October 1, 2010 / 11:23 AM / 8 years ago

Full-body scanners on trial at Hamburg airport

A security official demonstrates a full body scanner during a photocall at Departure Gate 2 at Hamburg Airport in Hamburg September 27, 2010. REUTERS/Christian Charisius

BERLIN (Reuters Life!) - Germany has begun a six-month trial period of controversial full-body scanners at Hamburg airport.

Passengers will be given the choice of passing through the scanners or undergoing the traditional physical search.

The full-body scanners use low-frequency electromagnetic waves to screen passengers and show any objects detected — including non-metallic ones — on a schematic stick-figure.

“The full-body scanners don’t create an image of the body,” said Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, who was the first to test Hamburg’s new security devices this week.

“They produce a stick-figure, which doesn’t allow the viewer to determine the passenger’s body measurements or physique.”

Full-body scanners have been the subject of heated debate ever since a Nigerian man tried to blow up a plane from Amsterdam bound for Detroit using explosive devices sewn into his underwear on Christmas Day in 2009.

While other European countries have been using the scanners for some time, concerns over privacy prevented them from being introduced in Germany until now.

Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Steve Addison

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