Germany rejects airport body scanners

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Germany has decided against installing body scanners across the country's airports after a pilot scheme in Hamburg was blighted by false alarms, the interior ministry announced on Wednesday.

"Based on the test results from the pilot scheme, Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich has decided not to install body scanners in airports for the moment," said a statement from the ministry.

"The current generation of body scanners ... is not yet ready for widespread implementation.

"The federal police are going to take a closer look at the whole question and we hope we will soon have access to the kind of equipment that can meet our security goals while at the same time meeting passenger requirements."

Around 800,000 passengers took part in the tests at Hamburg airport in northern Germany since they began last September and finished in July.

But a report compiled at the end of July, which was leaked to the German press, expressed severe criticism of the scanners, saying that around 70 percent of the alarms proved to be false.

"That level must be released," said the report.

The scanners were particularly sensitive to multi-layered clothing, boots and zippers, according to the leaked report.

The use of scanners at airports caused an uproar in the United States last year because they produce a graphic image of a person's body, giving rise to the name "naked scanner".

US authorities stepped up their deployment after a Nigerian man tried to set off explosives concealed in his underwear during a Christmas Day flight from Amsterdam to Detroit in 2009.

Several other European countries, including Britain, France and the Netherlands have tested body scanners.

© 2011 AFP

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