Air crews to test all-seeing body scanner

19th April 2006, Comments 0 comments

19 April 2006, AMSTERDAM — Staff can now avoid being physically frisked by security personnel at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport by opting for the controversial body scanner.

19 April 2006

AMSTERDAM — Staff can now avoid being physically frisked by security personnel at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport by opting for the controversial body scanner.

In time passengers may also have to submit to the scanner that can peer through clothes and reproduce an image of the body's contours.

Testing of the device, with the airline staff and ground personnel as voluntary guinea pigs, will continue until the end of the first week of May. Then an evaluation team will decide whether to put it into general use. "It will take some time before everyone has to go through the scanner," Schiphol spokesperson Mirjam Snoerwang said.

Introduction of the scanner has caused commotion among people working at the airport.

But the airport authorities and Dutch airline KLM insisted on Wednesday that many of the objections were based on incorrect information. For instance the scanner does not give off unhealthy radiation. "We are clarifying the situation for the representatives of our employees today," KLM spokesperson Hugo Baas said. Schiphol's Snoerwang said the security personnel operating the scan will not see the person's face.

Air crews with KLM and other airlines can choose between going through the scanner or being searched by an officer, which has also given rise to complaints of indecent touching.

The Dutch union of cabin personnel (VNC) described the choice as a "devil's dilemma" as either can make both men and women feel very uncomfortable.

The management of Dutch airline KLM expects the scanner will cut delays at security checkpoints. "People currently have to be frisked by hand. In future, they will only have to walk through the security portal," Baas said. This will result in shorter waiting times for airline personnel and for passengers.

The authorities at Schiphol also emphasised that the body scanner will cut down on the need for physical searches. "A person will only be frisked when a security officer notices something on the scan".

The images generated by the scanner will not be saved and therefore cannot be reviewed at a later date.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]

Subject: Dutch news

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