German Pirate flashmobs protest enhanced airport scanners

THE GERMAN PIRATE PARTY burst on the scene last spring and received a promising but ultimately unremarkable 2 percent in the September Bundestag election. At the time I thought this event was worthy of a thorough write-up in an OS post, but I also assumed the movement had peaked. I may well be right about that, but the group is still out there capturing headlines the way it does best: through calculated provocations and a keen sense of drama.

As I wrote yesterday, the German police union has reversed its policy against backscatter security scanners, which virtually strip air passengers naked as they pass through airport security checkpoints. The German government is likely to overturn its ban some time soon and the rest of the European Union is set to follow.

As it turns out, this is just the sort of news that brings the Pirates – who have transformed the struggle against “glass people” into the battle cry of the digital generation – out of their winter hibernation. On Sunday, January 10, dozens of Pirates flocked to the main airports of Frankfurt/Main, Berlin, and Düsseldorf to stage demonstrations against the future deployment of the new scanners. The buccaneers stripped down to their underwear and marched through the airports chanting “You don’t need to scan us – we’re already naked!” They also claimed to be heading for Flight GO1984, a refererence to George Orwell’s dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four…

Continued…

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