European Data Protection Digest

Privacy Questions Continue as Airport Scanner Implementations Move Forward

TRAVELERS’ PRIVACY—EUROPE

February 5, 2010

With advanced imaging technology (AIT) scanners now in operation at the UK's Heathrow and Manchester airports, European privacy advocates continue to raise concerns. Ireland's Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) has written to the Dublin Airport Authority with concerns that any move to employ scanners balances security needs with individual privacy rights, the Irish Examiner reports. Incoming EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding is also raising concerns. "I am convinced that body scanners have a considerable privacy-invasive potential," she said in a recent speech. In an effort to allay fears, UK Transport Secretary Lord Adonis confirmed this week that the images produced by the scans are immediately deleted. Adonis will launch a public consultation on how the scanners will be used. The Irish Examiner reports that the Netherlands has also introduced the scanners, while France and Italy plan to study their efficiency and other European nations, including Germany and Finland, have been more reluctant to move forward due to privacy concerns.
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