Friday, October 24, 2008

EU Commission press ahead with strip search body scanners

From this morning's Times: MEPs fear that 'strip search' X-ray body scanners could expose stars to the wrong kind of publicity

"Are you ready for take-off? Plans to allow passengers to be virtually strip searched by X-ray body scanners at airports across Europe were denounced yesterday as a threat to personal dignity.

MEPs called for safeguards to prevent the revealing images — which penetrate clothing and leave little to the imagination — from being stored or published, raising fears of a trade in embarrassing pictures of celebrities being sold for high prices."

You know what's really sad about this? The focus of concern is on the possible embarrassment to celebrities. Who cares if Jo Soap gets strip searched as a matter of routine but wouldn't it be terrible if the images of some famous person ended up on the internet?

What the hell is the matter with these people?!

The print version of the story is accompanied by a cartoon of a couple of security men looking goggle-eyed at a screen with one saying "It's the phwor! on terror." That about sums it up.

Alos recommended from today's Times: I may be paranoid but they are watching us.


It's not insane to be paranoid. That is the comforting message I took from the speech given this week by Sir Ken Macdonald, the Director of Public Prosecutions, who warned the Government not to abuse its “enormous powers of access to information”. In a direct hit on the Home Secretary's desire to record on an Orwellian database every e-mail, phone call and website visited, he said that “freedom's back is broken” if ministers give in to the pressures of a State that is insatiable.

I say comforting, because I frequently feel that I am living in a looking-glass world, where what Sir Ken calls the “paraphernalia of paranoia” makes reality feel like a spoof. Take a parochial example. Several readers sent me an article from the Lincolnshire Echo that claimed Lincoln City Council was training its plumbers and electricians to spot child abuse. I contacted some nice people at the council last week, apologising for wasting their time on what, I said, was probably overexcited gossip. But it turned out to be true. These perfectly sane people are indeed training their 820 staff to “recognise when a child may be in a harmful situation”. They believe that the Children's Act 2004 requires all employees to “safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people when discharging the council's functions, eg, throughout their daily work or work that has been subcontracted out”. Staff will be trained, and required to “report to relevant agencies” what they see."

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