EU lawmakers have joined US civil liberty campaigners in criticizing a new scanner technology that allows airport security staff to see through passengers’ clothes, calling it a virtual strip search that should only be used as a last resort.
“Many travelers will consider these scanners an enormous intrusion” on their personal privacy, Philip Bradbourn, a British Conservative member of the EU assembly, said on Tuesday.
The new system, which the EU plans to authorize at the bloc’s airports, allows guards to see an outline of passengers’ bodies beneath their clothes, making it easier to detect any concealed objects.
It is already being introduced in several US airports and has been tested in other countries around the world, including EU nations such as Britain and the Netherlands. However, EU officials said it could face a ban if the 27-nation bloc does not include it in a new regulation listing acceptable airport security equipment.
Bradbourn said the technology should not be used routinely on passengers, but could be introduced when suspicions are raised.
“There may be some benefit in having body scanners in our airports, but they should be a last resort and a substitution for a strip search, not a random sample of innocent holiday-makers,” he said.
The plans have provoked concern from across the political spectrum, and many EU lawmakers issued statements ahead of Tuesday night’s debate about the matter in the European Parliament.
“The body, or nude, scanners create a three-dimensional picture which shows the passenger without clothes, including their genitals,” German Social Democrat Wolfgang Kreissl-Doerfler said.
The European Commission, says the legislation under consideration would respect safety and privacy rules, adding that passengers who objected could be offered an alternative form of security check.
Members of the European Parliament are demanding the right to vote on the scanners, which could be included in the list of authorized security equipment as a technical measure that would not require the assembly’s approval.
If the full body scanners are included in the list, each of the 27 EU nations would be free to decide if they wanted to use them.
The American Civil Liberties Union has long campaigned against use of the scanners for routine checking at US airports, saying they should only be used in place of an intrusive search when there is probable cause.
Citigroup Inc plans to exit retail banking in 13 markets across Asia, and the region of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The bank would instead operate its consumer-banking franchise in both regions from four wealth centers in Singapore, Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates and London, it said yesterday in a statement. The move is part of an ongoing review of the company’s strategy by chief executive officer Jane Fraser, who took over last month. “This positions us to capture the strong growth and attractive returns the wealth-management business offers through these important hubs,” Fraser said. Citigroup is to exit its consumer
‘IMPORTANT PARTNER’: The new guidelines aim to encourage US engagement with Taiwan, which reflects a deepening relationship, the US Department of State said The US Department of State on Friday issued new guidelines governing US officials’ interactions with their Taiwanese counterparts, a move welcomed by Taipei as turning a new page in bilateral relations. Shortly before leaving office, then-US secretary of state Mike Pompeo on Jan. 9 announced the cancelation of previous contact guidelines, which he said were “self-imposed restrictions” that attempted to appease the Chinese Communist Party regime in Beijing. However, the status of the guidelines has been unclear since US President Joe Biden entered the White House. Asked about the issue during a legislative session on Thursday, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu
CONFIDENTIAL: The trip had not been made public until just before ex-senator Chris Dodd, and ex-state department officials Richard Armitage and James Steinberg arrived The government yesterday welcomed an “unofficial” delegation sent by US President Joe Biden, while another delegation led by US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry was headed to Shanghai. Biden’s first delegation to Taiwan is made up of former US senator Chris Dodd, and former US deputy secretaries of state Richard Armitage and James Steinberg. They are to stay in Taiwan until tomorrow. Their arrival, on a chartered flight, had been kept confidential until media reported the visit yesterday morning, after which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a short notice that they were expected to arrive at 2:40pm. The flight landed at
‘IDEAL FIT’: A report on Sunday said that the Canadian government threatened to pull its support and funding from the HFX if the award was given to the president The government would respect the decision of the organizer of the John McCain Prize for Leadership in Public Service on whether it plans to award a prize to President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday. The statement was issued after US Web site Politico reported a day earlier that the Canadian government had warned the Halifax International Security Forum (HFX) not to give the award to Tsai for fear of provoking Beijing. “The ministry believes that if the Halifax International Security Forum confers the prize upon President Tsai, it would be an affirmation and honor for both