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EU Approves Unified Full Body Scanner Regulations 225

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the security-not-quite-worth-cancer dept.
OverTheGeicoE writes "The European Union has adopted a proposal to regulate airport body scanners at Member State airports. No Member State or airport is obligated to use scanners, but if they do, the scanners must conform to new European Union standards. Here's a partial list: Scanners must not store, retain, copy, print, or retrieve passenger images; the image viewer must be in a remote location; passengers must be informed how the scanners are being controlled; and can opt out if they choose. Perhaps most importantly: X-ray scanners are banned 'in order not to risk jeopardizing citizens' health and safety.'"
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EU Approves Unified Full Body Scanner Regulations

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  • by CmdrPony (2505686) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @04:25AM (#38057044)
    Not only is EU not requiring their use, they are actually putting several limitations on how they're used and saying citizens can opt-out. Good job, EU!

    Now, if someone would just kick UK out of EU. It's almost as bad as US.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Neil Boekend (1854906)
      In Sovejet Europe government controlls commerce.

      Disclaimer: I am European and I do think the perfect government is a balance between Communism and Capitalism. I do think these regulations are a good plan.
      • by Luckyo (1726890)

        Are you sure you're not referring to "balance between socialism and capitalism" as it is in Northern Europe at the moment?

        • No I am not sure. I just used Communism in the disclaimer because I had used in the joke. Socialism would have been more appliccable.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mitashki (1116893)

        Disclaimer: I am European and I do think the perfect government is a balance between Communism and Capitalism.

        Actually I do believe the BEST government would use the good ideas from both and refuse to follow the ideologies and propaganda from both. For the record I am an European too (whatever it might mean these days).

    • by Xest (935314) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @05:58AM (#38057562)

      Yeah, it's horrendous, how dare the UK be one of the few countries in the EU capable of balancing it's books making it one of perhaps 2 or 3 economies in Europe whose AAA rating is perfectly safe.

      The UK for all it's faults at very least hasn't got anything as bad as France's HADOPI yet, hasn't had anywhere near as bad web blocking orders as in Ireland or the Netherlands, and doesn't at least have as close to the amount of censorship as Germany. Oh, and Sweden is basically a wholly owned subsidiary of the RIAA now. We don't have laws against headscarfs and stuff either which is something. Even outside Europe now that Harper is in in Canada I think the UK is doing fairly well, we're certainly in a much better place than we were under Brown's authoritarian rule 2 years ago.

      I suppose you can still hold a grudge over the UK for Iraq, but we haven't been there for a few years now, we're still in Afghanistan, like the rest of Europe. I suppose you can complain about our big brother state but really the reason we have a reputation in that respect is precisely because our population actually stands up and shouts about how unhappy we are with it, which is surely better than most other European states where it's at least as bad but just blindly accepted without much dissent. It's thanks to the fact we do have organisations like Liberty that these things are exposed for what they are attempts at but most the worst stuff our last government proposed that generated all said stories is dead now, the ID card database is gone, many CCTV programmes have been cut/scaled back, libel laws are being reformed. There's still a long way to go of course, but then, find me a country where there isn't.

      • by johnjaydk (584895) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @06:27AM (#38057690)

        Yeah, it's horrendous, how dare the UK be one of the few countries in the EU capable of balancing it's books making it one of perhaps 2 or 3 economies in Europe whose AAA rating is perfectly safe.

        +5 funny

        The UK actually have the second highest total-debt-to-gdp ratios in the world. Only slightly below Japan who is wide seen as a bug in search of a windshield.

        Total Debt to GDP ratios [tinyurl.com]

        Sorry to burst Your bubble but the bond market will discover this fact eventually.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Rogerborg (306625)

          Ah, yes, but our currency has a picture of a real proper God's anointed Queen on it, not a bunch of abstract squiggles and random Godless squinty-eyes like the Monopoly money they use in Japan. There's your difference right there.

        • The UK actually have the second highest total-debt-to-gdp ratios in the world. Only slightly below Japan

          The "total debt to GDP ratio" may be only slightly below japan but the government debt is a MUCH smaller proportion of the total debt than with japan.

          But more important than the amount of debt is what that debt is denominated in. If a government has debts denominated in their own currency they can order their central bank (in practice they probably won't even need to make the order) to offer them unlimited loans at a fixed interest rate so the only way they will default is if they chose to do so.

          OTOH if a government has large debts denominated in a currency under outside control they are at the mercy of the countries that control those currencies. That is why greece and italy are in so much trouble, they sacrificed their financial sovereignty by joining the Euro.

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward

            OTOH if a government has large debts denominated in a currency under outside control they are at the mercy of the countries that control those currencies. That is why greece and italy are in so much trouble, they sacrificed their financial sovereignty by joining the Euro.

            Greece is in trouble because IT FUCKING LIED about its financial condition to the EU before adopting the Euro. Had they told the truth, the rest of the EU would have left them to rot (most probably). Italy didn't lie about its finances, they made real sacrifices to adopt the Euro, and frankly without it Italy would have been in for the worse.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Those figures you point to are distorted by our disproportionately large financial sector. Which given that they're backed by gov.uk means that they actually have a vested interest in keeping our bond prices stable. As far as actually managing our government debt, we do quite well, see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15717770

          A big problem with both Italian (and French debt) is that a lot of it is short-term and constantly has to be renewed. Hence depending on the given prevailing market circumstances the

        • The UK actually have the second highest total-debt-to-gdp ratios in the world.

          Your source appears to be nearly two years out of date. A lot has happened in that time, so I don't think we can read too much into those figures today.

          Back then, a large chunk of that UK debt was down to the financial institutions in the City; the government debt level was towards the lower end on the chart. However, we can't see how much impact the various bail-outs have made from that data.

          • by johnjaydk (584895)

            Your source appears to be nearly two years out of date. A lot has happened in that time, so I don't think we can read too much into those figures today.

            Ups. My bad. The UK have in fact overtaken Japan by now in total debt to gdp.

            Debt by nations [tinyurl.com]

        • by Xest (935314)

          Which doesn't really matter when we have an actual plan to solve the problem that we've been following for a year now, unlike countries like the US and the Eurozone nations who are still actually trying to figure out what to do.

          The bond markets don't care about the fact the problem is their, they care about the fact we're solving it. It's the nations that aren't tackling it that scare the shit out of them, that's why things are so bad for Greece and Italy right now - because they're still only just now tryi

          • by Cyberax (705495)

            "Which doesn't really matter when we have an actual plan to solve the problem that we've been following for a year now, unlike countries like the US and the Eurozone nations who are still actually trying to figure out what to do."

            That doesn't matter anyway since this 'plan' has caused a near-dip into recession and actually slowed down the recovery...

            • by Xest (935314)

              Yes, but it's taken an axe to our deficit.

              There's no point having 1% growth and maintaining a massive deficit, when we can instead settle for 0.5% growth and eliminate our deficit.

              I don't like the Tories, but they're fiscally more sane than Labour who had it's hands over it's ears regarding the deficit and even now who's party members are harping on about how we should spend some more, increase the deficit for the sake of growth.

              Our austerity measures aren't pleasant, but they're the sensible thing to do a

              • by Cyberax (705495)

                I predict that your deficit is going to GROW in near- and long-term since the revenues have fallen and you'd need even more austerity. In short, it is already an epic fail.

                "Losing a year or two of 2 - 3% levels of growth over the next 20 years or so is much less of a big deal than running the risk of defaulting which would result in 10 - 20 years of lost growth and serious strife instead."

                Who told you that an austerity just causes you to 'lose a few years'? It is going to lower the base of growth, and quite

      • Britain's violent crime record is worse than any other country in the European union, it has been revealed.
        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1196941/The-violent-country-Europe-Britain-worse-South-Africa-U-S.html [dailymail.co.uk]

        That on top of having second highest debt to GDP ratio in the world (only Japan has worst record) and recent riots.

        • by Xest (935314) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @09:47AM (#38058898)

          For some arbitrary definition of violent crime yes. We have a lower murder rate, lower levels of rape and so forth however which is arguably what matters more in terms of violent crime. I'd much rather put up with a slightly higher chance of being punched at the pub on a Friday night by a drunk if it means a drastically lower chance of just outright being shot dead next time I do my weekly shopping on a Saturday afternoon. Of course, avoiding both would be nice and I can't say either have affected me yet, but it illustrates the point.

          I covered debt to GDP elsewhere, it's meaningless by itself, and the riots? are you kidding me? Britain has one set of riots over a few days for the first time in god knows how many decades and that's something that stands out? Countries like Spain, Greece, France and so forth have riots of that scale on a seemingly annual basis. France for example:

          2005: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4413964.stm [bbc.co.uk]

          2009: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/July_2009_French_riots [wikipedia.org]

          2010: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1322441/France-riots-Demonstrations-pension-reforms-continue-ninth-day.html [dailymail.co.uk]

          Yeah, I don't think Britain's riot situation is too much to worry about right now to be honest, if Britain can be criticised for having some kind of problem, it's sure as hell not riots.

          Britain has a lot of faults, but fundamentally my point was simply that compared to other nations, there's certainly not any more, and in many cases an awful lot less to worry about here. Pulling random faults out the hat proves what exactly? That Britain is a somehow worse country in general than many others? No, it doesn't.

    • by SkunkPussy (85271)

      yeah fucking manchester airport uses scanners and they're mandatory. pisstake. at least this is going to change.

      • by Raumkraut (518382)

        Last I heard this was not true. You absolutely can opt out of being scanned at Manchester. Of course, if you do so, you'll also be opting out of catching your flight...

        Alas, I suspect that the UK government will, if at all possible (and even if not), interpret the EU's requirement for the right to opt out of scanning in a similar fashion.

  • by captainpanic (1173915) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @04:42AM (#38057128)

    In between ceizing all the power from the individual member states, and destroying all our economies by pumping the money into the bottomless pits of high interest, sometimes they do something right. Thanks EU :-)

    Shall we also allow everyone to bring a bottle of water onto the airplane? There's a lot of money to be saved by reducing the silly safety measures.

    • by Ihmhi (1206036) <i_have_mental_health_issues@yahoo.com> on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @04:44AM (#38057138)

      Nearly every time I read about the EU doing something that doesn't outright fuck over its citizens, I think to myself, "Man, they must have heard about how we're all about freedom and citizens rights and just ran with it." Is it a bad thing when a foreign entity better represents your home country's ideals than your actual home country does? I think that may be the case here.

      • Is it a bad thing when a foreign entity better represents your home country's ideals than your actual home country does?

        And that's why despite everything, I prefer being in the EU.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by tsa (15680)

          Despite everything, I think the EU is still the best place to live in the world.

      • by captainpanic (1173915) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @04:59AM (#38057228)

        Nearly every time I read about the EU doing something that doesn't outright fuck over its citizens, I think to myself, "Man, they must have heard about how we're all about freedom and citizens rights and just ran with it." Is it a bad thing when a foreign entity better represents your home country's ideals than your actual home country does? I think that may be the case here.

        Are you American? And are you claiming that freedom and citizens rights are an American invention? Because I am European, and we had such Freedom when you were just a couple of tiny villages we like to call colonies, and when the majority of the native Americans were still alive and thriving.

        I'll give an example: the Dutch fight for freedom in the 16th/17th century. Already in the 15th century, the Dutch were free. Amsterdam was rules by citizens, not by a nobleman or clergyman. Citizens. And America hadn't even been discovered. And this idea spread throughout the entire country, which rebelled against the religious oppressive Spanish and became free.

        Or how about the French revolution? English parliament? You do know that democracy was already in use in the ancient Greek times, do you?

        If you're not American, then all the above is still true, but I should have used a different tone.

        • If you're not American, then all the above is still true, but I should have used a different tone.

          +1 Excellent use of pre-emptive after-the-fact diplomacy! :-)

      • by Luckyo (1726890) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @05:04AM (#38057258)

        Technically your "home country ideals" are actually french. US constitution borrows from ideals of French Revolution extremely heavily.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @05:22AM (#38057340)

          Technically your "home country ideals" are actually french. US constitution borrows from ideals of French Revolution extremely heavily.

          Hé, les américains! disparaissez de ma pelouse!

      • by nickco3 (220146) * on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @05:41AM (#38057474)

        It may shock you to learn this, but your home country's stated ideals are all European in origin.

        • Hogwash, next youll be telling me that our founders were European in origin, or that France has a president.

      • by mcvos (645701)

        The EU has some really good ideals, but at times really crappy implementation. In the US the original really good ideas seem pretty much dead.

      • by DrXym (126579)
        The US enshrines freedom of speech but it doesn't enshrine an individual's right to privacy. The EU does via the Directive on Data Protection so it offers a lot more protections to individuals. It prevents some of the abuses that we see mentioned in the US. e.g. companies reading their employees private email without permission, personal information being used outside of its stated purpose, or being sold and merged without a user's permission, etc. The US does have some protections in place around some part
      • by Goth Biker Babe (311502) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @07:18AM (#38057964) Homepage Journal

        I have one thing to say about who's representing who's ideals?

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magna_Carta [wikipedia.org]

        Remember that the Pilgrim Fathers left England because they wanted less religious freedom. They wanted everyone to follow their brand.

    • In between ceizing all the power from the individual member states, and destroying all our economies by pumping the money into the bottomless pits of high interest, sometimes they do something right. Thanks EU :-)

      Shall we also allow everyone to bring a bottle of water onto the airplane? There's a lot of money to be saved by reducing the silly safety measures.

      Your statement doesn't make sense. The EU is nothing but the member states, and its bodies are just representatives from countries. So it is the member states doing the things you say: "The member states ceizing all the power from the individual member states, and the member states destroying all our economies by pumping the money into the bottomless pits of high interest".

      If not all the participating countries would agree and sign a agreement for each action taken, nothing would happen!

      • Brussels gets more control, and more power, and the member states all have to walk in line. It is less and less possible to have large differences in laws and regulations between the member states. That's what I meant to say. Sorry if you didn't understand me straight away.

        Participating countries are often put under enormous pressure to sign some new laws that they are against (but that the majority is in favor of). In addition, the EU has grabbed a bucketload of power with the Lisbon treaty.

        • Why is this a problem though, national borders are a stupid concept anyways, if we ever want to achieve a united world government you need to push people to do things they don't realise are good for them.
    • by nickco3 (220146) * on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @09:47AM (#38058902)

      The EU has done more to spread freedom and democracy than any other organisation on Earth. It projects soft power with a single carrot, the offer of membership.

      The first success was rehabilitating Germany after the War. Spain, Portugal and Greece all used to be military dictatorships. Now happy, prosperous, modern democratic states. Admittedly there's been some unrest recently in Greece, but there is zero possibility of another military coup, it will stay free and democratic no matter what. That's because of the larger structure it belongs to.

      Then it rehabilitated central and eastern Europe. All the countries that were offered membership are free and democratic. Every one of them. Doesn't that strike you as odd? All the non-EU candidates (Ukraine, Russia) are not. Coincidence?

      Turkey is far nicer place than it used be. The army stays out of politcs. The Kurds and other minorities are being treated reasonably. All thanks to EU negotiators banging on about human rights during 30 years of talks.

      What other organisation can boast such an effective record at democratisation?

  • by surfdaddy (930829) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @04:53AM (#38057184)
    ....would opt out. I'm not an easily paranoid type, but I resent getting x-rayed for non-medical reasons. It's apparent that the correct research has not been done on the safety, and even if the chances of risk are slim, why take the chance? It's reactive security anyway. Opting out is my own little method of civil disobedience. If everybody went for the pat-down the whole system would collapse and they would have to abandon those damn xray scanners.
    • by gulikoza (1087283) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @05:28AM (#38057370) Homepage
      I opted out at the JFK flying to Paris last month. The TSA agents were very professional, the pat-down wasn't as bad as advertised here sometimes (TBH, I've gotten more invasive pat-downs at some concerts or other public events...not related to airports at all!). They even took and carried all my carry-ons from the x-ray machine to the table so I had plenty of time to put everything together (laptop...) after the pat-down. I hate it when you have to rush, putting on the shoes and belt, storing laptop.... while people are waiting behind you at the carry-on x-ray.
    • by clickety6 (141178) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @05:54AM (#38057542)

      I wish more people would opt out

      I did. I just opted out of flying to the US altogether.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @08:31AM (#38058324)

        Modded funny - but I bet there are a lot more people, like myself, who are avoiding visiting the US for all the security idiocy. Whenever I need to fly (I live in Canada), I always opt for itineraries that do not go via some American airport. I'm not even sure if a transfer flight in the US means having to go through security, but frankly I don't care, nor will I take the chance if I can avoid it.

      • by tsa (15680)

        I'd love to come to the US one day, but I think that as long as the TSA exists I will have to go there by boat.

      • That's precisely what I did. I'm probably going to be moving overseas next year and I'll be flying out of Vancouver rather than the US so that I don't have to be molested as a precondition to boarding my plane.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Moskit (32486)

      They made opting out opressive.

      When you opt out, first you are told that you will have to wait. How long? Agent does not know. 15minutes? 1 hour? Agent cannot answer you that question.

      You then stand aside from the queue, behind a barrier, watching as 10, 20, 50 people give up their dignity (hande hoch! raus!) in the machine. They all look at you as if you were the one giving up dignity, or were "put in a corner" like a bad child who did something wrong.

      Just before you were put aside, agent tells you that on

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @04:59AM (#38057224)

    Isn't it ironic that the country that epouses individuality above all and has and endemic "fear" of government is the one being fucked over security, while the europeans show a little bit of rational thought on this whole issue ?
    And for the note, we had had over the last 4 decades terrorism in europe, and we have coped to live with it. What did you say ? Our societies didn't collpase and we sure as hell didn't transform in some kind of paranoid security state.
    That 1997 Escape from New York was prophetic to a level you yankees can't even seem to fathom anymore.
    Enjoy your prison guys.

    • by ledow (319597) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @05:24AM (#38057348) Homepage

      It's partly because, of course, the Europeans are a number of otherwise independent states so it's like a democracy on an international scale - chances are that SOMEONE will kick up a fuss about something that they disagree with and concessions will have to be made (e.g. the UK still isn't in the Euro for various reasons, Germany doesn't want to be involved in more Greek bailouts etc.).

      When you have internal opposition on the scale of national governments, it's a bit more even and controlled than when you have only internal opposition that consists of singular people (who, history has shown, can be corrupt, swayed or just chosen so that they are all of a certain age / mindset).

      That said, I've never seen a country less free than America. The only sad fact is that they don't notice it. At least the Chinese KNOW where they are (whether they care or not is another matter) but the US just don't seem to understand what they are doing to themselves and what they are letting slip under their noses. So long as they have their guns and their god, they seem perfectly happy to let a multitude of sins pass through with their approval. Hell, they were close to getting national healthcare and they managed to balls that up too.

      And the Americans I've spoken to in person just don't get this... they don't understand that, actually, the stereotype of an American that doesn't know or cares what happens beyond its borders is a little more than just a stereotype. They don't care that, even today, their government imprisons and (still probably) tortures people who haven't gone on trial by doing it on foreign soil. That's "freedom" to them, because it's applied to a different type of person - non-Americans. Try to move on a guy from sitting on Wall Street, though, and it makes the news for days on end. When they show the Olympics you only see Americans winning and *NOTHING* else.

      America has many problems, like just about every other country in the world, but it's like those countries that call themselves The Democratic Republic Of, or the People's Republic Of, etc. They are anything but. Land of the Free? Yeah, Land of the Free so long as you stay within our borders, have enough money for healthcare, and never ask for anything we don't want to give you.

      • by nickco3 (220146) *

        It's partly because, of course, the Europeans are a number of otherwise independent states so it's like a democracy on an international scale - chances are that SOMEONE will kick up a fuss about something that they disagree with and concessions will have to be made

        Actually, the European Parliament has a much better record of standing up for citizens rights than the Member Governments, who are usually the villians in such arguments.

        • by hedwards (940851)

          That's to be expected. That's how it's worked out in the US for the last couple hundred years. There are abuses by both the states and the federal government, but when you take a look at it by and large the states have been where the most egregious violations of human rights have occurred. And typically the people crying out for states' rights are usually complaining about being told that they can't abuse their fellow citizens or allow corporations to run amok.

          The Federal government does have issues in thos

      • by tsa (15680)

        The USA is more and more a Land of the Free Corporations since 2000 or so :(.

  • To be honest, as long as these scanners aren't misused (which these regulations are supposed to prevent), I'm all for them. If there's one thing I hate about flying, it's going through security. Queuing up, taking your shoes off, emptying your pockets, rushing through only to be searched anyway, it's fucking awful and if these scanners mean I'm more able to just walk straight through, I'm all for it.

  • But what about terahertz radio imagers, which also might be hazardous?

    • by amstrad (60839)
      Do you have any evidence that it is harmful? Because I have not seen anything convincing. Let's look at some facts:
      1. - Frequencies used in security applications have a water penetration depth of on average 0.3mm. So any potential damage is limit to surface layers of skin.
      2. - A purely mathematical model suggests that photon energies involved have a potential to break bonds in the loaclized sites of the DNA helix which may interfer with RNA transcription. No practical experiments have been done to confirm th
      • A better question is to ask what evidence is there that it is surely safe? Let's consider those facts with the opposing bias:
        1. - Frequencies used in security applications have a water penetration depth of on average 0.3mm. While this should result in damage mainly to surface layers of skin, the damage caused by further penetration when individual and localized exposure exceeds the average, or from repeated and long-term exposure is unknown.
        2. - A purely mathematical model suggests that photon energies involve
  • Is it me, or do these limitations just seem like basic, common sense?

We don't know one millionth of one percent about anything.

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