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Sunday, 18 October 2009 17:00

Manchester strip-searches vs. paedophilia

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The Internet is awash with news that Manchester Airport has suddenly found itself in hot water over the RapiScan whole body scanner, already in use in a number of US airports and being evaluated at many more around the world.

The project at Manchester Airport was "full steam ahead," until some kind sole pointed out the requirements of the UK's Protection of Children Act, which stated that "it is an offence to 'show' and 'make' an indecent image of a child."

British children's advocate Action on Rights for Children (ARCH) said it was irrelevant that the naked images were not stored and that parents' permission was required before children could be scanned and  pointed to a provision in the act outlawing "pseudo-photographs".

One can only assume that anyone viewing images of a child under eighteen could be charged under various pieces of pornography legislation, and those 'insisting' that under-eighteens use the machines be accessories to the fact.

Similarly, the images clearly outline breasts and genitals, and that's already caused debate at the European Commission Parliament and among U.S. lawmakers.

U.S. Representative Jason Chaffetz's bill to ban full-body screeners as a primary security device passed the U.S. lower house in June but has not yet been voted on in the Senate.

"Nobody needs to see my wife and kids naked to secure an airplane," the Utah congressman says on his website.

As I see it, this is just another 'easy' step along the road to the police state.  Whatever the authorities decide will "help us stay protected," no matter how expensive it is, no matter how much the manufacturer has donated to the various political organisations, suddenly becomes the minimum standard.

Allow me to offer a prediction: the UK's Protection of Children Act will be amended to permit this device.  We can expect no less from our elected leaders.

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David Heath

David Heath has had a long and varied career in the IT industry having worked as a Pre-sales Network Engineer (remember Novell NetWare?), General Manager of IT&T for the TV Shopping Network, as a Technical manager in the Biometrics industry, and as a Technical Trainer and Instructional Designer in the industrial control sector. In all aspects, security has been a driving focus. Throughout his career, David has sought to inform and educate people and has done that through his writings and in more formal educational environments.

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