Dubai stamps on body scanners

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The Independent Travel

Dubai authorities have announced that controversial body scanners will not be used at the Emirates' airports, in a blow to US security authorities who are facing a continued domestic backlash against the machines.

The scanners, which allow security personnel to see through clothes, will not be deployed at Dubai's busy hubs because they "do not correspond with national customs and ethics," according to reports from the country.

“I do not feel that it is necessary for us to implement such a technology while we are operating different methods and have different avenues that have worked so far,” Brig Ahmed bin Thani told Dubai newspaper The National.

The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has been a strong supporter of the technology since the attempted airline bombing in Detroit last December and since then, the US, the UK, the Netherlands and Italy have all started to implement the technology, albeit on selected flights.

Despite the TSA's insistence that 1,000 of the machines will be in place by the end of 2011, the domestic revolt against body scanners is continuing, with multiple legal challenges on privacy grounds being filed against their use and some physicians expressing serious concerns about the use of the machines.

Dubai's rejection of the technology could prompt other Middle Eastern states such as Abu Dhabi and Oman to follow suit, stymieing the use of body scanners in one of the fastest-growing aviation areas in the world.

Last month, South Korea's human rights commission recommended that the country's government cancel plans to introduce the scanners this year, saying that it feared they would violate personal privacy.

They have also been criticized by several EU officials and the Pope, who warned that "human dignity must be preserved."