I had a very nice time in Kiev, until my trip back this afternoon—read also about my baggage mishap. After years of vociferously protesting full body scanners as an unreasonable and unconstitutional intrusion on privacy, I quickly caved in this afternoon when I was asked to go through an L-3 Millimeter Wave Scanner at Boripsol Airport.
Security is one level above check-in and my heart sank when I saw the scanners. I had a feeling there was no opt-out available in Ukraine, particularly when I read this sign:
Nevertheless, I did ask the guy checking my ticket if I was required to go through the scanner. He looked at me with a confused look and I repeated my question, stating that I did not want to walk through the machine. He simply stated, “No scan. No fly.” Roger that—through the machine I marched.
I would and will never go through a scanner in the United States, but this was not the USA. Bottom line: I wanted to fly and as a foreign visitor who elected to visit Ukraine, I had no right to opt-out.
Nevertheless, I found it quite disheartening that Ukraine has taken the guilty-until-proven-innocent approach when it comes to airport screening. I am not a scholar of the Ukrainian Constitution (Конституція України), but Article 28 states:
Everyone has the right to respect of his or her dignity.
No one shall be subjected to torture, cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment that violates his or her dignity.
Does a virtual strip search fall under this prohibition? I could make that argument.
Kiev is a wonderful city—pictures coming this week—so don’t skip it because of airport security, but be warned: the full body scanners cannot be avoided.