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Rights panel urges ban on body scanners

Body scanners showing the naked figure of passengers are a violation of basic human rights and thus should not be placed in airports, said a human rights panel.

The National Human Rights Commission sent a recommendation to the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs on Wednesday to abandon the plan to introduce the body scanners in airports, said officials.

The ministry announced earlier this year to introduce body scanners in local international airports within the first half of the year, in step with the government’s security measures for the G20 summit to take place here in November.

The scanner would show the precise form of the breasts or genitals of the passenger and may also reveal the implants inserted in his or her body.

“The scanning system is not clearly justified by any law clause and has not yet proven itself to be effective in preventing terrorist attacks,” said an NHRC official.

“It is, however, clear that the excessive body scanning violates the passengers’ freedom of privacy.”

It may, too, result on discrimination based on race, nationality or religion, should officials arbitrarily request specific passengers to pass the scanner.

Also, the scanner could also result in the leaking of personal information and possible damages to the scanned human body with its electromagnetic waves and radioactivity.

In the United Kingdom, an airport security guard was caught taking pictures of the naked figure of his female colleague, according to the NHRC. An official in the United States was involved in physical violence after he made harassing comments while he was testing the scanner system.

“Because of the serious level of human rights violation which the full-body scanner implies, it should at least be clearly regulated by a law clause and not just by a ministry announcement,” said the NHRC official.

Apart from the scanning system, other security measures have recently been implemented in local airports with the G20 summit in mind.

The Justice Ministry is to introduce a fingerprint identification system by August to reinforce immigration screening processes.

By Bae Hyun-jung  (