-muslim (this time round) are Islamists? Why can't they/shouldn't they receive a bit more attention?

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Never has a name been so apt. How do you propose to identify Islamists? Or are you assuming they all look the same and "a bit Muslim"?

      I'm getting a bit bored of the claims of it being Islamists fault. To quote the West Wing:

      Islamic extremist is to Islam as the KKK is to Christianity

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Thank you...

        The KKK comparison is valid, but it goes further than that.

        That suicide bombing is allowed, or even mandated, by the Koran is a massive misinterpretation of the relevant text. According to any reasonable teachings of the Koran anybody who practices or condones suicide bombing is, by definition, not a Muslim.

        Oh and by the way was the nail bomb maker jailed last week a Muslim?

        1. ToddRundgren

          The Koran talks about bombs?

          I suggest a text that was written 1200 years ago doesn't mention the words bomb or bombing!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @ RunGrentodd

            Actually wasn't there a bit about how to deport oneself in the deep end of the water hole?

  9. Steve Evans


    Sod the PC crap, can we please use our brains. I'm sorry but our current terrorist threat comes from religious extremists who are generally non-white.

    Back when the IRA were attacking the UK mainland, people with Irish names or Irish car registrations would be stopped more frequently. This was common sense, but these day we can't use the same sense as those determined to blow us up just happen to be from a different ethnic group.

    If this PC crap continues to hamper and restrict investigations it won't be long before black women are being asked for DNA to assist in the investigation of a rape where the suspect was described as a white male, purely because focusing on white males would be profiling...

    1. Pete 2 Silver badge

      A better way

      People are only willing to die for a cause if they feel their lives on this mortal coil are worthless, hopeless and devoid of joy. If they were happy bunnies, with something to look forward to and a sense of contentment they wouldn't feel the need to kill themselves and those around them.

      The solution in this case would be not to bomb them back to the stone age - which takes away any material comforts and aspirations they may foster and makes it even harder to drag themselves back to prosperity. Instead we should be air-dropping white goods, happy-meals, air conditioning, HDTVs (complete with all the "western" channels). Installing sanitation, bowling alleys, reliable water, shopping malls, 24*7 electricity and schools - most of all schools.

      That way they'll become just as dumb, fat and happy (to coin a phrase) as the rest of us so when the small number of true fanatics tries to stir up hatred, they'll fail because all the potential candidates will be too busy staying in with their loved ones watching Big Brother. You never know after a generation or two, they might even start buying the same old crap as the rest of us - thus assuring a larger market for our exports.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Common sense is what tells you the Earth is flat.

      >"Back when the IRA were attacking the UK mainland, people with Irish names or Irish car registrations would be stopped more frequently. This was common sense"

      It may seem "common sense" to bigots and idiots, but it was utterly ineffective and is now regarded by military political and historical analysts as a disastrous and failed strategy. Randomly harrassing people on the street? Needle in a haystack, you'd need a million policemen for this imbecilic utterly untargeted scattergun waste of human resources approach to achieve anything. And morons like you think it worked really well and we should do it again, just because it soothes your preconceived ignorant biases. "Oh, go find someone who looks vaguely like that bad guy and beat him up instead" - yeah, that's real Sherlock Holmes work there, that's really gonna help. Not.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Political Correctness gone mad!!!

      You might want to mull for a few months on how pretty much without exception the crux of the argument of everyone who makes this complaint is that they want to go back to when they could disparage minorities and it was all just passed off as a bit of fun.

      1. Steve Evans

        Re: Political Correctness gone mad!!!

        Not at all, please don't try to tar me with any bigot brush, it won't stick.

        Did the lorry drivers in Yorkshire complain when they were getting regularly stopped during the hunt for the Yorkshire ripper, because the profile suggested he was a lorry driver? Did they scream that no lorry drivers were being stopped in Kent? Did they demand bus drivers be stopped too? No, they understood the logic and the need to find him.

        If an Englishman is suspected of a crime when I am on abroad, and the cops decide to question me, will I scream that no French people are being picked up? No, don't be stupid, I'd understand the logic.

        Would I expect the local cops to waste their time picking up Germans, French, Poles and Spaniards just to make me feel better? No, I'd rather they found the person they were looking for.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I see

          Either you don't understand the language, or are too emotionally fraught to read rather than interpret.

        2. PDC

          Not just muslims though

          Recently had a brief from what used to be called "Special Branch", regarding the current threats. It may surprise you that they say that we are as much at risk from white supremacists these days, who are out to attack muslims, as we are from muslims.

  10. zaax

    Get a dog to do it.

    Total waste of money. Dogs do a better job than these multi million pound scanners and they are very cheap; working for a bounce of a ball.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What do the bitches do it for?


  11. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Put collection boxes in the airports

    If there are enough donations to fund a scanner and someone to look at the images then fine. People are welcome to spend their own money on a false sense of security.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    discrimination on racial or religious grounds is illegal

    >discrimination on racial or religious grounds is illegal

    That may be so but given that the current threat is from extremist muslims then you don't need a double digit IQ to figure out who should be singled out for further checks. I know that the majority of Muslims are decent law abiding citizens but they don't help themselves by not denouncing the extremists in their midst more vociferously. The security services have a hard enough time as it is without having waste it by screeing someone who is unlikely to be a terrorist just to even out the ethnic quota.

    1. Avalanche

      Re: discrimination on racial or religious grounds is illega

      Sure, but you can't see from the outside if someone is muslim or not, therefor profiling based on the perceived ethnicity or religion of someone is illegal. Even that white anglo-saxon managerial type over there could be a muslim. Or a terrorist from another denomination. Or someone whose childeren were kidnapped and now he has to commit a terrorist attack to keep them alive (there is probably some B or C movie with that plot). Or....

      The 'best' terrorist are those you wouldn't have expected.

      In other words: profiling is usually bullshit and does not help, it just singles out a limited group of people with no other gain than playing security theater for the masses.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Avalanche

        You are right to a certain extent. If the target knows what your criteria for profiling are then they will seek to be anything other than that. However, in the case of Muslims their name is a bit of a give away. Even the home grown disilusioned white terrorist, or your example of a suit, upon converting to Islam will take a Muslim name.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        "The 'best' terrorist are those you wouldn't have expected." - like the best malware is the stuff that gets past everything. But most people want to believe nothing can get past their scanner, don't they. I guess the bollockheads in power trust the Symantec/McAfee/Microsoft scanner on their laptop/desktop 100% too.

  13. lukewarmdog


    The perfect family is actually also the best target for extremists to try and recruit.

    How soon before the perfect son is strapping the bomb on?

    There's a whole world of home grown terror out there.

    1. robhogg
      Big Brother

      Exactly, @Valerion...

      ... but also:

      1) "Terrorists" or "extremists" are not a fixed, well defined group. Ordinary, law-abiding moderates can be turned into extremists. If they experience extreme injustice, or see injustice inflicted on people with whom they identify, they become angry. If they are then made to feel excluded from the mainstream, then perhaps they become receptive to the argument that violence is the only way.

      2) The likelihood is that the profiling will be done on appearance (i.e. skin colour). This means that the white convert who attends the meetings of an extreme group will walk through without challenge, while respectable Muslim community leaders, Sikhs, Hindus and so on will be being targeted.

      3) It will lead to neglect of the potential of people from other groups to commit violence, and so possiby increase the risk we face:

  14. censored

    I will stop flying....

    ...from UK airports if these come in. I'd rather at 2 hours and £60 to go to Paris.

    If you would object to a strip search, you should object to these scanners. Simple as that.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Disabilities discrimination

    I for one will fight against this new technology... I wear a bag on my side due to problems at birth - this bag collects urine and holds MUCH more than the 100ml allowed for liquids.

    So far I've only ever been questioned once during a pat-down search and my explanation was accepted without question.

    I can see that when these scanners come into play I'll be stopped every freaking time and asked to provide samples etc...

    1. Dave Murray

      Medical Pouches

      My gf has a similar condition only her bag is internal with a small opening in her side that she catheterises. We will be flying for the first time since she had this op in about 10 days.

      Since most doctors haven't heard of her condition or recent operations I'm dreading the reaction of airport security when they see the large quantities of drugs, dressings, catheters wrapped in a plastic bag with a sterilising gel, etc in her hand luggage. She must have some of these items in her hand luggage in case she needs to use them during our time in the airport or on the flight.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Common sense?

    "Back when the IRA were attacking the UK mainland, people with Irish names or Irish car registrations would be stopped more frequently. This was common sense,"

    It may be common sense as you call it but it was a total failure. Manchester, Guildford, Horse Guards Parade, Canary Wharf, etc etc all on the mainland. Real fsckin' bombs with real explosives, not the nonsense people cower from today. The IRA bombing stopped when a political solution was found to a political problem. No bombing Dublin back into the stone age requiired. Not that it would ever happen because the IRA were white terrorists and there are lots of Irish in America with good connections.

    Still, the terrorists now know they do not need real bombs, just something that 'common sense' says could, in someone's febrile imagination, be a bomb. So we have full body scanning. What happens after the next scare? Body cavity searches? Funnny, some corporation already makes a machine to do that, might be a good time to buy shares in it. What about after that? Stripped naked and sedated for flight, etc, etc.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Thank you AJP Taylor...

      "No bombing Dublin back into the stone age required"

      That's because 'the west' don't want to control the worlds Potato reserves (and had no problem with southern Ireland in any case).

      Let's not confuse the 'War on Terror' with the real reason we are bombing the sh1t out of the middle east right now.

  17. EvilGav 1


    The scanners, I mean.

    The 9/11 attacks had no explosives involved at all, the planes were the weapon.

    The Lockerbie bomb, was in a suit-case, in the hold (and on the plane through other countries before reaching UK soil).

    The only attempts at bombing that I can think of, that involved explosives being taken physically on board, were the "shoe" bomber and the "pants" bomber. Neither of which boarded a plane in the UK.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      ...and also - the shoe bomber was a white bloke called Richard Reid, I can't see how profiling would have helped much there.

      1. JohnG

        Half right

        His mum was white but his dad was a Jamaican immigrant of African descent i.e. black

    2. Anonymous Coward

      ... the Lockerbie bomb was put on at Heathrow

      ... one of the reasons the UK gov were desperate to get rid of Al Megrahi *before* any appeal. There wa a massive cock-up at black-ops central, and there is a public record that the wire fence at Heathrow (renowned by insurance companies world wide, for it's baggage handling security) was cut and someone gained entry to the baggage handling area they evening of the Lockerbie bombing.

      Anyone remember when Heathrow was Thiefrow ?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Where's my title gone????

      Those with a lot of free time might like to peruse

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    i suppose in that case...

    ..."I know that the majority of Muslims are decent law abiding citizens but they don't help themselves by not denouncing the extremists in their midst more vociferously."

    Why should they? The actions of some wanker in Nigeria/Pakistan/Dudley are no more Average Joe Muslim's responsibility than the actions of Tim McVeigh/Scott Roeder/John Q BlackwaterguardgoingapeshitinBaghdad are yours. Did "we" stand around tut-tutting in the 70s, 80s and 90s expect a public statement of outrage from every Catholic after each IRA bomb (or, for that matter, from every Protestant after each UDA/UFF shooting)?

    "The security services have a hard enough time as it is without having waste it by screeing someone who is unlikely to be a terrorist just to even out the ethnic quota."

    The security services have a hard enough time as it is without having to waste it by screening someone who is unlikely to be a terrorist just because of their ethnic background.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Dear. Mr. Coward

      We now live in more enlightened times and I seem to recall in these recent times not so very long ago there was indeed a very vociferous group of mainly white citizens protesting outside the BBC when the BNP leader was on question time. I don't recall anyone from the Muslim community condeming 9/11 nor the London and Madrid transport bombings. Quite the opposite, the leaders of the Muslim council refused to condemn those attrocities and only very thinly stopped short of condoning them.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        There is none so blind as Chris W who will not see.

        > " I don't recall anyone from the Muslim community condeming 9/11 nor the London and Madrid transport bombings. "

        That's because you are stupid, ignorant, amnesic, or lying, not because Muslim groups have failed to condemn those bombings. Here's a link to an old Dallas News post that archives five such condemnations for you: it took me five seconds to google it up.

        There's tons more, but of course if *you* haven't heard of it then it must not have happened, right? Asshole.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          AC 15:31

          I think you have an anger management problem. Please take some time to collect your thoughts and try to put them across in a civilised educated manner, then I might consider debating this more.

          1. Anonymous Coward

            My thoughts are perfectly clear.

            My thoughts are perfectly clear: you presented a specious and transparently false argument based on trivially falsifiable claims that something did not happen when it in fact did; therefore you must have a hidden motive for presenting your claim, because it surely can't be the strength of your non-existent evidence that convinced you. HTH.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward


              People say the BNP have changed their tune in order to gain more public support. Nick Griffin often says he has been misquoted. This is what happens with the Muslim groups who initially refuse to condemn extremist terror attacks, they later reluctantly present a PR front. Don't always believe what you read after the facts as itdoesn't always tally with what was said at the time. In fact, at the time, many Muslim spokespersons initially said that it was to early to jump to the conclusion that the bombers were muslims even after they had been identified. In other words they stringed out any condemnation until it was impossible to persist with the denial.

              1. Anonymous Coward


                The article I posted was dated July 8th 2005. That's one day after the bloody bombings, and it lists a bunch of press releases dated the day before. That's the day of the bombings, in case you're as bad at maths as you are at reading and reasoning. Just how bloody fast do they have to issue their condemnations to satisfy you? Yes, I'm sure there were a few mealy-mouthed apologists, but you haven't the least reason to doubt the sincerity of the other 99% of these condemnations.

                Let's recap: you claimed - without evidence, and falsely - that muslim organisations *never* condemn terrorism, I showed that they did; you fell back on saying - without evidence and falsely - that they didn't do it quickly enough, implying that this casts doubt on their motives; I showed that they did.

                Is it really still not clear to you yet, after all this massive divergence from the readily-ascertainable facts, that your opinion is not actually grounded in reality?

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  It's on the internet so it must be true.

                  Unfortunately the articles were not written in stone and some of the links have disappeared . I prefer to go by what was said on camera at the time. It is then left to moderates such as Sir Iqbal Sacranie to perform a damage limitation exercise.

                  Oh, and you've forgot to get your friend to do the business with the voting, not that it's that obvious.

                  1. Anonymous Coward

                    So you agree you are wilfully blind? I think that was my original point.

                    >"Unfortunately the articles were not written in stone and some of the links have disappeared . ."

                    Words cannot express my contempt for how pathetic this excuse is. The Dallas News is a real newspaper, not some made up bullshit; if they say, the day after a terrorist attack, that all these press releases have crossed their desk, then there's no reason not to believe they are telling the truth. They still have the original article live on their site, BTW:


                    You are claiming that the Dallas News is, for some reason, so blindly and automatically in favour of terrorism, that they would fake this article? Garbage. They printed this article and it honestly described actual press releases they actually received.

                    > "I prefer to go by what was said on camera at the time. "

                    No, you don't, that is simply not factually true. How many pairs of eyes do you have? How many days did you spend solidly in front of the telly without leaving to eat or sleep? You can't even have seen a tiny fraction of "what was said on camera at the time", and you remember even less of it.

                    So, what you actually prefer is to ignore all the documented verifiable historical evidence, and trust only your own vague memory of one thing said by one guy on one five minute snippet of news that you saw on the day. It's transparent that your criteria for deciding what evidence you accept or reject is purely "Does it agree with my predetermined opinions?" That is what I meant when I said blind, and you have just proudly avowed that that is indeed what you are doing.

                    >"Oh, and you've forgot to get your friend to do the business with the voting, not that it's that obvious."

                    You are a pathetic delusional paranoid wretch. You're so unable to comprehend that someone might think you are wrong apart from me that you have to suppose I've been fixing the voting? Of course I haven't been organising that. Someone else just thinks you're a twat too. That doesn't need any kind of conspiracy to explain it. You are quite clearly delusional: you discard evidence because it doesn't match your beliefs, you are unable to even imagine that anyone could honestly disagree with you - you're living in a fantasy world created entirely by your own nasty bigoted paranoid suspicious mind.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Oh dear

                      The anger management pills didn't last very long so I sincerely hope your little tirade has calmed you down. If not then please feel free to continue to insult me, but remember my limited intelligence and don't use words of more than two syllables.

                      1. Anonymous Coward

                        Is that all you got?

                        A lame joke about anger pills that would look embarrassingly unimaginative even on Usenet? I notice you've given up any effort to defend your bogus claims now that I have comprehensively proved you wrong. That makes me happy!

                        1. Anonymous Coward
                          Anonymous Coward

                          What's the point

                          You're just going to keep repeating, presumably with varying levels of abuse, the same tired argument that because something was published on the web it's gospel. Just as NASA have recently modified their web pages to remove claims of catastrophic ice loss it stands to reason that what is visible now is what they have always said. No doubt you will argue that NASA is not a reputable agency. However, I'm glad that you are feeling better.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    The police have been pulling over young drivers in disproportionate numbers (especially those wearing baseball caps while driving) for years. My driving hasn't changed since I got older and purchased cars that weren't small, old and French, but for some reason, I haven't been stopped for a routine check for years now! Criminal profilers are always keen to point out that serial suspects are normally white and single. If I wandered down the street clad in a balaclava, wearing latex gloves, clutching a bag of tools, I would kind of expect a stop and search.

    'Profiling' means flagging obvious suspects. There isn't an issue with that. The issue comes when that is abused as either part of the policy, or by individuals with less pleasant agendas.

    I abhor racism myself, but disregarding typical criminal profiling for the sake of appearances is not something that I want to see.

    That said, I don't really approve of my pants being examined by strangers, either.

  20. PaulK

    Don't Like It?

    Then don't fly! Easy, innit?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Clearly the FAIL icon relates to your brain, which obviously failed

  21. Danny 17


    simple - if people have a problem with these scanners DONT TRAVEL...

  22. David Webb


    As far as I know, if you are pregnant you're not allowed to be x-rayed, in hospital the nurses got pretty angry at the portable x-ray bloke for not giving warning. So even though I'm male, every time I go to the airport I will claim I'm pregnant and cannot be x-rayed and it would be against my human rights to deny the fact that I am pregnant (even though I'm a guy). It could work.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Approaching the Daily Mail event horizon


    Kerry Katona's shock revelations pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and special commemorative pullout

    Also inside. Do immigrants cause cancer? Melanie Phillips investigates.

  24. Melvin Meatballs

    Privacy madness

    So they already use identity profilling for the daily list of pull-outs from the streaming throngs of air travellers. The change in the list to be checked derives from both the changes in probable concealment used, and the speed (and hence volume) of processing.

    It is cynical implication from the EHRC that this change will infringe privacy and hence implies that the current profiling and firm-tactile-pat-down-emtpying-of-pockets-etc does NOT infringe privacy?

    So someone patting your arse is OK, but looking at a grainy-picture of it isn't?

    "but they can see your genitals too..", the privacy freaks cry. Well we all look pretty similar naked given we are all of the same species. What about the poor sod that has to look at you. An horrendous job with long-term therapy costs for flab-blinded customs officials.

    If you are so uptight about the thought of someone seeing a vague outline of your body, then stay at home. Don't go on holiday, complain about your 'rights' at the airport then get to the beach and flash your flesh in the mistaken impression that you have something worth showing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What about the bloke...

      ...with the 2 inch knob, but who has a salami down his grunties to give him the confidence to go out?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down

        What about the wife?

        Wife has a 5" procidentia. That'll show up for sure on a body scanner. It'll be interesting to see what the security people do.

  25. Eponymous Cowherd
    Big Brother

    The next step.

    I'm now waiting for the announcement that the General Election has been postponed (indefinitely) because of the need for continuous Government while the terrorist threat continues.

  26. MinionZero

    Discrimination warning? ... WTF?!

    "body scanners are likely to have a negative impact on individuals' rights to privacy, especially members of particular groups."

    So what about the negative impact on the most disadvantaged and discriminated against group in the UK, the White Hetrosexual British Male!. We are never allowed to speak about this group these days. That's a Throught Crime. That's political incorrect. Don't dare speak up for yourself. Oh no, only every other group can be allowed to speak up for themselves.

    How the flying F**K can the hypocritical Equality and Human Rights Commission talk about concerns over discrimination and then in the same breath, talk about "especially members of particular groups". They are discriminating! ... but no, we are not allowed to say that. Thats a Throught Crime. That's political incorrect, so we have to suffer in silence as usual. Year after year, suffer in silence, dare not speak out.

    We are all suffering from this scanner. How dare they discriminate against *any group*. :(

    BBBAARREEEEHHHHHGGGGGRRRRR!!!!!!!! ... and breathe ....... AAAAHHHHHHHH.............

    This finally hit the nuke option and jump off the deep end comment, was brought to you by over a decade of suffering NuLabour hypocritical political correctness!. :(

    I give up. :(

    1. MinionZero

      So much for Fairness and true equality...

      I was waiting for my comment to be voted down, (Typical, vote it down to suppress it and punish it, suppress and punish it now, suppress and punish it now! ... the typical actions of the political correct Thought Police) because some of us are no longer allowed to truly speak our minds in the UK anymore. Fairness and true *Equality* isn't allowed to be heard, only selective thoughts are allowed, all other thoughts need to be suppressed and punished and voted down as that vote down shows and so comments like mine need to be voted down and punished into silence. We need to suppress and punish all decent like mine. Suppress and punish all talk of equality like mine. Suppress and punish all talk of fairness like mine. :(

      With each passing day, it shows only the wishes of the political correct Thought Police are allowed now in the UK and we are not allowed to question it or speak out against it. So much for talk of discrimination when it is the political correct Thought Police who do the discriminating!

      So much for Fairness and true equality. :(

      OMG what is the UK turning into! :(

      1. Anonymous Coward

        I voted you down because...

        you're sodding annoying! You do yourself no favours by sounding like a complete and utter nutter!

        // Anon because you sound like a complete and utter nutter!

        1. MinionZero

          @AC "a complete and utter nutter"

          AC try looking in the mirror. I was getting genuinely angry because after years of suffering having to listen to all that is happening to the UK, I got to the point where today I could no longer stand anymore of the extreme hypocritical, narrow minded and close minded way some people are selectively applying discrimination arguments when it suits them. Their two faced close minded hypocrisy is sickening.

          I've never seen the UK is such a mess as it is now. As this news shows, our rights are being relentlessly wiped out and these close minded hypocrites are part of the problem. Privacy, liberty, freedom and now even as these scanners show, now even common decency is being wiped out. Its injustice for all. Not just injustice for a select group some wish to help while others are left to suffer.

          If they want equality as they claim, then apply equality equally, otherwise its not equality, its hypocrisy.

          Hypocrisy results in injustice and inequality for some. Thats exactly the world we are going into, not moving away from. The whole concept of holding back some groups while others prosper, at the expense of the ones held back, is a centuries old way different groups dominate others groups. So don't any group dare say they seek equality when they push an inequality agenda. Thats double talk and my tolerance level of double talk PR words is at an all time low.

          We have enough inequality already with the relentlessly power hungry control freaks seeking to subjugate most of us (while helping their rich friends prosper at everyone else's expense).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        I'm constantly thinking off standing one way or another (and I don't mean using a 'stance' ala Shooting Stars). What we need is enough money to be able to contest a few seats. Surely there're some rich types out there up for it.

        I do tend toward policies like 'kicking Government ministers in the bollocks, really, really hard'. I'd be interested to see if that one would survive the democratic policy selection process (whatever that's called).

        Alternatively - and again we'll need generous donors - class action prosecutions of Government ministers, e.g. for blatantly and demonstrably lying to the electorate. Again, I tend toward wanting to prosecute them for treason.

        And campaign for the return of capital punishment solely for Government ministers who lie to the electorate and/or attempt to dismantle our democracy. Maybe all that's needed is to put it on the front page day in day out, kind of like inverse electioneering.

    2. J 3

      You, British?

      I thought the British were so proud of their great mastery of the Queen's English and all that (just witness what happens around here when your American overlord cousins leave a less than perfect comment...). Here's a "political incorrect throught" for you: learn the grammar and the writing of your own freaking language, if you are indeed British, and people might take you a little bit more seriously -- even if what you say is manure anyway. It works; you'd be surprised to see how many more responses the Intertube's trolls get when they sound like sane, educated people.

      Anyway, the fucking white male (of which I am considered one, apparently) is NOT discriminated against except in your small paranoid Daily Mail reader mind. If you just look around without your hatred-colored specs on, you'll notice who gets singled out for police raids, "random" traffic stops, "random" airport checks, etc. etc. Whether discrimination is the right or wrong thing to do is another issue (after all, not all Muslims are Islamofascist terrorists, but all Islamofascist terrorists are obviously Muslim...), but deny that it exists or, even more ridiculous, invert its "signals" seems quite unjustified given reality.

    3. Charles Manning

      The bit I don't understand....

      How can anyone construe a body scanner to be discriminating? It might be invading privacy, but what has that got to do with discrimination?

      Sure a transgender person might prefer that the world does not see his/her penis, and a paraplegic might like to keep his plumbing arrangements hidden. Straight blokes like me might like to cover up man-boobs etc.

      If you're transgender, in a wheelchair, white, black, gay, straight whatever the machine works the same. If everyone has their privacy invaded.

      Where's the discrimination?

  27. sysadmin

    Anything to make flying safer

    I'm 100% for the full body scanners. So it might not be 100% perfect but it's better than the current rubbish they use (you have to take your shoes off because the metal detector doesn't reach to the floor??!).

    I want to exercise my right to live and not be blown up by some nutter, and if that means full body scanners then great - I can take some bored chap in a separate room looking at pictures of my enormous turnip.

    Roll on the first airline that insists on everyone going through full body scanners - that's the airline I'll fly with.

    How many El Al flights have had idiots setting fire to their pants? They have been screening passengers for years - shouldn't we try and learn something from them.

    1. Steen Hive


      A bloody good start would to not be overestimating the risk by several orders of magnitude, don't you think?

      I recommend you personally should be cavity-searched every time you get in your car because people have more chance of being killed by you driving it than being blown up by some vague and shadowy nutter.

    2. Jim Morrow

      Anything to make flying safer

      What utter bollocks! First, these body scanners are next to useless. Even Home Office Overlord Assistant Reichsfeuhrer Alan Johnston says there's no better than a 50-50% chance they might detect a nutter with a bomb. Which probably means their effectiveness is even worse than that. Next, the current security theatre (pantomime) at an airport has yet to catch any terrorist or find explosives. [They confiscate plenty of nail clippers and a lot of duty-free though...] Third. there are plenty of other attack vectors for terrorists to use against aircraft. Or getting round the ridiculous limit of no more than 100ml liquid per person: with or without body scanners. This month's Cryptogram has a few suggestions. So has the recent article here by Lewis Page.

      You are right about El Al screening/profiling passengers on its flights. It won't scale however. Try doing that with the 80M-odd passengers going through LHR every year. Oh and AFAIK El Al don't x-ray passengers with these body scanners either. They approach the job of security properly and thoroughly. Which doesn't depend on hyping the latest gadgets the security industry is desperate to sell to fuckwit politicians.

      If you are stupid enough to believe that body scanners will "improve security", you might as well be claiming that the Flying Spaghetti Monster -- hallowed be his noodly appendages -- is equally effective as a countermeasure. I say a prayer to the FSM every time I fly. It works. I've not been blown up. Or had the security goons reach for the rubber gloves. This is a proven fact. And those prayers to the FSM haven't needed to be backed up by x-rays and body scanners.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I'm a little concerned

        So, you don't dress as a pirate when flying?

        I feel such a fool!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Have fun getting some perspective!

    4. Charles Manning

      El Al

      "shouldn't we try and learn something from them.". Yes we should.


      El Al use well trained people. They don't use minimum wage staff.

      They use technogy as a tool and don't rely on it as a silver bullet.

  28. philkm


    I'm definitely with PaulK on this one. People have been complaining about mistreatment during travel and then turning around and paying for more of it.

    Make it the airlines' problem! They have a lot more leverage than individuals. Force them to get on-side with making travel appealing if they want customers.

  29. Valerion
    Thumb Up

    @robhogg. lukewarmdog

    I see your point(s) and indeed wasn't that shoebomber guy white (or at least white-ish)? The point remains though that a white, middle-class family from Surrey flying to Disneyworld should be bottom of the "suspicious" list. Single men, fair enough. The only time I've been stopped by customs is when travelling as a single man, That tells us something. But as I said, I've no objection to me or my kids going through a scanner really.

    More to the point though is the general stupidity of the situation. When travelling last year I wasn't allowed to take a small amount of medicine for my son on board ecause the bottle it was in could potentially hold more than 125ml, even though it only had about 30ml in it. That is just stupid. I was, however, allowed to take a cigarette lighter (for burning), a belt (for strangling), a pen (for stabbing) and a mobile phone (as a remote trigger). Good thing I didn't have that anti-histamine!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The only time I was stopped

      is when I looked at the Customs guy. And that was what made him suspicious. Because I didn't go through trying to avoid eye contact (?)

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon


        In my (admittedly limited) experience, the most effective way to pass through customs unmolested is to look bored - like you've done it a thousand times.

        It also helps if you're dressed in a suit.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    It is simple...

    When my passport was up for renewal a couple of years ago, I simply didn't renew it. The waits, check ins, delayed flights, overbooked planes ... it all took more time than the flight itself. No thanks, I'll stay in our green and pleasent land. At least, it is green once more now that the snow has gone.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon


      So, you don't feel like you've been sucessfully subjugated then?

  31. Shakje

    It pains me...

    to see so many comments that don't see the inherent problem with affirming the belief that muslims or Arabs require profiling while the everyday man on the street should be left alone.

    Think of the implications of telling every racist little shit in Britain that it's ok to consider anyone with brown skin a terrorist suspect, or how about kids in the playground? Are they going to consider the reasons for such discrimination and realise that it's an informed decision or are they going to grow up believing that muslims are terrorists? And how about the muslim kids in their playground, how do you think they'd be treated?

    Let's also think about recent history, how many terrorist attacks have there been in the UK by Islamic extremists? What's the current international threat level? And what do you think terrorists WILL do if such profiling took place? They'd lie about their religion, or recruit people who are white, or use one of the many skin whitening creams on the market. The people who would lose are the innocent people who don't deserve to have their privacy invaded any more than you or any other British person.

    And the stupidity of this:

    "Profiling makes perfect sense. My family, consisting of 2 adults and 2 young kids, going on holiday to Florida are blatantly not a threat. The guy with the ticking rucksack is."

    Ah ok then, it's a good thing they'd do a full body scan of someone with a ticking rucksack. What do you think terrorists would do to counteract a policy of not scanning a white person with a family?

    Of course, the whole point is moot, because the same people who are supporting profiling are the exact same people who would complain the loudest about their privacy if their group became the target of the profiling, but they're so bloody ignorant of the huge negative impact of supporting discrimination that they can't comprehend the terrible experiences that people in minorities have to live with every day. Maybe they should take a quick look at the BNP manifesto, it might shock them into dropping their absurd views if they saw that Twitchy shares their beliefs.

    1. Master Baker

      Nice post

      But you're mental.

      Not all muslims are 'brown' as you put it. And Islam is not a race - it's a religion.

      1. Shakje

        Of course not all muslims are brown skinned

        but when the average tabloid loving, foreigner fearing loudmouth refers to dem muslim terrowists he has a very specific image in his head, I'm just addressing the issue in realms that won't confuse the shit out of them. I also don't think I called Islam a race anywhere...

    2. steve 44

      Not only what Mater Baker said but....

      Most people on here didn't mention racial profiling. In fact the most that was said was single men. I didn't realise single men were a race. He is right though, "profiling" is required in order to reduce the amount of people screened. No mention of race, just profiling. Get off the privacy bandwagon unless you have a point to make.

      1. Shakje

        Here's the ones that I was looking at when I posted

        When I said 'so many' I meant enough to have surprised me.

        Valerion 12:14

        AC 14:40

        Steve Evans 12:25

        Chris W 12:38

        This one deserves special recognition for suggesting that if you're a Muslim you are automatically awesome at spotting terrorist nutters. Just like the EDL - they spot one whenever they walk down the street.

        sysadmin 13:27

    3. Maty

      some good points here

      But your basic point is that because predominantly young males of Middle Eastern/Muslim origins have been causing havoc, eighty-year old Swedish grannies should share the pain in the name of non-discrimination?

      But as a Reg article mentioned, it's hard enough to find young male Muslim nutters prepared to blow up airlines and themselves. Finding a non-Muslim white family prepared to do the deed is considerably more difficult still.

      And outrage about profiling doesn't seem to apply to white middle-aged males who are automatically labelled as 'potential child sex predator'. Perhaps the point is that when you have a certain type of person more likely to commit a certain type of crime, it's best to check that type more carefully. It's not racism, it's common sense.

      Grenade. Obviously.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        'Common Sense' is almost always wrong, on account of being based on insufficiently-considered criteria.

        I expect you knew this, you just forgot not to invoke the 'common sense' defence.

      2. Shakje

        Yes, that is what I am saying

        Because if you're going to impose checks like this they have to be random, otherwise it IS sending a message to idiots that it's ok to blame everything on Muslims. Why do you think it's so unlikely that an eighty-year old Swedish granny might be carrying a bomb?

        I'd quite like to see the article, and I agree, it would, presumably, be more difficult, but considering the infrequency of terrorist attacks, and the meticulous and long planning which, although not always present, does go on with some attacks (9/11 being the perfect example), would it be so strange for there to be some white recruits out there (Ulrike Meinhof originally had a family), and, considering the sparsity of terrorist attacks over the last 10 years, is it even feasible to build a profile of a terrorist? Look at academic samples, then look at the sample that they have for domestic attacks. That in itself is a farce.

        I don't think that white middle-aged males should be automatically labelled as potential sex predators either, but that's something for another day, however I know someone who was put through an ordeal because of that assumption. Recent high-profile sex crime cases, if anything, have shown that you can't just focus on one group, because someone from the group you're not focusing on will end up being missed, and when that happens it's a disaster.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why would we want to be reasonable and prudent?

    Why would we want to screen those persons who represent those who have attempted or conducted terrorist attacks in the past? I'm sure all of those terrorists have retired from the trade... or not.

    I'm more than willing to go to any major airport in the world and have the naysayers point out all the terrorists in the building to me. As long as you can do that then we really don't need scanning or interviews or any other security measures. Just tell us which people in the airports are the bad guys or gals and we'll arrest them. Don't forget the bomb toting kids either. No problem.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To the idiots.

    Those of you posting that such discrimation is fine because all terroists are Muslims should bear in mind that even if that were true (which it clearly isn't) people don't actually have to look Muslim in order to be Muslim.

    The average UK tabloid reader has the idea that all Muslims are asian and bearded and dress in a certain way.

    Firslty, if a Muslim who does look like that wants to fool a tabloid reader then all he has to do is shave and dress differently.

    Secondly yhere are a lot of Muslims who don't look like that. Have you idiots actually seen the pants bomber?

    Finally have you ever bothered checking how many terrorist attrocities committed on US soil over the years have been committed by somebody who "looks a bit muslim"? One word: Oklahoma.

    And if all this bigotry leads to the killing of an innocent man who "looks a bit muslim" what then? What if the innocent man isn't a south american imigrant, but a tanned bloke from Essex? What will your comment be then? "Well he shouldn't have been to Benidorm for his holidays. He was asking for it."?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Idiots like yourself?

      "people don't actually have to look Muslim in order to be Muslim."

      1, Do they look a bit Muslim - Yes \ No

      Do you really think that's the only criteria the intelligence services would look at?

      It's good to see you've really applied your brain to this one.

    2. Iggle Piggle

      In an ideal world...

      ... there would be enough police to stop and search everyone. Old, young, black, brown, white, yellow, male, or female. However we are not in an ideal world. We are in a world where people want to pay Queasy Jet prices and expect VIP treatment and the kind of security that the Queen gets.

      If you live in the UK, have you noticed something that comes up on the news. Every few days someone else is killed in London with a knife. Have you noticed something else. They tend to be young and black and male and killed by another young black male. Is it racist of me to make that observation? It would certainly be racist and wrong of me to conclude that all black males in London are knife carrying criminals. But if the police are to focus their attention on eradicating knife crime in London would they be better of focussing their investigations and education programmes on young black males or elderly white women?

      A previous post was at pains to point out how wrong racial profiling was because it let to the conclusion that all Muslims are terrorists. There is undoubtedly some truth in that but that is not to say that customs would be wrong, it would be the fault of society as a whole that is so ill educated as to conclude that because a minority of a group commit a crime that all of that group are guilty of the same crime.

  34. Steven Jones

    @EvilGav 1

    In 1986 Anne-Marie Murphy was duped (by her Jordanian boyfired, who, conveniently couldn't make the flight) into trying to carry a bomb on board an El Al flight from Heathrow to Israel. It was detected by an alert ticket agent and was most definitely an attempt (albeit not by the unfortunate Anne-Marie) to get explosives on board a jet from a UK airport.

    Of course, whether or not any attempted bombings started from a UK airport or not might have as much to do with the perception of being detected. Run lax security procedures and the (relative) lack of attempts from UK airports could very esily change.

    Being complacent is a sure recipe for attacks.

    1. Charles Manning

      The UK airport is moot

      El AL use their own security. Unlike other airlines they don't rely on the security provided by the airport. You'll get a uniform El Al experience regardless of where you board. If El Al can't get the security level they want (eg. due to legal restrictions) they won't fly there.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Profiling is a waste of time, as any succesful terrorist wont fit the profile.

    And it melts down to "he's brown and looks nervous" I bet you'd be nervous too knowing security could target you for being brown and nervous. But hey rights don't matter as long as it's someone elses that's getting trampled on.

    That's the way of the free west. We've forgotten all about the start of the 20th century - maybe we could have a second holocaust just in time for the 100 year anniversery of the first one?

    1. steve 44

      Another edjit.....

      Profiling does not just mean "he's brown, nick him". Profiling is a very useful method to pick out possible targets from a crowd of people. I'm sure you would be the first to complain if every single person was padded down before they got on to an aircraft.

      If i was travelling alone on an aircraft, i would expect to be checked more thoroughly than a family. I'm not "brown", i don't have long hair and i don't wear a trenchcoat, but i would still be more likely to be picked out and searched.

      Also, i love that brown is the new black.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Well blow me down with a small wind,

        "Profiling does not just mean "he's brown, nick him". Profiling is a very useful method to pick out possible targets from a crowd of people."

        You don't say? I never realised that! Gee you are clever arn't you? Had enough stroking your harble? No, stroke it some more internet tough boy.

        Sadly as I pointed out the next succesful bomber shall not fit a profile, they'll likely be of European desent, with a family, and almost certainly well educated. As pointed out though such people are rare, and why go to all that trouble when you can get a SAM for a reasonable price and shoot the SOB out of the sky.

        In the end there'll be just as many succesful terrorists attacks after this pointless charade as there were before, infact there may even be more as the security services spend all their time sifting through irrelevance missing the relevant (which is almost impossible to tell the difference between the two until it's too late.)

        If you can't see how pointless it is, well, I suggest you read your own title.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Profiling may not mean _that_

        in an ideal world. But in the real world it's a tool of an cluster of related professions in which racism is endemic. I mean, you read sensible enough to be generally aware of this, so one supposes you're suspending a healthy distrust because you want to Believe?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          another thing about

          Another thing about profiling, is that it has a mixed view in criminal circles, as on occasion it has provided very accurate and useful information that has led to quickly catching and convicting criminals.

          But at the same time in a number of cases it has led to law enforcement officials chasing their own tails as the profile was down right wrong.

          Profiles are one part intelligence, one part sociology, one part psychology, one part guess work, and one part luck.

          It's all rubbish though as the scanners wont increase safety any more then a fraction of decimal of a percentage point even if you scan everyone with them.

          I don't have a problem with the scanners, I just think they're an expensive waste of energy, and that profiles are a waste of time. Scan everyone or don't bother at all.

  36. Steven Jones

    @Beaker's Love Child

    To correct one thing, Richard Reid is of mixed race. However, I'm not sure why you think that profiling would mean only non-white people would be included. There are plenty of other criteria. There are plenty of other factors that could be used which might be called intelligence. For example, Richard Reid was a relatively recent convert to Islam, he had a criminal record, as did his father. He was single, without dependents. He's spent time in Pakistan (not an obvious place to go for a person of his background), on his first attempt to fly to the US from Paris he'd not tried to check in luggage.

    Profiling means a bit more than a simple background ethnic check. It is not, incidentally, limited to this sort of incident - many of the gun massacres in the US have been perpetrated by people with off personality traits.

  37. John Murgatroyd


    will be stopped by scanners that wouldn't have been stopped by being "patted-down".

    Next will come more intensive scanners to check for body-orifice devices (the pat-down then becomes a body-cavity search)

    Meanwhile, after their lies about "nothing is recorded" having been found-out....they will be telling yet more lies to prove that the scanners are good for you..

    I think another (in) famous person had something to say about the real reason for excessive security:

    “The best way to take control over a people and control them utterly is to take a little of their freedom at a time, to erode rights by a thousand tiny and almost imperceptible reductions. In this way the people will not see those rights and freedoms being removed until past the point at which these changes cannot be reversed.”

    Adolf Hitler

  38. Anonymous Coward


    "The Commission yesterday warned Johnson that discrimination on racial or religious grounds is illegal."

    What the fucking fuck?

    Not according to Harriet Harman and her "Equality Bill" it's not.

    What Johnson did wrong was he forgot to call it "Positive racial profiling" or just simply "Positive action".

    There, that should put all our fears to rest.

    1. Richard 125

      I guess you didn't watch the Bill's debate then

      "Positive Action" is where someone who is, for example, physically disabled and is as academically qualified or as skill as any other candidate for a job receives enough support (from advisors, etc.) to ensure that their condition does not act as a hindrance. It is NOT to give ANYONE any undue advantage. It is for ensuring candidates are only judged on their relevant skills or qualifications.

  39. Andrew Culpeck
    Thumb Down

    You can't scan me I am an MEP

    was their not an artical on the fact that the European parlement bought and did not use a number of x-ray sanners because they did not want their right to privacy invaded.

    It would be ironic if the government bought the scanners for our airports.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    the real problem

    is people. if there wasn't so many of us, we wouldn't have government screwing the rest of us over, and other people getting angry enough at us to want to destroy planeloads of us just to make a point. or, if you prefer, the government getting greedy enough to want to make it look like someone is angry enough to blow up planeloads of us just to make a new law to take away more of our freedoms, or introduce expensive machines to allow naked pictures of us to be stored for use later (oh yes they will).

    I'm becoming racist against my own country because of utter shit like this. the only solution I can think of, aside from genocide or anarchy, is to move somewhere where there are less people and therefore less authority to control you. anyone have any suggestions?

    would seriously consider tribal regions in africa, so long as they don't shoot first.

  41. Michael M

    Profiling as a tactic

    I hope Fabio Capello uses the Profiling Defence in the forthcoming World Cup - just have all the players operate on one side of the pitch. This greatly reduces the chance of an attack down that wing.

  42. ShaggyDoggy


    How will they scan disbaled people e.g. no legs

  43. Graham Marsden

    Be afraid, be VERY afraid...!

    The eeeevil terrerist bogeymen are out there! They're coming to get yooouuu! They're around every corner, they're behind every tree. They might be on your train or bus or plane. So if you see someone who's a bit different, who doesn't fit in, who follows a different religion that you don't understand, run, don't walk to your nearest friendly Policeman who will ensure that they get checked over and maybe a good kicking if they deserve it for being foreign.

    Or maybe just:

    Vote Fascist for a third decade of total law enforcement!

    Or perhaps:

    Those who would give up essential liberties for a little temporary security deserve neither liberty nor security. Benjamin Franklin.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      @Be afraid, be VERY afraid.

      Although I voted your post up, I still have to pull you up on one point: that's "third *glorious* decade".

      Vote Fear Squid for Prime Minister!

  44. Anonymous Coward

    This is common sense

    I think you'll find that most moderate members of 'minorities' will accept the need for this. In the early 1990s I parked my car at about midnight on a double yellow line to go clubbing. There were about another 50 cars, all parked on double yellow lines. We all parked there regularly. When I emerged in the early hours to go home my car wasn't there. All the others were. So I went to the local Met police station to report the theft. The police officer informed me my car wasn't stolen, it had been taken to the pound and its return would cost me a long journey and a huge fee. I asked him why my car. He told me that I had parked outside an army recruiting office and I had an Irish surname. It was a case of better safe than sorry.

    Look, I could have got bitter about this, but I knew Irish people were killing my fellow citizens, so I accepted it. I also refused to give money for 'Irish nationalists' when they came collecting in the pub. And I understood getting spat at as a kid of Irish descent when I was at primary school after the pub bombings in Birmingham. People were angry at what Irish extremists were doing. I knew the extremists needed to be defeated so people weren't killed having a drink and I wasn't spat at or had my car towed away so I accepted the reasonable profiling.

    Most Muslims I know feel the extremists need to be targeted and caught, so accept the need for reasonable profiling, given that resources are not, despite what the cash-consuming quangos think, infinite. If we don't use statistical analysis we will fail, as we have done with street crime in London. And those who claim, post 9/11 and the tube bombings, that Islamic extremist terrorism isn't a clear and present danger beyond all others is living in cloud cuckoo land. In fact, it is disgusting.

    PS The number one target of the security services, based upon the evidence, are non-asian or mid-eastern converts to Islam. A friend's brother, white, who went to Damascus to study theology, has is computer confiscated about once every six months.

  45. Capt John Yossarian

    Who cares

    I've got a passport with biometric doodads and God knows what data on it. I've been fingerprinted and given retinal scan at La Guardia. I've had a DNA swab taken by UK Plod for being stupid with driving under influence. There is a plethora of data on me held in a ridiculous number of governmental and commercial systems.

    None of this bothers me at all. Surely I can't be the only one around who doesn't give a flying fuck about all of this. Let them scan my balls all they want.

    My only concern is would I be arrested for indecency if all this attention on my member made him rise to the occasion! I think we should be told...

    ps Does this mean I can't take a stash with me on my jollidays abroad anymore?

  46. Len Goddard


    I'm all for these things if I can just walk through without having to unpack my carryon or remove my shoes.

    Have another queue for people who object. Anyone who takes it, however, must do so in the knowledge that they are likely to encounter bodysearches, luggage unpacking and the intimate attention of sniffer dogs

  47. fifi


    I find it somewhat ironic that while it's widely accepted that the most effective way of identifying potential risks is down to profiling, it's also being argued that it's in breach of privacy or human rights.

    What about my right to be defended by the state in the optimal way?

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the answer is simple...

    .... scan everyone with no exceptions.

    there cannot be any claims of discrimination then.

    the first time an MP or a child or a transgender is granted a special exclusion is the beginning of a crack that will eventually be exploited.

    The terrorists have won (our Government is paralysed by terror)... we just have to work out what it's going to cost us now in civil liberty and taxation to "feel safe" again.

    When the IRA waged their campaign on Britain thre wasn't this knee jerk reaction, and common sense eventually prevailed yet rather than try to resolve the issues the West is now going on a - largely unjustified when bits of the truth leak out - war on terror which just causes the problem to escalate.

    AC because I travel and who know when Google will be connected to airport security!

  49. Sean Hunter

    Not tried to check in luggage

    Look. This is ridiculously not suspicious. I travel a great deal. I never *ever* check in baggage if I can possibly help it. I went to NYC for four months using only hand luggage. It would be insane to profile people on the basis of whether or not they check in luggage.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    An Interesting Problem

    The agenda has been set and pretty much mandated by a determined government, working in cahoots with police and 'security services' (a term which, daily, gets ever more sinister here in the UK). Terrorists and Paedomonsters. Man, there is such a lot of mileage in these twin pillars of supreme evil and I'm afraid governments all over the world have not been slow to realise the potential to exploit.

    The photographing of children's genitals - children of both sexes, from all races and religious backgrounds - as a matter of routine in British Airports might just prove a little too much to stomach for a great many. It will be interesting to see the carefully-worded responses of the child protection industry - especially CEOP, who have, after all, been so very instrumental in creating the bulk of the new law here in the UK surrounding classifications of what constitutes an 'indecent' image and a 'sexual offence' against a child (anyone 17 or younger).

    How will they justify this? Keep watching.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not Needed

    Sensationalistic voyeurism by the mainstream media is falsely hyping "full body image scanners" as the only technological magic fix to airline terrorism.

    If Somalia can detect "underwear bombs" without them, why waste money on intrusive "child porn" / "see through your clothes" image scanners at airports?

    A Somali man was arrested in Mogadishu last month as he tried to board an aircraft bound for Dubai carrying powdered chemicals and a syringe, in what appears to be an almost identical method to the one used by Abdulmutallab.

  52. Adam T

    Security is Self-Defeating

    The more focussed security measures are, and again the more public knowledge of them is available, the less effective and reliable they become.

    If someone is intent on causing harm, and they're fully aware of all the variables which will prevent this, then they'll approach the situation creatively. There's no shortage of innovation among the criminal caste.

    The only way to prevent these sort of acts occurring is through good intelligence and diligence. We've already seen public diligence in action on the Christmas Day Underpants attempt - albeit they were lucky, and the overriding news story from that attempt was that the intelligence services are a failure.

    Besides which, full body scanners don't prevent terrorists, as anyone who has seen Total Recall can testify.

  53. kain preacher

    @ Ac14:40 GMT

    Can't fault the logic if history and fact are anything to go by.

    Sept 11: How many white bombers?

    Jul 7: How many white bombers?

    The Oklahoma City bombing occurred on April 19, 1995 when American militia movement sympathizer Timothy McVeigh, with the assistance of Terry Nichols, destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.[1] It was the most significant act of terrorism on American soil until the September 11 attacks in 2001, claiming the lives of 168 victims and injuring more than 680.[2][3] The blast destroyed or damaged 324 buildings within a sixteen–block radius,[4] destroyed or burned 86 cars, and shattered glass in 258 nearby buildings.[5] The bomb was estimated to have caused at least $652 million worth of damage.[6

  54. Alex Walsh
    Thumb Down

    Heaven Forbid...

    ....that limited resources are targeted effectively at a particular group of people that shows a propensity for mid air explosion- lets extend it to cover EVERYBODY in case we might offend some one.

    It's taken Labour ten years to get the powers that be thinking like this, lets hope we can turn it around a lot quicker.

  55. JaitcH

    Children have rights adults don't enjoy?

    How come children enjoy rights that adults don't?

    Although I have been in the Army will ones 'assets' in public view, these latest technologies are a step too far.

    I am a frequent traveller, although I now avoid U.K. airports and use Continental ones instead, and it seems that other jurisdictions whose airports I travel through have a good reputation without strip X-rays.

    When was the last Israeli incident? (They don't use these scanners and yet are terrorists number 1 target).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yes, it's ironic

      I'd already decided in future I'll take the train to the continent, then catch a flight from there. Unfortunately this last decade the only place I've been flying to was France! Still it's the thought that counts.

  56. Anonymous Coward

    Simple Solution, perhaps Final

    Its so easy to resolve. we just make all the Muslims wear green stars or crescents on their clothes so that they can be easily identified. Then we can have special Muslim only flights, they'd be more than happy to have planes dedicated to them, their own music, films, stewardess in burkas, and they can pay the extra for such luxury. If this fails then just ban them from flying altogether or deport the lot of them. No people, no problem...simples.

    Now all we need is a Charismatic political leader with the balls to make it happen. I live in hope

    1. Anonymous Coward

      >"a Charismatic political leader with the balls to make it happen"

      Quite ironic that, given his (now historically-verified!) noticeable lack in that very department!

      *wanders off, nonchalantly whistling the Colonel Bogey March*

  57. davefb

    yeah yeah , but

    Who cares about the civil liberties... What about the statements that theres only a 50 to 60% chance all that expensive new equipment would have actually caught this bloke, let alone the plans that come along after these new scanners are used. So basically, all this pointless expense will make us no safer, it's just the makers of the kit that prattle on about 'how great they are'. Why not just make us all go through naked, it'd be cheaper.

    And yeah, I do recall the time when vaguely irish people were targeted in simplistic terms, it made reasonable people extremely angry ( rightfully) and just played right into the hands of the terrorists by creating a legitimate 'target'.

  58. Steve Swann


    ...Back at the ranch the mythical al-qaeda are already stuffing the tires of a wheelchair with explosives and dressing their latest recruit up as a young, disabled jewish girl.....


  59. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Scanners are good

    Body scanner are much better than the current system - from the passenger's convenience point of view.

    We need this kind of step change in technology because the current "system" is not a system at all but a collection of knee-jerk reactions from clueless bureaucrats.

    This old security "system" has grown to become so onerous that it is liable to collapse under its own weight (in a metaphorical sense). Really, the only logical progressions of the current "system" is to insist that people fly strictly without hand-and hold- luggage, dressed in a Govt-issue disposable paper jumpsuits and only once they have undergone 2 days supervised fasting in case they ate or drank some explosives...

    The new scanners rewind the clock by giving me - as a passenger - some respite from the "take off your shoes, belt and tooth fillings" humiliation, while retaining at least the same level of the security official's satisfaction and sense of accomplishment as the old "system" does.

    The body scanners should be used universally for everyone. In that way no one will be able to play the "discrimination" card.

    And another important reason - when you use body scanners for everyone it so much weakens the arguments of the apologists of profiling (i.e. the pathological control freakes who are a worse menace to our society than the actual terrorists).

    As far as the issue of pictures is concerned - anyone who raises it should be sent for immediate anti-paedophilian psychological evaluation, hormone re-balancing and electroshock re-training - as only a hard core paedophile can think that these blurry images can excite anyone.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      liable to collapse under its own weight

      This old security "system" has grown to become so onerous that it is liable to collapse under its own weight

      Yes, and now one more heave should do it.

  60. Anonymous Coward

    Risk factors

    Being of middle-eastern skin colour doesn't mean he necessarily *is* a terrorist, and not being of middle-eastern skin colour doesn't mean he necessarily *isn't* a terrorist.

    Smoking doesn't necessarily mean you *will* get cancer, and not smoking doesn't necessarily mean you *won't* get cancer.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      "Risk factors" just a euphemism for preconceived notions ...

      ... if you don't do the actual maths. One in three smokers is killed by it. Nothing remotely like one in three people of middle-eastern skin colour is a terrorist. You might as well say "being of MESC doesn't mean he necessarily *will* get struck by lightning, and not being of MESC doesn't mean he necessarily *won't* get struck by lightning", and claim that you've proved that it makes sense to assume people of MESC are more likely to be struck by lightning.

      If a "person of middle eastern skin colour" is ten times more likely to be a terrorist, and because of this you decide to target all "people of middle eastern skin colour" and ending up doing thousands times more work, you've lost: you've wasted 99.9% of the resources you've thrown into the fight against terrorism. We could actually lose this battle if we put a thousand times as much time and money into it as we actually need to just because our targeting is so random that nine hundred and ninetynine of those times are just wasted.

  61. Allan Rutland

    Course its going to get used to segregate people....

    Tall curvy blonds this way please :D

  62. Anonymous Coward

    It's all part of airport theatre

    And even if they do full body (exterior) scans of everyone; they have no effective way of doing full body interior scans unless they stick you in some rather high-power xrays (like those old machines they used to use so you could see your feet in your new shoes). Can't see through it? Yeah, NOT!

    I'm doing my best to not fly anywhere. In the US they are trying to stop all carry-on so you have to check everything. What an open invitation to all the thieves who work at the air services to go through your bags to take whatever valuables you've had to check. Does anyone (sane) really feel safer? I doubt it.

  63. Sceptical Bastard

    @ Mike Richards

    "Do immigrants cause cancer? Melanie Phillips investigates." I nearly pissed meself (or PMSL as they say on IRC). Well said, that man :)

    On reflection, a lower level of personal privacy should apply to people who travel in flying bombs (aka civil airliners) than to people doing less potentially dangerous things.

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Why should title be required on reply posts?

      First of all, passengers are no "doing" flying - that's the pilot's job. Passengers are being carried.

      Secondly, flying is much safer than most activities, such as driving or using nail gun or, apparently, moving computer monitors around.

      So, I don't see how can a lower level of personal privacy be justified when applied to air-passengers.

      However, the entire notion of privacy has been totally screwed up in the feeble public minds. It appears that people think their privacy is violated when someone is looking at their fuzzy, blurry silhouette on the scanner's screen but it is not when they are being silently profiled by some bored (low) intelligence staffer who has a target to produce an x number of hits per months to get his bonus at the end of the year.

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Oh, for Pete's sake!

    Simply make everybody walk though the scanner, and immediately fire anyone who gets a hard-on while watching the monitor! I don't see what the big deal is here. I don't really care who sees my naughty-bits, but of course laughing or giggling at the image would be considered unsporting!

  65. Robert E A Harvey
    Thumb Down

    Wrong problem

    I don't think we should be worried about the operators being perverts. I think we should worry about them going insane. For every lustworthy body they get to look at through smoked glass, they will have to watch 132 like mine.

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Bad idea

    This is a violation of civil liberties with no clear benefit. Effectiveness is highly debatable. Worse, it gives an additional tool to 'security' staff who already are well known being less than honourable. There have already been documented cases of security people stealing items from passengers. Now we want to give them what amounts pornography. I'm sorry, but I just don't trust security people that much.

    Certain minority groups like transgender are especially at risk against this sort of thing. They have no threat profile whatsoever, but are routinely and maliciously harassed by security, police, etc, for no reason other than being who they are.

    All these commenters who believe that everyone should be scanned, no exceptions, clearly have never been faced the hateful bigotry of law enforcement who is supposed to be there to protect them.

  67. heyrick Silver badge

    Profiling vs privacy concerns

    For many years my mother and I would come to our home in France via Brittany Ferries at Portsmouth. In the beginning (late '90s) they would stop and examine every 13th car (13, sense of humour, no?). Then, around 2001, we were stopped. Number 5. So we opened up, let them poke around. And we asked "how come you aren't stopping them in 13s any more?". He looked surprised that it was noticed by General Public. After a few moments, and noticing all the old "damage" to the windscreen from those near-impossible-to-remove stickers they give you for the loading personnel, the security man sighed and said "we can't stop every 13th car, it could be discrimination".

    "Are you serious?" I asked.

    "Unfortunately yes."

    I agree with one of the many ACs - stop everybody or stop nobody. Those are the only viable options in lieu of sniffer dogs and the like making a target. For what's the "discrimination" is being placed 13th? Something like five lanes filter into one, so it would be a pretty hairy job of arranging to get every suspect being 13th in line. It'd be so much easier to just pull them over. But then they'd just scream discrimination again, no?

    I think all of this search-discrimination comes down to one thing. "Search anybody but ME." So the rules should be clear. No search, no fly. End of.

    Exclamation mark 'cos that's what you'll see printed on the side of the scanner.

    [bootnote: this isn't to say I believe in searching and scanning; I reckon it is only really useful against people stupid enough to try to take knives on planes... but if it gives the false impression of safety... then whatever.]

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov


      "this isn't to say I believe in searching and scanning; I reckon it is only really useful against people stupid enough to try to take knives on planes... but if it gives the false impression of safety..."

      Yes, the real threat was, is and will be the bad guys having a co-conspirator among the airside staff at the ariports. Therefore, excuse me for saying this once again, the scanners are much better for passengers - much less hassle than the current procedures.

  68. Mark 65


    Don't generally work and supposedly wouldn't have for this instance but if you're going to use them you either scan everyone or, given it would slow things down too much, scan at random. You'd need a machine to pick at random as a human would just superimpose their own prejudices.

    Myself I think that sniffer dogs roaming the airports and the random "chemical sniff" test like that used in Australian airports is a better idea.

  69. Malcolm Boura 2

    Law harms children (and adults)

    The fuss over children and scanners has nothing to do with chid protection, well not on any rational consideration of facts. It is driven by prejudice and paranoia backed up by badly written legislation. There is strong evidence that the present mess causes far more harm to children than it prevents but it is an emotive issue and the political process panders to popular prejudice and paranoia.

    For those who don't know, the core of the present legislation was rushed through Parliament in a in a climate of moral panic whipped up by Mary Whitehouse. It doesn't matter how good the intentions, acting on emotive rabble rousing assertions instead of facts, and causing so much harm, is unforgivable.

  70. Futumsh
    Thumb Up

    Nexus of evil

    Now, all we need is for the scanners to be operated by pedophile, terrorist sympathising, climate change-denying Israeli bankers and we will create a nexus of evil that allows demons from the fifth circle to enter our reality via a temporal vortex created by the evil body scanners.

    They have been using these scanners in Moscow for years. They are typically operated by rather attractive security ladies with rather tight fitting uniforms. It's a highlight.

  71. PoshTed

    Catch 22,,,

    If we use scanners (which may not work anyway) we may be infringing human rights,,,

    But if we don't use them we may be leaving the door open for terrorists,,,,

    If we only scan certain people and exclude others (e.g. children, disabled) then the scans will never be truly effective,,,,, So Catch 22 is achieved - We need to scan but can't,,,,

    So until we have a more effective & less controversial system that is truly random, we should leave things as they are - after all even security forces state that public vigilence is the most effective tool.

    1. Shadowthrone
      Thumb Up

      Glad I do not travel

      You see, things like this make me glad I do not travel. I do not own a passport, I have no intention of ever getting a passport. I would rather walk back out of the airport than step through one of those scanners.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like