German airports will not implement the use of full-body scanners that reveal outlines of passengers' bodies under their clothes, even if the European Union authorizes their use, said the interior ministry Friday.
"I can tell you in all clarity that we will not take part in this nonsense," Gabriele Hermani, a spokeswoman for the interior ministry told a news conference on Friday.
The comments by the German spokeswoman come a day after European lawmakers chose to delay the authorization of the scanners. The European parliament voted overwhelmingly Thursday for additional study on the privacy and safety implications of the scanner.
The European Commission, the EU's executive branch, proposed in September to add the machines to a list of security measures used in EU airports. It has said the scanners would not be used routinely on passengers, and would provide a less intrusive alternate to strip-searching.
The scanners work by using millimetre-wave technology, which allows energy waves to bounce off the body, creating an image in the process. This method differs from traditional x-rays, which go straight through a human body.
Supporters of scanners say they make it easier to detect concealed objects such as liquids or plastic weapons not picked up by traditional metal detectors.
'Offence against human dignity'
But the proposal has come under fire from German politicians of all stripes and civil rights groups.
"It is unacceptable, if scanners are used; these are machines that see you completely naked," said Martin Schulz, leader of the Socialist faction in the EU assembly on Thursday.
"This is an offence against human dignity."
A number of U.S. airports currently use full body scanners, as do a number of EU countries, including the Netherlands.As a result, the Commission wanted to harmonize conditions in which the machines can be operated.
Should the EU approve the scanners, each of its 27 member nations would be able to choose whether to use the devices.
Authorities at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport have said passengers approved of the changes because lines moved faster.