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'Naked' scanner deployed at Heathrow

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'Naked' scanner deployed at Heathrow

An x-ray security scanner that sees through peoples' clothes has been deployed at Heathrow Airport.

The device, at Terminal 4, produces a 'naked' image of passengers by bouncing X-rays off their skin.

It means staff can instantly spot any hidden weapons or explosives - but the graphic black and white images raise privacy concerns.

In the US, officials are refusing to deploy the device until it can be further refined to protect passengers' modesty.

The new scanner is on trial until the end of the year at Heathrow. If the trial goes well, it could be rolled out across all British airports.

Passengers are picked to go through the body scanner on a random and voluntary basis. Those who refuse are subjected to an automatic hand search.

Security officials claim it is a far more effective way of countering potential terrorists because it detects the outline of any solid object and not just metal ones.

"I was quite shocked by what I saw," said Gary Cook, 40, a graphic designer from Shaftesbury. "I felt a bit embarrassed looking at the image."

A female passenger, who did not want to be named, said: "It was really horrible. It doesn't leave much to the imagination because you're virtually naked, but I guess it's less intrusive than being hand searched."

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