EU Australia Online - News & information from the capital of Europe direct to Australian businesses

Rights Qualms Over Airport Safety

  • January 20th, 2010
  • Posted by EUEditor

security-image.jpgOfficials of European member states have been tussling over how far European airports might go in body-screening passengers, as a shield against terror attacks.

A tightening of measures has been talked-over world wide, since the Christmas day incidents in which a would-be bomber with explosives sewn into his undergarments was caught on a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit.

This includes the recommended use of body scanning machines, and a revival of efforts made in 2008 to standardise rules for their use, among the 27 EU countries.

The process was held up by reservations on the part of some member governments including Germany, and members of the European Parliament concerned about civil liberties aspects, or possible health risks with the machines.,

Work has been on-going in Europe on technological solutions to threats posed by terrorist activity in the air, and these had a boost in 2006 after the foiled attempt to bring down planes out of Heath Row Airport, by taking liquid explosives on board.

EUAustralia Online reported on the program then (18.10.06), saying: “The push for high-tech answers to the threat of terrorism has had another boost with EU15-million (A$25-million) in new funding”

It reviewed information published by the EC on projects, extending to devices for screening and scanning human targets:

“Already-established projects in the Security Research program include work on a ‘robust’ IT platform to protect banking and internet systems …

“Notes on building protection measures against chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear threats are candid: ‘Current European capabilities to detect and respond to the types of CBRN threats are very modest’.

“Other work in the portfolio: a project on transport safety directly linked to the bomb attacks at Madrid and London, drawing together studies of railways infrastructure, surveillance, detection of explosives inside carriages, communication or protection systems, and architecture design; more on handprints screening and the like, under bio-testing; and new observation devices for allowing police to follow the movement of human beings hidden behind walls.”


EUAustralia, 18.1.06, “High-tech war on terror”.

Toby Vogel, “EU in disarray over body scanner rules”, European Voice, Brussels, 7.1.10, p 2