Interpol chief slams body scanners

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Passport fraud a bigger problem.

The head of international law enforcement organisation Interpol has launched a scathing attack on the use of body scanning technology in airports, according to an Associated Press report.

Speaking to AP at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Interpol Secretary-General Ronald K. Noble argued that better intelligence and information sharing between countries is required, rather than wide-scale body scanning technology.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown told parliament last week that body scanners would be placed in UK airports this week.

The US has already rolled out machines at its airports and a growing number of countries are following suit, after Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted to blow himself up on a flight to Detroit over the Christmas holiday period.

However, the Interpol chief’s views echo growing dissent over the use of what many believe to be flawed technology.

Noble is reported as questioning “the amount of money and resources that go into these [body-scanning] machines", and argued that passport fraud is a bigger travel threat.

“The greatest threat in the world is that last year there were 500 million, half a billion, international air arrivals worldwide where travel documents were not compared against Interpol databases," he told AP.

“You don't know the motivation behind the person carrying the passport. [If you're a terrorist] are you going to carry explosives that are going to be detected? No."

This week MEPs expressed concerns over the privacy and health implications of the technology, arguing that body scanners should not become “the religion of counter terrorism”.

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