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Full-body scan or not? Europe divided on airport security steps

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Until now, the EU has allowed member states to decide on whether to use body scanners at airport checkpoints. In 2008, the EU suspended work regulating the use of body scanners after the European Parliament demanded a more in-depth study of their impact on health and privacy.

Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport has 15 of the scanners and the Dutch have vowed to buy 60 more. They are also retrofitting the scanners with software that projects a stylized human figure onto the computer rather than the actual body image to address privacy concerns.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is pressing for Britain to add more scanners than the few they have been testing at London’s Heathrow Airport, Europe’s busiest, Manchester and other sites.

In Italy, Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said Thursday that full body scanners will be installed at Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci airport, Milan’s Malpensa airport and possibly in Venice within the next three months. In all, about 10 scanners will be purchased.

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