German Pirate Party members strip off for Berlin airport scanner protest

Hardy members of Germany's Pirate Party stripped down to their underwear and went to Berlin airport, their bodies marked with slogans in makeup or on paper signs: "Something to hide?", "Be a good citizen -- drop your pants."

One woman has the word diaper scrawled on her lower back with an arrow pointing to her underwear and the word prosthetic printed on her leg. The word piercing and an arrow point to one of her breasts.

The full-body scanners use high-frequency radio waves to produce an image of a passengers naked body beneath clothes. Anything a passenger is carrying against the body -- weapons, drugs or explosives -- would be exposed. The scanners would also reveal the presence of prosthetic devices and breast implants.

As such, there have been privacy and legal concerns raised about the invasive equipment, particularly because its unclear if the scanners would be able to detect explosives hidden in body cavities and would therefore likely provide only minimal security.

Full Monty Scanner or Enhanced Pat-Down - the Only Options? (Thanks, J9C, via Submitterator)


  1. Hate to be the science/radio dork here on a political/rights story, the story says high frequency radio waves. High frequency is by itself a technical term and means 3-30mhz (roughly 90-10 meter wavelength) what we also call shortwave radio freqs. These scanners use millimeter wavelength microwaves; they are technically bestcalled EHF or extremely high frequency radio waves.

    Our naming convention initially comes form the turn of the century through the 20’s when there were actually mechanically oscillated radio transmitters in use and shortwave was exotic compared to the more normal medium frequency AM broadcast band.

  2. It’s quite sensible…until everybody is naked, for the duration of the flight, how can we be certain, that nobody is harboring some sort of ill intent?

    I don’t have a problem with people seeing me naked…I just don’t want to be irradiated, or groped…

  3. It says, “Dieses Video ist in deinem Land nicht verfügbar” (i.e. Video not available in your country).

    I’m in Germany. A video by the German Pirate Party, made in Berlin, Germany, is not available in Germany.

    1. I guess there’s a lot of us in Deutschland then?

      I think maybe I’ll go protest vs. Youtube at Tempelhof right now, with clothes. Anyone?

  4. Whipped out my trusty American VPN to see why we are not allowed to watch it in Germany. It’s that old recording rights bullshit again: the uploader decided to use Goldfrapp in the audio track; apparently their tracks are “protected” by the hellspawn that is GEMA.

  5. cory, could boingboing editors please always provide a text link to the youtube page when linking to videos? this way readers from d’oh-land can copy and paste the link and go to proxy services like to watch the video.

    having a link in the article saves a lot of hassle, because the page saying “fsck off, viewer” doesn’t have the video id in the url. you’d have to search for the video title and c-n-p it from the search results.

    but hey – if we’d all use tor, this would be just a matter of statistics…


  6. Man, when are Americans going to have the balls to stand up our rights the way the Germans do? Get with it Yanks!

  7. It isn’t just Germany… something’s messed up.
    In California, I tried to play it from the BoingBoing rss feed in Google Reader and got this:

    This video contains content from Sony Music Entertainment. It is restricted from playback on certain cites.
    Watch on YouTube.

    But it works fine from both the BoingBoing embed and Youtube, so a Youtube video is being restricted from playing via Google?

  8. In my opinion this scanners goes against our privacy is same to go to the airport with naked body . I know this is for security but really is necesary the use of this machines is necesary that other people look your body is your body is something privacy , any way I can’t fell confortable with this for me it is a disrespect and I know that everybody isn’t agree with me because not for everyone the body is important and privacy with is for me.

  9. “This video is not available in your country.”

    Being not only in Germany, but even in Berlin! And I even have seen Goldfrapp live (which wasn’t entirely unboring), so I should be personally entitled to watch this! Now!

    When in Germany, do as the Germans do…

  10. I never understand the “they could hide it inside their body” comments so long as they can bring 3 oz tubes of chemicals on a plane with them.

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