Changes to airport scanners mean reduced privacy concerns, embarrassment factor for travellers.

Airport news for Travel,Manchester on 21/06/2010.

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Following months of outrage, privacy concerns and legal questions about their use, full-body airport scanners at Manchester Airports have been upgraded so the machines will flag up images considered suspicious. Only those scans will be checked by human operators. Passengers will no longer need to worry that all ‘naked’ images are seen security staff.

Rapiscan, which produces the machines, says new software will identify potential threats. The machine will then send the scan image to a human operator, who will decide if the passenger will be allowed to fly. Rapiscan hopes the new system will appease concerns amongst the public about privacy.

The sophisticated scanners essentially see through clothing, making it hard for anyone to hide weapons or other questionable items. They were installed at UK airports after a failed attack on a transatlantic flight last Christmas. Since the scanners were introduced, there have been complaints about the risks to personal privacy and questions remain about the legality of producing images of children that might considered indecent. The Equality and Human Rights Commission says the naked images produced by the machines contravene the privacy rules of the Human Rights Act.

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