Big Brother gets intimate

CCTV is not a Manx invention. It is something we have imported, for inexplicable reasons. You know the story – low crime rate, high detection rate, safe place to live – and that comes straight from the horse’s mouth. Under those circumstances it is truly difficult to understand why we have poured so much money into police-state-style surveillance, while cities such as Amsterdam (red lights, coffee shops) survive perfectly well without this level of surveillance.  However, the possibility that someone, somewhere is making a nice fat profit from instigating paranoia is hardly remote.

For this reason it is essential that we are well-informed about the latest technology toys in use elsewhere. Once these gadgets become accepted in other jurisdictions it becomes more acceptable to suggest island implementation of high level security measures – and the expensive technology required. Those of us who are aware that, as road users, we are compelled to engage in potentially deadly activities on a daily basis will undoubtedly find the high level, costly airport security checks both irritating and exaggerated. However, it can get worse if we let it. From July Australia will require all selected passengers to undergo a full body scan:

The proposed Aviation Security Amendment (Screening) Bill 2012 will make it mandatory for any passenger selected to participate in undergoing a body scan.

The “no scan, no fly” amendment closes a loophole in the legislation, which allows passengers to request a pat-down instead of having to pass through a metal detector.

Sounds familiar – remove rights to privacy and make a killing at the same time.  How much do these scanners cost?  We all know they are not cheap. I have heard it said that it is inevitable that the Isle of Man will require these at some point. But there is truly no logical argument for this. At what point do they become a necessity? What is the deciding factor?

I presently avoid airports which use a no-scan, no-fly policy. On enquiring at a European airport if scans were mandatory I was told that it would not be possible from a legal point of view. It would not be acceptable to compel passengers to undergo scans. So it seems that not all countries find it OK to subject us to possible health dangers.  If we make it clear that we will boycott those airports which use them, full body scanners will become much less attractive technology.

Why should we be treated as suspects? Those enforcing this high-tech surveillance (it must be high-tech – it costs a fortune) should remember that we are paying their salaries. We do have the power.


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