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crimesider

Do New Airport Body Scanners Violate Child Porn Laws? Brits Balking at US Security Demands

(AP Photo/Cynthia Boll, file)
NEW YORK (CBS/AP) British airports are largely in a holding pattern over the introduction of full body scanners, amid concerns the technology may breach child pornography and child protection laws, which ban the creation of indecent images of children, according to UK paper The Guardian.

Photo: An employee of the Schiphol airport in the Netherlands stands inside a body scanner during a demonstration on Dec. 28, 2009.

Privacy advocates are balking at the scanners, which generate naked images of passengers including their genitalia and breast enlargements.

They liken the security scanners to a "virtual strip-search," the paper writes.

The Guardian claims airport officials and ministers may have to exempt flyers under the age of 18 from using the scanners or be delayed by new legislation "to ensure airport security staff do not commit offenses under child pornography laws."

Despite the concerns, British airports may soon rely on this new technology in the wake of the bombing attempt on a jetliner bound from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown says the incident was a "wake-up call."

He announced Sunday that full body scanners would be introduced in British airports.

However, according The Guardian, airport body scanners also create an additional huge privacy concern, because semi-nude images from the devices could wind up on the internet. Civil liberties groups are demanding safeguards to ensure that never occurs.

In Manchester airport, 200 miles from London, a 12-month trial of the scanners began last month after those under 18 were exempted.

An airport spokesman told the Guardian that for now only passengers over 18 will be scanned until the legal situation with children is clarified.

Five hundred people have volunteered to take part in the Manchester trial.

Airline passengers bound for the United States faced a hodgepodge of security measures across the world Monday, but most European airports did not appear to be following a new U.S. demand for increased screening of passengers from 14 countries.

U.S. officials said the new security measures would be implemented Monday but there were few visible changes on the ground in Europe, which sends thousands of passengers on hundreds of daily flights to the United States.

In addition, few if any changes in airline procedures were reported in the 14 countries named by the U.S. as security risks, although officials in Saudi Arabia said extra security personnel had been placed at the airport.