Page last updated at 10:27 GMT, Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Airport body scanners: European readers' views

A man stands inside a body scanner at Schiphol airport, Amsterdam
Schiphol airport in Amsterdam now uses body scanners

The European Parliament is considering whether it was right for some European airports to introduce body scanners.

Italy, the Netherlands and the UK have brought in scanners for US-bound flights, following the attempted bombing of a US airliner on Christmas Day.

But other countries, including Belgium and Spain, say they will wait for a joint European Union position on their use.

Here, BBC readers from across Europe say whether they think body scanners should be introduced at all airports.


Gadi Sassoon

I really think this is all a bit too much.

It reminds me of bad science fiction films.

It's humiliating to have to expose yourself in front of others, simply in order to board a flight.

Something is wrong with our culture if we are all willing to give up so much freedom and dignity to travel.

What we should really be doing is questioning the wider strategies our governments are taking in order to tackle terrorism.

I have to admit I do not have a viable alternative, but I am really uncomfortable with this body scanning idea.


My wife and I have just been through these scanners at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam and I was very impressed.

It detected a couple of items in my pocket which I had forgotten to remove.

These should be used as soon as possible in every airport.

I can't understand why people would not want the best protection possible.

If you refuse to use them then either you must arrive earlier and accept a full body search or you don't travel.

Why must other people's security be put at risk by people refusing to accept the best possible checks?

Davlat Aminov

I haven't been through a body scanner yet, mainly because I haven't flown in the last five months and would now try to avoid it at any cost.

Not because I am in any way embarrassed of my body but because I am against this scanner on moral grounds.

I don't think anyone would want their wife, mother or kids to have their bodies scanned.

This is madness and if someone wants to smuggle something onto a plane, I am sure they will find a way to trick the scanners as well, like they are already able to do with metal detectors.

The scanners simply violate the privacy of ordinary people at the end of the day.


None of these kinds of security precautions should be perceived as intrusive.

The only inconvenience is having to go through repeated security checks at airports, which is annoying.

As long as the process is carried out once by security staff, that is fine with me.

Also, provided there is no abuse of the technology, and the best in cutting-edge machinery is used, then I support its use.


I think that body scanners are several steps too far.

The UK already has the most stringent, and frankly ridiculous, security searches at its airports.

The scanners are so sensitive even bra fastenings can trigger an intrusive body search.

I frequently pass through scanners at Russian airports... and I actually find the whole process more dignified
Nick, St Petersburg, Russia

A handheld scanner is more than sufficient.

Carry-on bags are rummaged through thoroughly, even though there is nothing remotely suspect in them, and one cannot even remonstrate in case one is taken into some side room for a full body search.

Women are particularly discriminated against - we cannot carry both a handbag and a computer case as hand luggage.

Please get things back into some sort of perspective, particularly in the UK, in line with the rest of Europe, where one does not get the impression that 99.99% of travellers are a threat.


I frequently pass through scanners at Russian airports, such as Moscow and St Petersburg.

I have to say I actually find the whole process more dignified.

It is also a vast improvement on the regular process and circus you get in UK airports, which involves removing belts, coats, shoes and so on.

You also avoid the issue of people setting off the metal detectors and having to pass through repeatedly until the offending item is found.

The only concern in the back of my mind when travelling frequently is what the health risks might be, if any.


I don't see why we need body scanners.

All serious security breaches in recent years by suspected terrorists have always proven to be as a result of a breakdown in intelligence agencies communicating with each other.

I believe they offer very little extra security, but rather a false sense of security that will keep people flying
Ben Shipway, Coventry, UK

All suspects, including the Christmas Day bomber in Detroit, could have been prevented had he been spotted from a watch list of suspects, which he was already on.

Just because intelligence agencies screw-ups occur, there is no reason to infringe on innocent law-abiding people's privacy even further.

Also, what difference will body scanners make if something is already concealed in checked luggage?

In short, their introduction will result in no reduction of danger for anyone.


I have not been through an airport scanner yet, but will no doubt be inconvenienced by one before too long.

I do not think they are too intrusive. I would prefer to strip naked than go through the scanner if I thought they were a health risk.

More than the issue of privacy is the question of the real efficiency of these machines.
Amaury Triaud, Geneva, Switzerland

I believe they offer very little extra security, but rather a false sense of security that will keep people flying.

I'm curious to see what measures will be taken after the the next attempted attack.

It was the failure of existing security measures which allowed the Christmas Day bombing attempt to take place and a similar attempt could happen again if they continue to fail.

Fortunately it is very safe to fly today compared, so I'm happy to continue to flying until the security measures make it too uncomfortable or unpleasant to do so.


I have been "invited" to go through a body scanner in the US.

I refused on the basis that the security personnel could not give me any more information other than "it's a scanner".

My refusal resulted in a full pat-down search.

The issue is a lack of information, lack of training, and basically lack of evidence that these things are effective.

Wherever you travel now, you are forced to become like a sheep. So much for freedom.

And the terrorists will just work out another way around the system.


More than the issue of privacy is the question of the real efficiency of these machines.

Will they really prevent terror attempts?

If not, then you have to wonder if their introduction will force further developments of weapons that are harder to detect.

At the moment their use seems to be directed at certain profiled types of people, risking causing distress among sections of the population, as well as risking shifting the appearance and origin of terrorists.

Adding a new layer of security is also likely to increase the challenge for would-be attackers to target planes.

Print Sponsor

EU split over airport body scans
07 Jan 10 |  Europe
EU seeks rules on body scanners
05 Jan 10 |  Europe
Q&A: 'Jet bomber' case
06 Jan 10 |  Americas
Attack reveals security weakness
27 Dec 09 |  Americas

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2017 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific