Passengers using Terminal 2 at Manchester Airport to fly from now on will be asked to subject them selves to strip-search — a contemporary digital age strip-search that is.
The airport is starting a year-long trial of a new but controversial X-ray device which allows security staff to scan and see through people’s clothes, making them appear naked.
Sensitivities concerning the latest technological advancements in aviation security are apparently running high. So much so that employees have been instructed to call the device “imaging technology” rather than the more obvious “body scanner”.
The machine produces a ghost-like outline of a naked body of the passenger as he or she passes through with their hands placed on both sides of their heads. And yes, the device does expose private parts.
The machine exposes all, breast enlargements, hip replacements, piercings, and, more importantly, potentially armful things such as guns and knives.
If the test run proves to be successful, the £80,000 scanner may be installed in all airports in the UK. This technology will be used at the airport instead of the familiar “pat down” searches where people must remove shoes, coats, jackets and belts as well as emptying their pockets before passing through the scanner.
This scanner is already being introduced in the US, where the Transport Security Agency recently placed an order for 1,000 devices with Rapiscan Systems.
Officials at Manchester International Airport do know that the scanners reveal genitals and breasts but insisted the images are far from being pornographic or erotic.
Manchester International Airport head of customer service Sarah Barrett said passengers don’t like being searched by security officials during airport checks but understand the necessity of the measures in order to enhance safety.