A Whiff of Ostalgie


Back in the day, East Germany's secret police would break into the homes of suspected dissidents, steal unwashed underwear, and "store" the human scents they'd collected in meticulously marked jars. Now the German government is improving on a Stasi classic:

The German authorities are compiling a database of human scents to track down possible violent protesters at the G8 summit in June.

The method, once used by East Germany's secret police, the Stasi, involves collecting scent samples in advance from selected targets.

The scents are then passed to police equipped with sniffer dogs who can pick the individuals out amid a crowd.

Elsewhere in reason: Glenn Garvin reviewed Anna Funder's wonderful Stasiland last year.