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Full-body scanner blind to bomb parts

Todger, yes. Combustibles, no

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Most of the uproar over full-body scanners has focused on privacy concerns. There's one larger question, however, that hasn't received much scrutiny by the chattering classes: do the damnable things work?

One German TV station says "Nein."

By way of Americablog comes a video of a man easily concealing the makings of high-temperature combustibles in a manner that evaded a full-body scanner. As the blogger writes: "Even if you don't understand German, it's easy enough to follow how this physicist beat the system."

First the World's Ugliest Man forced us all to remove our shoes when going through airport security. Now the Nigerian crotchbomber has upped the ante, forcing us to leave our dignity at home.

And for what? So that few hundred million taxpayer dollars can be spent slowing our boarding even longer while producing images that some of the more-squeamish members of the public have likened to child porn and which can't detect bomb ingredients?

As the video shows, the concealment of materials sufficiently incendiary to melt a frying pan is no big deal. But perhaps we should be even more distressed by what the only English speaker in the video - who appears to be pro-scanner - says about four and a half minutes into the demo: "No system is perfect."

Unarguable. And distressing on a number of different levels, from exploding aircraft to exploding security costs. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

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