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January 5, 2010

UK airports' strip-search scanners may breach child porn laws

     London: Privacy campaigners in Britain claim that the full body scanners introduced at airports in the country threaten to breach child protection laws, which ban the creation of indecent images of children. The campaigners said that the images created by the 80,000 pounds scanners are so graphic that they amount to "virtual strip-searching" and have called for safeguards to protect the privacy of passengers involved. The Gordon Brown government now faces demands to exempt under 18s from the scans or face the delays of introducing new legislation to ensure airport security staff do not commit offences under child pornography laws. They also face demands to ensure that the images from the scanners, including those of celebrities, do not end up on the Internet. Meanwhile, the UK Department for Transport confirmed that the "child porn" problem was among the "legal and operational issues" under discussion in Whitehall. "We understand the concerns expressed about privacy in relation to the deployment of body scanners. It is vital staff are properly trained and we are developing a code of practice to ensure these concerns are properly taken into account," The Guardian quoted a Department for Transport spokesman, as saying. "Existing safeguards also mean those operating scanners are separated from the device, so unable to see the person to whom the image relates, and these anonymous images are deleted immediately," the spokesman added.
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