Anti-terror body scanner gets London trial

Jan 12, 2006

A new high-tech security system to detect would-be terrorists went on trial at London's Paddington station Thursday.

A steel box 7 meters long has been erected on a platform at the station, inside which is a millimeter wave scanner capable of detecting items concealed beneath a person's clothing.

The security system is to be tested at Paddington for four weeks, during which time randomly selected passengers will be asked to participate.

It will take passengers around 80 seconds to pass through the security box, during which time their baggage will also be scanned by an X-ray machine.

On entering the box, the passenger will pass into the scanner, where they will be instructed to place their feet in footmarks on the floor and raise their arms in the air. A robot-like body image of the passenger will be transmitted to a screener, sitting in a booth in the far corner of the box.

If necessary the passenger or their luggage can then be searched by hand.

When first announcing the trial in November, Transport Secretary Alistair Darling made clear it was not considered feasible to introduce airport-style security on London's transport network because of the sheer volume of passengers.

He told a transport conference in London: "You just simply couldn't have people queuing up for hours to get through -- you would be doing the terrorists' job for them. What you can do is ask yourself whether, on a selective basis, at a point where it is appropriate, it could help to make things safer and reduce the risk."

Rebecca Cox, director of counter-terrorism and resilience at the Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies, said that while the body scanner could be effective, it could only be used in areas where the volume of passenger traffic was relatively controllable.

At present, the scanner is being tested at the Paddington platform for the express train to Heathrow Airport, which sees relatively low traffic. The scanner would be "unworkable" at an everyday rail or underground platform, she told United Press International.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Does your computer know how you're feeling?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Liquids scanner for airport security

Feb 08, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Air passengers one day may be able to carry their soaps, shampoo and bottled water onto the plane again, thanks to technology originally developed at UC Davis to check the quality of wine.

Better airport scanners delayed by privacy fears

Dec 28, 2009

(AP) -- High-tech security scanners that might have prevented the Christmas Day attempt to blow up a jetliner have been installed in only a small number of airports around the world, in large part because ...

Luggage screening standards prove their value

Jun 11, 2013

Every month, between 50 and 70 million passengers travel through U.S. airports, toting more than 30 million pieces of luggage destined for aircraft cargo holds. Since 2004, federal legislation requires that ...

Recommended for you

Oregon sues Oracle over failed health care website

6 hours ago

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum says she's filed a lawsuit against Oracle Corp. and several of its executives over the technology company's role in the state's troubled health insurance exchange.

Google buys product design firm Gecko

6 hours ago

Google on Friday confirmed that it bought Gecko Design to bolster its lab devoted to technology-advancing projects such as self-driving cars and Internet-linked Glass eyewear.

Lawsuits challenge US drone, model aircraft rules

6 hours ago

Model aircraft hobbyists, research universities and commercial drone interests filed lawsuits Friday challenging a government directive that they say imposes tough new limits on the use of model aircraft ...

Fitbit to Schumer: We don't sell personal data

10 hours ago

The maker of a popular line of wearable fitness-tracking devices says it has never sold personal data to advertisers, contrary to concerns raised by U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer.

User comments : 0