E-gads! Airport Scanners Harming Kindles, Say Users
Static might be the culprit, but Kindle denies any problem
By Mary Papenfuss, Newser Staff
Posted Nov 21, 2011 12:56 AM CST
Updated Nov 21, 2011 5:32 AM CST
Kindle says thousands of devices go through scanners every day without a problem.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, FILE)

(Newser) – Bad news for voracious readers. Some traveling e-bookworms are complaining that airport security scanners have harmed their Kindles, reports the Telegraph. Users of the affected Kindles say that the scanners seem to affect the electronic ink display on the e-readers, devices which are particular favorites of fliers. At least one owner suspects radiation is the culprit. But a Cambridge University electronics expert believes the radiation isn't strong enough to cause such a problem. He suspects that screens could be harmed by a build-up of static inside the scanners.

“A static charge from an airport scanner could be 100 volts or more,” said Professor Daping Chu. “That could permanently stick the particles to the screen." A Kindle spokesman dismissed the concerns. "Exposing your Kindle to an X-ray machine, such as those used by airport security, should not cause a problems," he said. "Many Kindle users travel by air, and their Kindles are screened by airport security every day without issue.” Users who have had problems report that their damaged Kindles have been replaced for free, notes the Telegraph. The bad news? Gizmodo warns that if scanner static is affecting Kindles, it will also harm other e-readers—and other electronic devices.

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Showing 3 of 6 comments
Nov 24, 2011 11:05 PM CST
Who cares that they bath you radiation and violate your privacy, what matters is that they're fuckin up your electronics devices. this makes sense. people are so empty anymore...their entire self-worth depends on their toys.
Nov 21, 2011 1:15 PM CST
OK ... I worked on the checkpoints for over eight years.A "scanner" is the machine used to screen people. It uses either low level X ray or millimeter wave to scan. There is precisely NO reason ANY electronic device like an iPad or Kindle goes in there. The X rays used for screening carry on bags is also very low level X ray. I've had veterinarians tell me the machines they used were MUCH stronger than ours. Computers and every kind of electronic device known to man have been being screened with these machines for decades. Every kind of memory system and portable screen known to man has passed through those machines tens of thousands of times a day day after day ever since the devices were invented. If they harmed any kind of electronics we would certainly have discovered it by now. As to the static charge built up between the conveyor belts and the machine itself ... I have never witnessed it. X ray is also used to screen checked bags. I don't know how weak or strong those machines are. I do know that, as with the devices that are carried aboard, those in checked bags have been being screened by X ray for years and years. If the machines were damaging electronics we'd know about it by now.
Nov 21, 2011 8:21 AM CST
How much research has been done on the safety of these things? Do they really care that little for us? For one flight in the history of us flight (that has enough question marks around it, but that's for another time)