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Full-Body Scans Rolled Out At All Australian International Airports 329

Posted by samzenpus
from the taking-a-look-down-under dept.
suraj.sun writes in with a story about the spread of full body scanners. It reads in part:"Passengers at airports across Australia will be forced to undergo full-body scans or be banned from flying under new laws to be introduced into Federal Parliament this week. In a radical $28 million security overhaul, the scanners will be installed at all international airports from July and follows trials at Sydney and Melbourne in August and September last year. The Government is touting the technology as the most advanced available, with the equipment able to detect metallic and non-metallic items beneath clothing. It's also keen to allay concerns raised on travel online forums that passengers would appear nude on security screens as they had when similar scanners were introduced at U.S. airports. The technology will show passengers on a screen as stick figures of neither sex."
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Full-Body Scans Rolled Out At All Australian International Airports

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  • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Monday February 06, 2012 @10:17AM (#38941891) Homepage Journal

    Sorry, Australia. You just became unvisitable.

    Well, here's 22 hours in a flying tube, that I can take off my list, now...

  • Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hoggoth (414195) on Monday February 06, 2012 @10:19AM (#38941927) Journal

    I didn't know Australia had a terrorist problem.
    I never heard of any plane being hijacked or blown up or any attempts or any other terrorist activity.

    Would some Aussie please fill us in... what is this for?

  • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Monday February 06, 2012 @10:19AM (#38941933) Homepage Journal

    > "What problem does Australia have that this is solving?"

    Liberty.

  • by g0bshiTe (596213) on Monday February 06, 2012 @10:21AM (#38941955)
    My guess would be none, other than some influence from the US. Maybe in the form of extra funding this way the US can say to it's citizens "hey look Australia is using them".
  • Re:Why? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mitashki (1116893) on Monday February 06, 2012 @10:22AM (#38941961) Homepage

    Would some Aussie please fill us in... what is this for?

    A proof-of-concept for USA and Europe should the follow?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 06, 2012 @10:36AM (#38942087)

    its not even the nude thing for me, I don't want to be irradiated by these machine until they are proven safe. I don't really have any body issues and will happily strip naked and parade up and down the concourse and allow their security guards to fondle my genitals for a reasonable period of time to ensure nothing is hidden therein, but I do not want to be irradiated by these machines until they are proven safe.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 06, 2012 @10:44AM (#38942177)

    AUS is of the holiday list plain and simple

    Either they face reality that over 140+ people on average have access to a single airplane and that it cannot be made "safe" in absolute terms or they will loose my business and get some free bad publicity ...

    Fearmongering does not work, it never has and never will.

    As far as those two tower are concerned: more people are dying of cancer every week than that people died that day ... look at how much is being invested in that!
    Or was there a war on cancer?

    Right!

  • by geogob (569250) on Monday February 06, 2012 @10:50AM (#38942237)

    What problem does Australia have that this is solving?

    It solve only one problem : the lack of contract to some firm that did a good lobbying job.

  • a + !a (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zephvark (1812804) on Monday February 06, 2012 @10:55AM (#38942321)
    >able to detect metallic and non-metallic items

    ...or, as we like to call them, "items". Nice to see the U.S. still has a thriving export market in ideas for government corruption masquerading as expensive security theater.
  • by agwadude (666995) on Monday February 06, 2012 @11:04AM (#38942441)
    Seriously. Who don't more people ask this? Check out the Wikipedia article Terrorism in Australia [wikipedia.org] and notice not only the shortness of the article, but also the distinct lack of aviation attacks. It will only take one death from cancer caused by these body scanners and they will have caused more aviation deaths in Australia than terrorists.
  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice AT gmail DOT com> on Monday February 06, 2012 @11:23AM (#38942745)

    As I posted further up in the comments, this is due to requirements laid down by the US for all flights to the US or that go via US airspace - Australia are just making it easy for themselves and setting it as a standard for all flights.

    As an aside, Im not sure why Australia are getting all the attention - I flew back from Uganda on Friday and hit Schipol just as the snows started. In Schipol they have full body scanners at all gates, and also between the Schengen zone countries and non-Schengen zone countries terminals - as my flight was cancelled, I ended up going through about 20 of them in a 24 hour period, several times asking for a patdown instead (when they were having problems with the scanner) and being refused.

  • by jpstanle (1604059) on Monday February 06, 2012 @11:45AM (#38943027)

    You've got your technologies confused. The back-scatter-type body scanners utilize x-ray back scatter, and I think we can all agree that x-rays are ionizing radiation with known biological effects. Sure, they levels may be very low, but repeated low-level exposure to ionizing radiation can be dangerous, and it's not so simple as just dismissing it as non-ionizing radiation.

    The other type of scanner are terahertz millimeter-wave scanners. While not technically ionizing, terahertz radiation is much more energetic than UHF microwaves, and the jury is still out on their exact biological effects.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 06, 2012 @12:04PM (#38943263)

    Oh sure, then we'll need checkpoints to get to the checkpoints to get to the checkpoints. I can't wait for the day every vehicle traveling to AND from the airport is xrayed, full body scan to enter and leave building, with another scan plus a pat down to enter and leave the terminal.

  • by Remus Shepherd (32833) <remus@panix.com> on Monday February 06, 2012 @12:05PM (#38943283) Homepage

    There's a difference.

    The radiation you get from airplane travel is full-body and full-spectrum, consisting of X-Rays, Gamma rays, radio waves, and everything in between.

    The radiation you get from the terahertz scanners deposits all of its energy into your skin, in a small band of frequencies. That makes it potentially more likely to cause skin cancer than the broadband, full body radiation you get from air travel.

    Look, either of these sources is insignificant compared to the energy you get from spending a minute out in the sunlight. But the type of energy and where it is deposited matters, and the terahertz scanners have not been proven safe. Making them mandatory is short-sighted and stupid...and inevitable, given the way governments work.

  • by joshtheitguy (1205998) on Monday February 06, 2012 @12:14PM (#38943423)

    Concerns of the levels of radiation being safe or unsafe doesn't matter to me. What matters is the fact that numerous experts have proven the scanners to be completely ineffective at stopping threats and that is what people should care about.

    Why expose yourself to the radiation in the first place? I refuse these machines every time I travel domestically and if they are required by some other country I'm not going to go there just wish everyone else did the same.

  • Re:And accuracy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cloricus (691063) on Monday February 06, 2012 @05:43PM (#38947237)

    I was flying to Brisbane from Melbourne just before Christmas and my only thought, as I lined up for 20 minutes to get through the huge crowd at security, was that I felt insanely less-safe in that small enclosed space with 200-400 other people than I did on the plane.

    If you attack the plane it requires thought, planning, and luck. Compare that to just blowing yourself up in an unmoderated stagnat enclosed queue. They are shifting the threat to another venue that is easier to exploit which can only support the Security Theatre argument.

    Then again, Australia has never had a terrorist attack on its soil and ASIO is doing a bang up job getting those who are plotting, so why aren't we giving them this money?

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