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Body scanners to come sooner than expected

DDP/The Local · 3 Jan 2010, 13:01

Published: 03 Jan 2010 13:01 GMT+01:00

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The head of the German parliament's Committee on Interior Affairs Wolfgang Bosbach said Sunday he expected the body-scanners to be introduced in the current year.

Body scanners have re-entered the debate on airport security since a terrorist attempted to blow up a plane at Detroit airport in the US on Christmas Day. Nigerian-born Umar Faruk Abdulmutallab, who was apparently working for Al-Qaeda, had sewn a bomb into his underpants, where it went undetected at Amsterdam airport in the Netherlands.

Bosbach told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung newspaper, "I believe we will start tests in the next six months," before adding that he was confident that the tests would show that the privacy of passengers would not be invaded. "If everything goes well, we can start regular service a few months later"

Interior affairs spokesman for the conservatives' parliamentary group, Hans-Peter Uhl, said, "We cannot afford to do without body scanners in times of mass tourism." Uhl said he was certain that the scanners presented no dangers either to health or civil rights.

After the initial scepticism of Free Democratic Party leader Guido Westerwelle, the FDP has now also come out in favour of the use of the scanners. FDP state secretary for justice Max Stadler told the Tagesspiegel newspaper that they were "the right step."

The police, whose union GdP was initially against the use of the scanners, has already developed body scanners that disguise passengers' intimate areas.

But Klaus Jansen of professional police association Bundes Deutscher Kriminalbeamter (BDK) warned against over-confidence that the scanners would provide security. "We have to make sure that we're not just implementing a technical solution that gives us a false sense of security," he said in an interview with the radio station Deutschlandfunk.

Petra Pau of the Left party also called the scanners a "security mirage," with health, practical, and ethical issues attached. "A minimum wage for security services would be a lot more effective than state-ordained peep-shows," she said in a statement.

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The police union GdP echoed Pau's concern, despite seeing the new amendments to the technology as acceptable. "Some security workers get €7.50 an hour, and often call in sick or work another job because of it. That is not acceptable," GdP chairman Konrad Freiberg told the Berliner Morgenpost newspaper.

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

13:41 January 3, 2010 by Fredfeldman
What's the problem? If the machine is incapable of saving images then the privacy issue is muted. But it won't stop here - the next level will be terrorists ingesting explosives or having them surgically implanted. Get ready for a CAT scan when you travel.
15:38 January 3, 2010 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen
@Fredfeldman You are absolutely right. That's why this is a complete dog & pony show, and doesn't provide any tangible security benefit whatsoever. Any seriously threat against the airplane will still be smuggled on by some maintenance crew, not a psychotic idiot with a bottle of perfume and a match.
16:43 January 3, 2010 by Celeon
The "health issue" is non existant.

The radiation dosis recieved by a single backscatter x-ray is 0.005 millirems. The upper safety limit for x-ray exposure is 25 millirems per year.

That means you would need to recieve 5000 bodyscans per year before you have a real reason to worry. Not many people who can claim that they are flying so often each year :-D Im not sure if bodyscanners have no security benefits.

Of course they have.

If one argues that hard and sharp plastic knifes are already enough of a danger which make metal detectors useless or points to the fact that a terrorist may shoves a sort of weapon up his....you know...thus making body checks useless then one could also argue that it makes no sense to use metal detectors anymore at all.

Shall we just switch them off?

You know because they are anway so useless as one may simply use a weapon without metal parts? So we throw those detectors out and stop checking bags because all terrorists could use in-body explosives and plastic knives now yeah? Right.

Checking and x-raying bags and search people with metal detectors is not aimed at making terrorist attacks on airplanes impossible. These measures are about making it as hard as possible for terrorists to get something really useful for achieving their goal aboard a plane.
17:36 January 3, 2010 by cleavage
basically there is no safety in flying today. Why is there still lighters allowed on flights? These "scanners" could not have detected the power carried on the Christmas flight
01:46 January 4, 2010 by herringbreath
now we will be safe from the dangerous exploding tampon. we need a machine to show exactly how far up their colons these rule-makers have their heads. the airline/travel industry will end up destroying itself, encumbered by increasingly long waits and delays, leading to travellers' dissatisfaction with air travel. As if it could get much worse . . .
02:31 January 4, 2010 by John Beck
The objective of a terrorist is to spread terror and paranoia. Reading through all these post in this forum and others, I can safely say that the terrorist have met their objective and successfully made us all paranoid. They successes in making us change our way of life by restricting our freedom and that, my friends is a victory for the terrorist. The joke is on us by falling into this trap…
17:46 January 4, 2010 by maz1901
oh well another liberty could bite the dust here......but to be honest every thing you need to blow up a plane is available in the duty free shop air side , so by almeans scan away , all it takes is 1 ltr of spirts and a scource of ignition , and a determind terrorist , good bye plane and all its nice scanned passengers. if they want to do it they will . . At the end of the day they are doing what aterrorist does , through fear he denies the common people their freedom and libities. this is not the way forward , its two steps back .
22:06 January 4, 2010 by dds
The full body scanners use x-rays. The fact remains that you are being subjected to ionizing radiation, and it is harmful to your body:



While they may say the levels are "safe" or the x-rays penetrate "just a little" into the skin, 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.

I will not expose myself, and my family to this radiation when travelling. No matter how small they say it is. I will happily strip stark naked rather than choose the scan.
10:37 August 19, 2010 by nancylove
The scanners are very likely illegal under the ECHR and also fall foul of various national laws if they are used on under 18s. That's why in Europe lots have been bought but have not been used.

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