In the US, full body imaging machines met fairly little resistance. Of course, when something is being done in the name of anti-terrorism, people tend to just go with the flow.
In the UK, similar machines are not being accepted that easily. Manchester airport is the first in the UK to install the machines, and the airport authority issued the same kind of reassuring statements as in the US. Screens will be in a locked room, images will not be stored, and access to the screening equipment is limited.
Those arguments are not enough to satisfy UK civil rights groups. One group has a very strong reason to be against the machines – they are against the law. The UK Protection of Children Act prohibits any kind of naked images being made of children, including those made with backscatter x-ray equipment. Exceptions are only in place for medical imaging.
The images made by these machines are very clear, and show every detail of your body, including your genitals.
According to the group “Action on Rights for Children”, the law is so clear, that the airport won’t stand a chance of changing it. At the moment, the airport has had to cease screening children with the new equipment.
So, what do you think? Personally I think the risk of a screening agent taking photos of the x-ray monitor with his or her (camera) phone is too great to accept any of their reassuring words. I’m not afraid of photos of my willy showing up somewhere, but I’ll not accept the risk of that happening to my child.
I’m sure the vast majority of TSA employees are loyal and trustworthy people, but the risk of running into one bad apple is just too much. Sooner or later someone will violate our trust, and photos of naked children will show up online.