What happens when you opt out of the "voluntary" pornoscanners at Berlin's Schönefeld airport

Yesterday morning, Matthias Kirschner opted out of the "voluntary" full-body scanners at Berlin's Schönefeld, and discovered that "voluntary" means that "if you don't do it, they will barrack you endlessly about your choice, punitively repeatedly perform the same searches over and over, and attempt to delay you so you almost miss your flight."

This is also the case at Heathrow in London: the times I've opted out there, I've been told to sit and wait for a supervisor (fair enough), but then the screeners took it upon themselves, singly and in bunches, to loom over me and tell me how foolish I was being, how the machines were safe and had good information security, etc -- insisting at first that this was their duty ("to find out why I was opting out"), and then admitting (after I flashed my National Union of Journalists press-card and started writing down their names) that this was the job of their supervisor and it was merely recreational abuse on their part.

Incidentally, five years ago, German cops dismissed these scanners as "useless."

Then the second officer brought me to my luggage, and asked me to unpack everything to have another scan of my belongings. During that he asked me why I refused the "body scanner" and there was some back and forth. As always I stayed friendly all the time, as I know that for the officers my behaviour meant more work, and that they are following orders. He explaining me they just see the contours and nothing else. I told him, that I do not trust what data of my body shape is saved and where it is stored. During the talk I also told him that what they see on their screens, and what is saved on the disk can be different things, and that just because they cannot access files from before does not mean they are not stored.

In the talk he explained me that they have to ask for the reasons why I am not doing the (see above "voluntary") check, and evaluate if this is plausible or if I am covering-up something. Pregnancy or implants would be a plausible reason. When I asked about data protection he said that is not a plausible reason, and that in such cases they would also have to ask the police to check you again.

After my luggage was scanned the second time, and I had all my belongings in the bag again they said they will now have to do the testing for signs of explosives. I told them that I was already checked for that, but they said that now my luggage will be checked. Well, so be it, another check and I can assure you that I am now quite sure that neither I nor my belongings I were in contact with explosives recently.

Rejection of voluntary naked scanner at airport [Matthias Kirschner/K7R]

Notable Replies

  1. Old says:

    National Union of Journalists press-card

    How do I get one of these?

    I always opt out and I always get the hassle.

  2. recreational abuse

    I expect we're going to hear this phrase a lot more in 2017.

  3. The Porno Scanners are only in Sector C, just go through A, B or D and you'll be fine, no baracking, no pornoscanning. Queues are always shortest upstairs in Sector A anyway (insider tip)

  4. The low-rez images are generated from hi-rez images, and the only assurance we have that those aren't leaking is the unauditable word of the vendors whose previous IT and infosec was such a shitshow, it was an insult to shitshows.

  5. I hate these scanners. I lived for 40 years before getting top surgery, then I had to fly through TSA and the damn scanners repeatedly for work. Even if you are willing to go through them, if you are trans? You get pulled for the same bullshit. I've flown in and out of some of the biggest airports in the US for work, and I had to plan on getting there hours extra early to account for the amount of time some agent would see my flattened bound chest and freak out, and pull me aside.

    It was all the more galling because I read enough to know actual security experts thought the scans were useless.

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