Today has brought the news that Manchester Airport is to trial new human X-ray machines that produce what are essentially 'naked' images of passengers.
The logic, say the Airport authorities, is that it will speed up security checks because people will no longer have to remove belts/shoes/etc and will end the need for the traditional security guard 'pat-down'.
However, the X-ray images are so defined that they show up any breast enlargements, false limbs, piercings, and, most intrusively, a clear outline of passengers' private parts.
Again, the head of customer experience at the airport, dismissed this concern by saying that the images will not be stored and only one officer will see them at any time.
While I would like to believe that is the case, I find it very hard to believe that no images will ever be stored. In addition, by installing a system that goes one step further than the traditional metal detectors, these new scanners are symptomatic of the increasing need, that those in authority feel, to gain a little more information and move one step at a time into our individual privacy.
To my knowledge there is no evidence that the previous methods of airport security – when properly applied, of course – did not work. In which case this is a time-saving device that moves just a little bit further into our own personal space.
By Dylan Sharpe