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Government not opposed to body scanners

AFP · 30 Dec 2009, 11:52

Published: 30 Dec 2009 11:52 GMT+01:00

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"I cannot yet say whether we will find a solution ... but I think it is worth researching to see whether there is a machine that would protect personal rights," Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told the Süddeutsche Zeitung daily.

Security experts believe that body scanners could have detected the explosives that Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was hiding as he boarded a Northwest Airlines plane in Amsterdam for his attempted bombing last week.

But such scanners, which are already used at 19 US airports and a handful of courthouses and prisons, and which are being tested at numerous international airports, are controversial because they scan beneath clothing.

De Maiziere said that current security checks at airports involving frisking by security staff was also "not something that is particularly pleasant - and it takes a while too."

"A suitable scanner could have the advantage of being quicker and that there is no bodily contact," he said.

He added that technology was being developed that would blur "bodily structures" such as genitals.

Body scanners are being tested in numerous European airports but their use was halted after the European Union expressed concerns and protested a plan to install the scanners at airports throughout the 27-nation bloc.

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Meanwhile the head of the German police union, the GdP, Josef Scheuring, accused the government of using the debate on scanners to distract attention away from the "failures of recent years" in security policy.

Security at airports around the world has been stepped up since the December 25 attempted attack, and on Tuesday Germany announced increased checks on passengers and their hand luggage at the country's airports.

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Your comments about this article

03:05 December 31, 2009 by Davey-jo
Hey well; I guess not! What a surprise! Government would love to see into your pants; go let them!
03:06 December 31, 2009 by Fredfeldman
What's the problem? As long as the machines are not capable of retaining the images there is no privacy issue worth discussing.
21:55 January 4, 2010 by dds
The problem is that these scanners work by radiating your body with ionizing x-ray radation.





While they may say it is "safe" or the x-rays penetrate "just a little" into the skin, the truth is that in the unedited, unblurred scans, the bones of people can be seen. This scan may just be the one that fires the x-ray photons which will trigger the cellular mutation that leads to cancer in your body.

In public transit, X-rays are useful to look into non-living bags & shoes, but it is crazy to radiate millions of innocent travellers and a violation of their bodies.

I will refuse to expose myself, and my family to this radiation when travelling. No matter how small they say it is. I will happily strip stark naked if they want me to, but I will not enter these machines of death.
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