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About Scrap the Scanners

To date, Scrap the Scanners is the only single-issue group dedicated to the abolishion of Full-Body Scanning (FBS) for security processes.

Since the introduction of FBS as a compulsory screening process of commercial air passengers at UK airports and the global ramp-up of scanning at airports worldwide, Scrap the Scanners, alongside its partners (Big Brother Watch in the UK and the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) in the US) has worked tirelessly to investigate, petition governments and broaden public debate on use of the scanners.

The Scrap the Scanners group draws upon a broad spectrum of collaborators , from human rights activists, lawyers, scientists, journalists and artists to everyday people who have been affected, and often traumatised, by this Draconian measure.

The scanners are enormously ineffective, breach numerous human rights declarations, break privacy laws and are harmful to the health of  both those scanned and those operating the machines.


Defend your rights!

Stop the terror!


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13 Comments leave one →
  1. September 27, 2010 6:03 am

    The UK is making these scanners mandatory. They can not even be refused!

    Actually, that’s a mis-statement. They won’t let you on the airplane if you refuse them. Refuse them anyway! Let them unload your luggage and take the train to Paris.


    If in the UK right now, refuse them when leaving.

    If outside the UK, don’t travel to the UK.


  2. Olive Oyl permalink
    November 11, 2010 11:27 pm

    Thanks for your very clear presentation. Excellent work, just what is needed.

  3. November 15, 2010 1:49 pm

    Hi there,

    Thank you so much for what you are doing — I am 100% in support of your site!!!

    The only thing lacking in this movement is heavy emphasis on our 4th Amendment rights. I believe the gov will eventually stop this nonsense and replace it with bio-metric eye scanners and fingerprints. I don’t want that either!

    We need to keep including the maxim that we will not stand for any invasion of our 4th Amendment rights.

    Thank you. Have a great day!!!
    Sally O’Boyle

    P.S. I am NOT suggesting that anything needs to change about your site. I am sharing this with all my liberty friends, so that 4th Amendment rights do not get lost in the shuffle. We are all so busy. Restoring liberty is a full-time job.

    Want Freedom? Visit!
    Want Liberty Gear? Visit!

  4. Dennis permalink
    December 10, 2010 12:20 pm

    Hey, great and important site. I haven’t thought much about these scanners since I don’t fly very often. Actually i prefer not to if I can use a less polluting alternative, and flying is really a luxury I think we all should avoid. Even the rich people who think their business is so utterly important that they have to fly. Aaanyway, that is another story.
    Many people (including myself) still travel with aviation, so information like this is definitely great. I’ve learned a great deal.

    I don’t like Sally’s abuse and selling out of the words “freedom” and “liberty” though, and i certainly don’t like her “Liberty Gear”-site (America! Liberty! Pro-Life! Come and buy it!)

    Anyway, keep up the good work!

  5. Melanie permalink
    August 31, 2011 4:55 am

    I have a facebook page. Citizens Against Full Body Scanners. Please join! No spam, no advertising, no junk. Just people against computerized strip searches!

  6. Johnny Dee permalink
    January 13, 2012 4:49 pm

    Wasn’t sure how to email you but here is a response given by the Minister for Transport to a letter I sent to one of my MEPs. It’s nauseating of course, and was written by a robot (the letter was also scanned using OCR so there may be typos).

    Jan 2012

    Thank you for your email on behalf of your constituent regarding security scanners. Please accept my apologies for taking so long to respond to you. On the 21 November the Secretary of State announced the results of the consultation on the interim code of practice for the use of security scanners, and the changes made to the final code to enhance privacy, and address data protection concerns. All airports that deploy security scanners will be required to follow the code of practice, as it is a Directed requirement under the Aviation Security Act 1982 (as amended). The announcement also confirmed the retention of the ‘No Scan No Fly’ rule.

    ‘No Scan No Fly’ rule
    The safety and security of the travelling public is paramount and the Government firmly believes the use of security scanners is both a legal and proportionate response to a very real terrorist threat. It is for this reason that the Government has decided to retain the no scan no fly rule. Passengers will not be offered an alternative method of screening if they are selected to ‘be scanned.

    Although the proposals recently agreed by the European Parliament include the right for passengers to request an opt-out from scanning, the Government has used its powers under the Aviation Security Act to put in place more stringent measures than those required by Europe and so retain the no-scan no-fly policy.

    To do this we will use the provisions of Article 6 to EC Regulation 30012008 which allows Member States to apply more stringent measures than the common basic European standards, provided such measures are applied on the basis of a risk assessment and are in compliance with Community law.

    I am sorry that you view this as ‘gold-plating’. The nature of the security issues faced by different EU Member States varies in intensity. Aviation remains a totemic target for known terrorist groups. I feel it would be unwise to accept an EU minimum standard where the security advice is that this would be insufficient to protect the public from the terror threat we face in the UK.

    Screening of Children
    We will continue to require children to be screened by a security scanner if selected. To do otherwise would risk undermining the effect of these measures.

    I am advised that the use of security scanners for children is compatible with the Protection of Children Act 1978. The rules do not exempt children from being scanned. They can therefore ‘be selected for this type of check in the same way adults can.

    To do otherwise would risk undermining the effect of these new measures and could make children a target for terrorists seeking to attack aviation. I would also emphasise that all airport security staff performing passenger screening duties are subject to a full criminal record check. The Department’s website contains a copy of the code of practice, as well as a section of frequently asked questions on security scanners. These can be found at

    Lastly, I should mention that research carried out in relation to the scanners currently in use in the UK indicates that the vast majority of people who have been screened have happy with the process.

    I hope this response gives your constituent some insight into the Government’s approach to security scanners.


    This is such bollocks. They subject CHILDREN to IONISING RADIATION in Manchester airport! They have since stopped doing that at LHR and LGW but they still have millimetre wave machines there.
    There are so many holes in the entire “government” stance that it’s not even worth pointing them all out…

    Many thanks to you for your fantastic and very informative blog!

  7. Jane permalink
    October 17, 2013 11:42 am

    So we are at Glasgow airport right now and after considerable pressure from 3 security personnel and a duty manager my son was made to have a body scan, that they assure me is safe, or we faced being offloaded from our long awaited holiday flight. I had understood I could still refuse. HOW FARCICLE THIS WAS! They still ended up patting him down, which is what I had requested in the first place. everyone made a big deal about assuring me it was safe and then gave me the advice that in the future just make sure that we use one of the security channels further along that don’t have a scanner. Jeez!

  8. sue permalink
    November 20, 2013 2:34 pm

    I agree that these scanners pose a health risk and are unnecessary.
    As far as I understand they are using microwave radiation. It would be useful to know what the strength of the exposure is?
    Does your group provide any letters from doctors or scientists that people can take to the airport with them stating this technology is not safe? That would be very helpful
    Also for research on health risks there is plenty from

    • November 20, 2013 5:44 pm

      Hi Sue

      There are two main types of scanner that have been used at airports around the world, the first being the ‘backscatter-type’ (or ‘xray’) scanner. The European Commission called upon SCENHIR, its scientific committee to evaluate the risk presented by this technology, but their report came back as being vague and without clear results. Nonetheless, the EC decided that there was a risk to health and went ahead with the ban on these scanners. The UK finally retired these scanners at the end of last year. The level of risk has never been scientifically ratified. However you may wish to Google ‘TSA cancer cluster’, ‘Daily Mirror Heathrow Scanner Miscarriage’ and also check out my articles on this site under the ‘health’ catagory, especially the one titled “Backscatter scanners – reflection and absorption”.

      The other type of scanner, which is currently the only type in use today is the Millimetre Wave type. These are the ones that look a little like revolving doors. Millimetre Wave technology is relatively new and little is known about its health implications. As the radiation involved does not fall under the “ionising” catagory, there is no legal obligation for the UK government to evaluate the health risk, and to date, no medical agencies have undertaken any kind of risk assessment. Nonetheless, you may want to Google “Terrahertz unzips DNA” as one report that came out of the Los Alamos laborotories suggests there may be a slight link with cancer.

      On a more practical note, cancer sufferers could request a note from their doctor that they can show at airport security. While this holds no guarantees, it has worked for some people as the airport management are usually reluctant to take risks with potential legal action on health issues.

      I hope this helps.

  9. June 20, 2016 4:45 pm

    I went through Heathrow Airport the other week and was told to stand in the scanner. There were no signs saying what it was and no one said what it was either. I only realised during the scan that I was standing in the scanner.

    Found this site when I Google’d how they work. It feels like even though technically you have a choice not to be scanned, you would not know you had a choice unless you had read about it beforehand. I didn’t even know it was a scanner until during a scan. Doesn’t seem right to me.

    • June 21, 2016 1:58 pm

      Excellent point. I think it is about time we started a new campaign to petition government to rule that airports must indicate with signs that passengers have the right to opt out of the scanner process. Unfortunately, not even the security staff on duty are aware of the fact. Edinburgh airport staff, for example.

      In terms of safety, if you are still concerned about the scanners in use at UK airports, I have come to the conclusion that these scanners are not particularly dangerous, unless you are someone who suffers from radiosensitivity, wear a pacemaker, or are pregnant. If this is the case, speak about your concerns with your doctor and ask them to write you a note that you can take with you to the airport. Nonetheless, I always opt out on principle, and enourage everyone else to do the same.

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