Apr 192010
 April 19, 2010  Posted by  Non-U.S., Surveillance

Just two thirds of Brits support the roll-out of full-body scanners at UK airports, according to new research by Cheapflights UK.

The UK’s leading travel price comparison website polled 1,062 visitors on its blog in March, asking if they would refuse to take part in trials of the scanners. Sixty five per cent of respondents (693 people) backed the technology, saying it was a “small price to pay for security”.

But some 31% insisted they would boycott the scanners, voicing concerns about “privacy and modesty”. A further 4% were undecided.

The findings somewhat contradict research put out earlier this week by Unisys – an IT company which supplies scanning and biometric equipment to airports – which suggested that nine out of ten Brits have no problem with the technology.

“Full-body scanners remain a hugely controversial subject for both air passengers and privacy advocates,” commented Martin Rivers, Senior Site Editor for Cheapflights UK. “Though our findings show that most travellers understand the security concerns and accept the technology, it’s clear that many people are still very uneasy.

“When push comes to shove, I doubt that 31% of Brits would actually refuse to walk through the machines, especially as doing so would leave them grounded. But the sentiments expressed by passengers show that privacy concerns are rife. The government must tread carefully in its adoption of these scanners. It needs to strike a balance between bolstering security and preserving passengers’ rights,” added Rivers.

Cheapflights UK conducted its survey in March after two Muslim women became the first people in Britain to boycott the trials. Its findings closely resemble a recent Harris poll conducted for The Financial Times, which pointed to 62% support for the scanners among UK travellers.

Source: Cheapflights press release.

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