Europe pulls the plug on airport scanners
Full-body scanners fail another test
It's nice to see a government finally admit that the full-body scanners used in airports are pointless and dangerous — but don't get too excited here.
It's not our government, after all. (Did you really think it would be?)
It's the European Union, where they've pulled the plug on the invasive, intrusive, cancer-causing machines that use radiation to snap a naked photo of you for low-wage security goons to giggle over like kids at a junior high slumber party.
Well, the party's over — the last of the machines are being wheeled out of European airports as you read this, probably to begin a new life as a soda machine somewhere.
If it glows, don't drink it.
The Europeans didn't say why they're ditching the machines, but there's no shortage of reasons. Let's start with the obvious: They just don't work.
Full-body scanners have flunked every test thrown their way. They can't detect certain types of explosives… can't detect explosives carried a certain way… and in one shocking experiment, an undercover federal agent managed to sneak through with a gun FIVE TIMES IN FIVE TRIES.
But it's one thing to be simply invasive and ineffective. It's quite another to be dangerous — and while security officials in Washington claim the low doses of radiation used by the machines are safe, medical officials and common sense say otherwise.
One expert, Columbia University's Dr. David Brenner, says the doses delivered by the machines are 20 times higher than what the feds had claimed. Other experts have predicted that the widespread use of full-body scanners will cause hundreds of new cases of cancer every year.
And that's assuming they're working right.
No electronic device works right 100 percent of the time — but at least when your TV goes on the fritz, the worst that can happen is you miss the latest episode of Homeland. When a full-body scanner malfunctions, you get blasted with a higher — and potentially lethal — dose of radiation.
Throw in the fact that these machines are being maintained, calibrated, and operated by government employees with a fifth-grade education, and I say it's time to make like a European and scrap the scanners here — before it's too late.
Sieg Holle BS MBA