back to article PM: UK airports to get perv scanners next week

Gordon Brown today said body scanners will be introduced in UK airports next week. The PM didn't say which airports or who will be scanned. The Home Secretary has suggested travellers will be selected for scanning by profiling techniques, prompting concerns from the human rights watchdog. A spokeswoman for the largest …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    but why

    but why not just get sniffer dogs?

    1. Mark 65 Silver badge


      'Cos your mate isn't on the board of directors or you're not looking for a juicy directorship at a doggy company after your incompetent arse is voted out. That's why. Effectiveness has nothing to do with it.

  2. Andy 97
    Thumb Down

    Bloody hell!

    How much more will the average traveller need to endure?

    And when this current level of security is decreased, will that mean the scanners will be decommissioned?

    1. serviceWithASmile
      Black Helicopters


      levels of security have *never* decreased.

      they only ever increase... these machines wont be decommissioned, they will be upgraded or replaced with whatever comes next.

  3. David Hicks
    Big Brother

    At least it resolves the age old question

    Is that an incendiary device in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me?

  4. iamapizza

    It's not so bad

    I'm fine with this new system if it helps them with their security theater. My only concern - I hope I don't have an erection when I'm being scanned by one of those. They might laugh.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's not so bad

      unless you get done for Sexual harrasment. A coincidental erection, a nervous tick mistaken for a wink and bam! A lifetime on sex offenders register for you!

      *serious face* Other than potential for giggles from scanner operators, what will the repercussions of an overexcited male being full body scanned be? Lewd behavior? Indecent exposure? ...Won't someone please think of the women/children...

    2. Tom 35

      Not so bad?

      They will not laugh, but they will add you to the sex offenders DB.

    3. Steve Evans

      Re: It's not so bad

      Do you often find invasive security checks that stimulating?

      If so I'm sure you could request the full body cavity search.

  5. Tom_


    The thing that people seem to be missing is that airport security already works. Nobody is managing to get effective bombs onto planes as it is. The 'Christmas Day Bomber' only managed to smuggle aboard a device that set him on fire a bit.

    I wish we could stop wasting so much time and money on this shit.

  6. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Govmt : How can we stop people flying?

    If we legislate against it people will say its a breach of their human rights.

    OK lets make security lax then a terrorist will blow up a plane and then we can tighten up security and make the buggers hang around the airport for longer than it takes to walk there.



    Er thats not working - people are still flying abroad!

    I know lets make them show us heir tits! That'll stop flying to magaloof to sunbathe topless....

    Kafka was a deranged optimist!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The title is too long

    "Doubts have been raised over whether they would have detected Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab's device concealed in his underwear."

    'cos they have run tests since Christmas to check this out haven't they?

    Haven't they?

  8. Mike 68

    Shares in Bacofoil to rise

    Now all the nutters will need tin-foil pants to go with their lovely shiny hats

  9. thejackle


    If the current laws prohibit the scanning of under 18's then it's pointless from a security point of view. Just a waste of money.

  10. SouthernWaylander

    Always an unhappy employee somewhere.....

    You can put all the machines you want in the airport, and it wouldn't change a thing... If some baggage handlers can get away with digging through your luggage and taking things, what stops them from putting explosives in your luggage just before take off?

    All you need is one unhappy sucker from security/cleaning/luggage/cabin crew etc. and you have a hole in a billion pound system. The amount of fake passports and documents flying about the UK make it possible for suicidal wannabe's to apply for work at any airport. Should they be effective enough to get the job the scanners won't help anyone.

    The high grade explosives needed for real damage can be difficult enough to get hold of. All the other bloke got was roasted nuts with the crap he was given.....

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      @Always an unhappy employee somewhere

      That's ok cos they'll have ID cards - with the magic ani-terrorism features

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Always a dodgy airport somewhere...

      And no-one really concentrated on the fact that the guy travelled from Nigeria and could have been waved through security there for all we get to hear.

      After having read disturbing stuff about baggage handlers actually wearing stuff they've pulled out of luggage ( - pertinent to various drugs-related trials going on at the time - should the focus not actually be on what airport insiders might be getting up to, rather than installing huge amounts of equipment and pestering the average hassled traveller all the time?

      1. Vigilant Mouse

        Dodgy airports....

        So the government has decided to ban direct flights to the UK from Yemen, which will be really effective against would-be terrorists who haven't yet worked out how to change planes and arrive from somewhere nice and secure like Amsterdam.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    so what......

    If it is quicker to get through security via the scanner then I am all for it.....

    What’s the problem? Are the pictures going to be published in hello magazine? Maybe some freak will be getting his or her rocks off at the images, but no more than the people who do the pat down searches get there rocks off...

    One of the biggest issues I have getting through a airport to the departure gate is the droves of fuckwits who fail to use common sense and fail to read and understand simple instructions....

    one time I was getting a flight to Florida, one woman was kicking off over a tub of cream for her babies bum . They would not let her take it on the plane.... she had the biggest tub of cream I had ever seen in my life, it was like a bucket... and this was back when the clear Ziploc bags and no bigger than 100ml of each liquid or cream was first introduced. She must have heard it on the news... how much cream do you need over one flight? Surely a little 50ml tub would have done and put the big one in the baggage... or buy one when you get to where you’re going....

    the amount of people carrying xmas presents in hand luggage all wrapped up, and were going mad because they wouldn’t let them on unless it was unwrapped, then cans of deodorant removed etc.... it was a nightmare....

    Both my daughter and I are both diabetic, and had a full complement of diabetic equipment, including needles and insulin, just as deadly to a non diabetic as a gun. But we had no problems. Why? Because we knew the rules, had letters from the doctor (which wasn’t even looked at) and only carried what we needed for the flight....

    If you’re flying anywhere, you know the rules, it makes no difference if the rules are justified or not, they are there and have to be followed

    In the words of our future prime minister, Jeremy Clarkson, how hard can it be?

    mines the one thats been pre-searched...

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Selfish git

      To paraphrase your argument "As long as it doesn't inconvenience me, it is alright".

    2. Andrew_F
      Thumb Down

      Just because it's a rule doesn't make it right.

      When did "I don't want strangers to look at me naked" stop being a reasonable position?

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Pathetic waste of time

    All the demonstrations of this machinery show people hiding knives or guns, these are easily detected by much less expensive scanners which are already in place.

    It's already been admitted that these new scanners don't detect things like the partial bomb the would be Chistmas bomber had strapped to his leg.

    This is the government paying lip service to keep people calm and prevent panic, it's nothing more than this. It's also a complete waste of money, a lot of money.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Profiles, in more ways than one

    Will fat people [1] be subject to more suspicion than thin people on the grounds that they likely have more explosives '"up 'em" ?

    Or will this be more traditional - prejudicial - profiling, when you happen to look non-white, maybe Arab, and someone has a hunch you might not be following the right deity ?

    If the next so-called Jihadic terrorism on a plane is perpetrated by someone white, from the home counties, dressed as a vicar, exploding their undies it's going to be interesting what the authorities do next.

    [1] Fat, obese, overweight, larger, big-boned, chubby, cuddly, bloody nuisance when next to me in a seat - take your personal pick.

  14. Bassey


    I'm almost glad the recession means I can't afford to fly off on holiday any more. Almost.

  15. Anonymous Coward


    This really is getting to be the last straw.

    Flying today is a pretty unpleasant experience as it is. I think I'll just give up on it altogether if they start insisting on this crap.

    Time to buy that boat I've been promising myself...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I haven't bothered renewing my passport since it expired - I've really no desire to fly anymore :/

      1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
        Big Brother

        That's why you have to get an ID card

        See title

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Inevitable and unstoppable

    "...The Home Secretary has suggested travellers will be selected for scanning by profiling techniques..."

    Anyone else find that sentence at all chilling?

    So this is where we've got to. We should not be surprised. At the same time our Home Secretary is saying he'll merrily disregard the European Court of Human Rights ruling that Section 44 is illegal in the UK, having these scanners installed was always going to go ahead without the need for undue consultation or hesitation. You don't build a surveillance nation by waiting for everyone to agree to it.

    FFS, when exactly is the next General Election? It honestly cannot come a day too soon. It's like this bunch of criminals are trying to inflict as much damage on our civil freedoms as they can before the day finally comes they get booted out of office.

    1. Jeff Deacon

      Re: Inevitable and unstoppable

      Don't worry too much about the election, it won't make blind bit of difference on two counts:

      1. There really isn't any difference between NuLabour and BluLabour. After all, Cameron is the "heir to Blair", and the rot really got underway on Blair's shift.

      2. Our government is no longer in Westminster, but in Brussels where they merely pull the strings of the pseuds in Westmonster. Since they signed the Lisbon Constitution Treaty, our Prime Minister has been required by EU law to do what is he told by Brussels. The only question that he is permitted to ask when our national government in Brussels has said "Jump!" is "How high, sir?"

      As for your question, YES. "Selected for special treatment" springs to mind.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Before people vote like Britards...

      Is there some kind of campaign where all the objections to the privacy/rights-eroding work of the New Labour years is formulated in such a way - a kind of manifesto, if you like - that any political party or candidate with a shred of decency and honesty (yes, a rare thing in politics) can commit to publicly? If not, is it not time that one was fired up?

      People shouldn't be tempted to "vote Conservative because they're the opposite of Labour, innit?" What we really need is a way of formulating what the true opposition really is so that we can all go out and vote for it.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        The Freedom Bill

        Do you mean like the Liberal Democrats' Freedom Bill?

        You don't have to be Lib Dem to support the Freedom Bill.

        And in light of the Conservatives' claims to have nothing more than a cigarette paper between themselves and the Lib Dems when it comes to civil liberties, it's also an opportunity to put pressure on Tory candidates to add their support to the Freedom Bill.

  17. Whirlpool

    Daily Fail scaremongering

    I was scanned by a millimetre wave thingy in Schiphol last week, and was shown the image it had captured of me.

    There was nothing showing that could be interpreted as inappropriate in any way (I'm ready for witty replies there!) so I can only assume the Daily Mail are up to their usual tricks.

    The most upsetting thing about the image was the ghostly image of my hair, which made me look like a cyberman on the scan!

    1. Alfie Noakes

      Test mode?

      But i thought that these machines didn't "store" the image, so how were you able to see it??

    2. teebie

      There is more than one brand of scanning machinee

      And the scanning machines can be calibrated in different ways.

      Your experience shows the they *can* be set up to be relatively unobtrusive, not that they will be in practice. (Different news shows have different footage, showing very different images)

      In practice some will probably be set up this way, others set up for the interests of pervy scanners. There won't be any oversight, you won't be shown what the scanner is doing, and if you make a fuss they will do all they can to make you trip an unpleasant as possible

  18. Mike Shepherd


    Either a lot of people like making bombs to pass the time or they have a good reason to express so forcibly their view of UK foreign policy.

    I wonder which it is.

    1. MadonnaC
      Big Brother

      Surveillance is doubleplus good

      Yes, citizen. I am glad you see the good from your govenment. Remember that in the future we will be able to make you to brush your teeth, make you do your moning exersize and get you up in time to go to work,

      You have nothing to worry about. Only the enemies of the state will have to worry.

  19. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  20. Stephane Mabille

    Ion detector


    Aren't Ion detectors far more efficient and without intrusion/imaging issue.... just detecting any ridiculous trace of explosive and/or narcotic.

    I suspect they are far far more expensive, especially taking into account the quantity required as they can hardly process more than 2 or 3 passenger/minute.... That would make a huge array to deploy at Heathrow...

    Now let's be realistic, isn't the first goal of terrorism to make people live in fear and the associated reduction in freedom? Sounds to me like they managed it quite well (to the pleasure of some political and industrial).

    How many dead by terrorism in western nation each year? How many killed by alcohol? Might be worth spending that money on education and development, here and abroad, tackling the root causes.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ceremonial opening

    And Gordon Brown, or perhaps a minor royal is going to be the first one through at the opening ceremony, while the press cameras click?

    or are they going to always be VIPed through another channel (despite, historically and worldwide, the number of royals involved in death plots -- see hamlet or macbeth for some fictionalised accounts)

  22. ElReg!comments!Pierre


    Looks like UK taxpayers will finance the ECHR for the next century or so....

  23. Dale 3

    Can you refuse

    Does anyone know* whether you are allowed to refuse to be scanned, and submit to a pat-down search instead? I have nothing to hide, but I don't particularly want my bits on display even to an operator in a remote location who isn't capable of putting them on a website. I just don't want them looking. I don't mind the pat-down if they think it will help.

    *As in, does anyone actually KNOW, as opposed to simply guessing about what they think ought to be the case.

  24. Richard C.

    Will "all" passengers be scanned?

    Will all passengers be scanned by these machines (which have proven to be ineffective- if you haven't seen/read any of the previous reports, at least look at the recent German TV interview where the scanner picked up the persons microphone and pen: but missed all the chemicals etc), or will first-class passengers and VIPs such as MPs/Celebs mysteriously have a "free pass" past them?

  25. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    AC@16:58, Cost versus benefit..


    Worst case 141 days. Likely (May 6th) or 106 days max.

    How much will *one* of these cost.


    How many terrorists will it catch?

    Almost none

    Cost per machine. *very* large.

    Handy hint. What do El Al use?

    Are these things on sale or leaseback. If' ther're not this will cost an arm and a leg off UK Taxpayers.

  26. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    @Inevitable and unstoppable

    Weren't the bombs in London on the tube and a bus?

    Wouldn't it make more sense then to install scanners at all tube stations and on all buses?

    Since that will rather slow down loading of passengers so you will need to do some pre-selection. Perhaps a separate door at the back of the bus with a scanner for people with the appropriate skin colour?

  27. Lewis Paragraph

    I don't know what scares me most...

    ... the shower of malfeasance and incompetence that passes for gumment and opposition

    ... or Joe Public who is happy to sit back and let all this shit happen.

    As it stands the election won't solve any of this. Different names, same shit, higher taxes.

  28. PaulK

    I would like to know if...

    ...the people who vote against the posts that accept the new machines and implore those who are against them to fuck off; have they ever flown? When you fly about 100 times a year, you would welcome anything that expedites your passage through the airport. privacy be buggered. All I want to do is get to the lounge and get pissed. Now go away.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down


      So you willingly sacrifice your freedom and privacy all to go get pissed sooner?

      You must be one sad person...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Both as passenger and flight crew. Thank you for asking.

      Incidentally, I despise inebriated pax in both capacities.

  29. Dr. Mouse

    Someone has to lower the tone...

    For a start:

    "Doubts have been raised over whether they would have detected Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab's device concealed in his underwear"

    Why? Was it that small?

    And point B: I tried to put that quote in the title, and was told it was too long.

    Obviously a problem he didn't have.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Risk in proportion...

    The last time an aircraft was destroyed by terror in the UK was the Lockerbie incident in 1988 (and even then, the incident originated in Frankfurt). 270 innocent people died, tragically.

    Yet today in the UK, around 300 people have tragically died from smoking related causes. The same yesterday too. And the day before. And before that too. And again before that.

    After passing through security checks at Heathrow, you will be offered bulk packs of cigarettes in duty free.

    Yet you're 20,000 times more likely to die as a consequence of cigarettes than you are from terrorism.

  31. Anonymous Coward

    It could be worse

    At least we're still allowed to take underpants on to planes.

  32. Magnets

    Will I?

    I don't mind the scanners as long as I have a brief chance to "enhance" my image beforehand.

    Will the airport employ fluffers for those of us less well endowed?

  33. Steve Evans


    At some of the small airports like Grenoble the luggage x-ray is right behind the check-in desk and if they see something amusing they call their mates over and put the bag through again. So now when I'm flying from there I try to arrange any cables I have in my luggage into a smiley face.

    So I was wondering if I cut out letters of aluminium (aluminum) foil and stick them to my body, can I write messages for them?

    "The guy behind me looks shifty"

    "These are not the droid you are looking for"


  34. Walt-Erego
    Big Brother

    So, how long before

    a full body scan image is required to be provided for obtaining a passport / ID card as part of the biometrics......

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Forget that

      Only a matter of time before your local supermarket needs a full body scan if you want to buy alcohol, knives, glue, energy drinks, any useful cooking utensils, cigarettes, games, music, movies etc etc etc

      "You don't look over 18, lets get a closer look at your genitals to make sure"

      by that time all peadophiles(TM) will have been locked up due to the governments hugely successful eCRB and ContactPoint databases (in reality of course the peados will simply be working for the government where they can dodge the system). Anyway, all peadophiles(TM) will have been locked up so you won't need to worry about checkout staff potentially seeing naked kids. If in doubt, scan 'em.

      Maybe the scanner can even be hooked up to the security monitors, you know the ones that let you see yourself enter and leave the shop? Yeah those ones.

      After all, you wouldn't want kids to get knifes, would you? Nevermind the fact that ALL children have access to knives anyway (ever heard of a kitchen?), this is import crime stopping shit.

      Step this way sir, into the body scanner.

  35. ShaggyDoggy

    @ AC cigarettes

    "Yet you're 20,000 times more likely to die as a consequence of cigarettes than you are from terrorism"

    Yes but fags are by choice

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      A better example would be the chance of being run down by a driver, or slipping in the bath. Both are vastly more likely then dying by terrorism, but we arn't going to ban cars or stop taking baths/showers.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    AirPort Undies [TM]

    I'm going to manufacture a range of hard to scan, non metalic underwear (if that is possible).


    "Keep out those pervy jobsworths"

    "Wear AirPort Undies [TM] whenever you visit the airport"

    1. Cameron Colley

      For selling to perverts, one assumes?

      Since wearing them would make you almost guaranteed to be pulled aside for strip-searching or worse.

  37. teebie

    Somebody needs a Paxmanning

    So the situation is a nutter took a device that perv-scanners can't detect onto a plane, tried to make it explode (*), and was tackled by a dutchman who left his seat to restrain the nutter.

    How is the correct response to install perv-scanners (which wouldn't have stopped this happening) and stop people from leaving their seat (meaning now everyone is free to set their groins on fire unmolested)?

    (*) he would have failed, because things that aren't explosive don't explode, but that doesn't make a huge amount of difference

  38. Anonymous Coward

    Said it before...

    To save the waves, no matter what they are...i'm going naked...just stripping off and wandering through...not going near those devices :) Keep em! No one needs cancer.....

  39. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

    Ooofhhh!!! Suit you Sir

    I can see how this will work, natural, natural, fun bags, natural, Bulgarian fun bags, excuse me miss, we need to examine you…..

    “The Home Secretary has suggested travellers will be selected for scanning by profiling techniques”

    Fantastic idea, by profiling possible terrorists they will be able to keep all the evil people out of a country, for example that would have kept Timothy McVeigh out of ‘merkin land and he wouldn’t have been able to blow up the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City….

    Oh hang on…….

    I think the Home Secretary has been watching too much “Criminal Minds” & “CSI” fantasy television

  40. Anonymous Coward


    "Doubts have been raised over whether they would have detected Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab's device concealed in his underwear."

    So no one has actually decided to test this????????

    Epic Fail....

  41. Wize

    Why keep it secret?

    We'll all know when they start scanning people. It will start with anecdotal posts, then the list of airports will travel round the net faster than a Haiti joke.

    Why not tell us now?

  42. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    6x4s available on board

    The airport could print & sell the images to passengers after they board.

    A sort of holiday memento.

    Like the photos they take as you board a cruise ship...

    Stewardess 1: "Hmmm, this looks like 32A, or is it 45B?"

    Stewardess 2: "No, that's more like 5C"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Flash Mountain (*) all over again

      More like the ones they take of you on theme park rides, although you'd have to work hard on a theme park ride to attain the same level of nudity.


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