The Equality and Human Rights Commission on Body Scanning for Travelers with Disabilities

From the UK's Equality and Human Rights Commission:

1.2 Body scanning equipment concerns:

The Commission has asked the Government to set out in detail its proposals and the evidence to justify profiling and the introduction of body scanning equipment at airports, in a letter sent to the Home Secretary.

The Commission fully accepts the Government's responsibility to protect the safety and security of air travellers but is concerned that the proposals to introduce body scanners are likely to have a negative impact on individual's rights to privacy, especially members of particular groups including disabled people, older people, children, transgender people, women and religious groups. Under the Human Rights Act, any infringement of the right to privacy must be justified, necessary and proportionate.
The Home Secretary has also raised the issue of profiling in the context of selecting people for scanning. The Commission has serious concerns that the practice of profiling is likely to lead to selection of people on the grounds of race, ethnicity or religion. Such selection is discriminatory, contrary to domestic legislation and international standards, and is harmful to community relations.

The Commission notes that the Home Secretary has said the Government recognises these concerns and the need for further careful consideration of these issues. However, the Commission considers that the Government should proceed with the utmost caution and fully evaluate whether implementation of such policies can be carried out in a way that does not amount to unlawful discrimination.

Equality and Human Rights News issue 19

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