European Union Limits Use of Airport Body Scanners

The European Union has adopted strict new guidelines limiting the use of body scanners at EU airports. Under the new guidelines, European Union member states may only deploy airport body scanners if they comply with new regulations that protect health, privacy, and fundamental rights. The European Commission has also prohibited any devices that store, record, or transfer images of travelers as well as devices that display an image of the naked human body. As a result, backscatter x-ray devices are now effectively prohibited in airports in the European Union. The European Commission has also made clear that passengers may not be required to go through body scanners, following the conclusion reached by the federal appellate court in the United States in the EPIC v. DHS case, which held that passengers have a legal right to opt-out of body scanners. The body scanners have not done well during trials in Europe. Most recently a test in Germany found that the devices were ineffective. For more information, see EPIC: Whole Body Imaging Technology and EPIC: EPIC v. DHS (Suspension of the Body Scanner Program).

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