Toledo: US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Thursday sought to allay concerns in some European Union countries over the use of body scanners in airports to thwart terrorists, saying that as the technology develops the devices will be less intrusive.
"Some of the privacy issues that have been raised are dealt with effectively by the new iterations of the technology," Napolitano told a press conference after meeting with EU interior ministers.
She denied the US was pressuring Europe to deploy the scanners. "These meetings were not about the US requiring anything," she said. The meeting did not deal with scanners
specifically but rather with broader issues on advancing aviation security, she said.
But she stressed that better screening technology was one of several important elements for protecting travellers from terrorism.
Al Qaeda "is using its best minds against the international aviation system," she said. "We must do no less."
Napolitano had been expected to press European countries to follow the Obama administration's lead in ramping up aviation security after the failed plot to bomb a US airliner on Christmas Day.
But the EU is divided amid concerns over whether the devices invade travellers' privacy and pose health risks.
First Published: Friday, January 22, 2010, 09:52