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The head of Interpol has questioned whether the ongoing scramble by western governments to install body scanners at airports is financially worthwhile and said they are is unlikely to stop terrorists.

Ron Noble, the internation criminal intelligence agency's secretary-general, said at Davos that if you are a terrorist, "Are you going to carry explosives that are going to be detected? No."

The AP reports he also questioned "the amount of money and resources that go into these machines".

Gordon Brown told Parliament last week that body scanners would be installed at UK airports this week. A Department of Transport spokesman today told The Register he was unsure if they had been deployed yet, but noted the week isn't over.

Noble also cast doubt on the usefulness of no-fly lists, another of the UK government's policy responses to the failed Christmas day airliner bombing over Detroit.

"(The lists) are useful but I don't believe they are the be-all and end-all," he said, expressing concern about their expansion.

He explained that passport fraud was a major problem, and that the best way to improve airport security was through better intelligence and intelligence sharing.

"Right now in our database we have over 11 million stolen or lost passports," he said.

"These passports are being used, fraudulently altered and are being given to terrorists, war criminals, drug traffickers, human traffickers." ®

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