Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 4 October 2015

Security stripping more than our rights

By Gail Walker

Published 20/10/2009

We all know that modern airport travel is a nightmare. Not only do we have to arrive hours before flight time, but there's check-in (no, I didn't let a complete stranger pack my bag, thanks), endless security, the plastic bags inside a pingpong ball, those little trays for your keys, mobile, belt, old bus tickets and bits of fluff. Then, there's the inevitable embarrassment of the pat down.

It all gets a bit squeamish. A friend relates a particularly horrible situation at Gatwick where you must remove your shoes and walk across a sticky bit of walkway. Sticky because thousands of feet have trodden there before. Verrucas, bunions, athlete's foot ...

Yet we do it because it's for our own good.

But now, they're taking it too far. With great fanfare Manchester airport has revealed the first ever 'naked' x-ray machine in the UK. 'Naked' in the sense that the machine sees under your clothes. Ok, you may look a bit on the grey side and not attractively lit but, yes, you're in the buff.

After just a few days, the airport has run foul of anti-child porn laws and decided not to 'x-ray' anyone under 18.

Fair enough. But it's just wrong. For anybody.

We may be (a bit) safer but at what cost? Nakedness is still taboo. It is the state when - by definition - we are at our most vulnerable, self-conscious and, er, naked. Quite simply, we don't like it. Especially if under the gaze of a minor public servant and the person behind you.

It may not be logical. But human beings are not just creatures of logic. We're creatures of feeling, a jumble of neuroses and tics. Why we should be put through such an ordeal just to make an airport run a bit faster is beyond me.

Let's just call it human dignity.

Besides, who really believes that the images (which defenders claim will be deleted after a few seconds) are really that safe? How long before pics of millions of law-abiding citizens in the nuddy are kept 'for monitoring purposes'?

There are some things that it's simply better to draw a veil over.

From the web

Sponsored Videos

Your Comments

Comments posted this week will only be visible until Saturday Oct 3 and will not be available to view after that date. This is due to essential upgrade work on our content management system and we apologise for any inconvenience.

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting?

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph