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Airport Body Scanners an affront to privacy say MEP

October 22, 2008 3:30 PM

Liz Lynne, the LibDem MEP for the West Midlands, has added her voice to the growing concern among MEPs that new European Commission proposals for full-body airport scanners could do fundamental damage to people's right to privacy.

Her comments came after a debate in the European Parliament last night on the scanners, which would digitally x-ray passengers in order to see through their clothes. The proposal has drawn deep criticism from the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Europe (ALDE), the parliamentary group of which the LibDems are part, who are concerned that the Commission is pushing for the plan without granting Parliament a say in the matter.

Liz Lynne, who is a member of the Parliament's Human Rights Sub Committee, said:

"The proposals laid out by the European Commission currently represent an affront to people's privacy, to their human rights and to their dignity. It is absolutely vital that the European Parliament is allowed to properly examine any legislation in order to ensure that passenger's civil liberties are upheld.

"We need to able to ask the tough questions of the Commission. Specifically are these proposals even needed when we already have pat-down searches, metal detectors, luggage scans, liquid restrictions and even scans of people's shoes? Is there a real justification for essentially giving airport security staff x-ray specs?

"I, like all my ALDE colleagues, am deeply concerned by the Commission's plans. The debate last night was an important one, but we now need the Commission to take on board what was said and present clear and detailed submissions to the Parliament."