The German police have rejected the use of body scanners after testing the equipment at Hamburg Airport for 10 months and finding it sorely lacking. Security officials cited slow processing speeds and an excessive number of false positives, as well as concerns over both the health and privacy of travelers.
According to a story in the German weekly Welt am Sonntag that was picked up and translated into English by Agence France-Presse, “35 percent of the 730,000 passengers checked by the scanners set off the alarm more than once despite being innocent.”
These are the same scanners, made by L-3 Communications, that have been rolled out in many U.S. airports, without much public debate in advance, and to similar criticism and concerns.
The report noted that the U.S. “stepped up the deployment of body scanners at airports after a Nigerian man was accused of trying to ignite explosives concealed in his underwear during a Christmas day flight from Amsterdam to Detroit in 2009. Washington then urged the European Union to follow suit but Europeans decided to first study their impact on health and privacy.”
Other European states that are testing body scanners include Great Britain, France, the Netherlands, Italy and Finland.
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