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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 bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Monday February 06, 2012 @11:16AM (#38941879) Homepage Journal

    What problem does Australia have that this is solving?

    • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Monday February 06, 2012 @11:19AM (#38941933) Homepage Journal

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

      Liberty.

      • And accuracy (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The images may be shown on the display screen as stick figures, but the unmodified nude 3d models are still stored as useful biometric information data in government databases. Count on it.

        • by dgatwood (11270)

          Whether it is or not is irrelevant. The fact is that it could be. Thus, this does nothing to "allay concerns" except perhaps among people who don't know anything at all about how technology works.

          Either way, I've just added a country to my list of places I will never have the opportunity to visit as a tourist. Because you could not pay me enough money to walk through those things. Ever. Period. No alternative = no visit. End of story, end of discussion, end of my tourism dollars going to your country

          • by wiedzmin (1269816)

            Australia was fairly high on my list of places to visit. I just marked it off the list.

            Ditto. Joined the list of countries I won't visit over privacy concerns, right after US and UK.

            • by Fluffeh (1273756)

              Australia was fairly high on my list of places to visit. I just marked it off the list.

              Ditto. Joined the list of countries I won't visit over privacy concerns, right after US and UK.

              Dammit, let's keep the big picture in focus here! Now, I am no longer able to be all smug about those stuipd US privacy nuts failing to properly protest getting these into the US and mocking them in patronizing tones. Now I have the idignity of being in the same bucket down here in Australia.

              What amazes me thoughis how well this was kept under the radar. I normally think that I am quite abreast of these sort of issues, but now and again they just pop up out of nowhere.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by g0bshiTe (596213)
      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".
    • by pjr.cc (760528) on Monday February 06, 2012 @11:21AM (#38941957)

      In Australia we have two huge problems that need solving - paranoia and a willingness of our government to spy on everything we do.

      How the internet firewall didnt get rolled out is a mystery to me (even though in part it did manage to make a small appearance in a different form).

    • by Rogerborg (306625) on Monday February 06, 2012 @11:25AM (#38941993) Homepage

      What problem does Australia have that this is solving?

      They may be getting on top of their skin cancer problem, and need to drive some demand.

    • by Swampash (1131503) on Monday February 06, 2012 @11:33AM (#38942065)

      I wonder which large North American nation might have leant on Australia to install these things.

    • by geogob (569250) on Monday February 06, 2012 @11:50AM (#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.

    • The problem that it solves is the ability to fly aircraft to the USA - the US lays down the requirements for the security of flights that are flying to a US airport or over their airspace, and if the flights do not meet the requirements, tehy do not fly direct (see the issue of the Pakistan International Airlines issues where for a long long time after they bought their brand new Boeing 777s, they had to do a stop over in Manchester, UK on all Pakistan-USA flights, deboard the aircraft and everyone was put through UK security before the plane could depart for the US (the plane was also subject to search while the passengers were offloaded).

      If the security measures do not match up to what the US wants, you have problems flying to the US...

      Sure, its a self made problem, but its a problem none-the-less.

      • I have a mismatched parenthesis in my last post (one less closing bracket than I should have), so for those of you who get driven insane by that, here you go - ).

      • What any sane goverment should do is just that, clean their hands of all the hassle of traveling to the US, till every passsanger or turist thinks twice about doing so. The dependence on the US and the following import of laws and regulations is doing no favors to any other country.
        • Tourism and business is a big part of travel between the US and Australia... they wouldn't want to lose that income.

          • Australia would loose no tourists at all, the US would (and has). In business, maybe the added difficulty would provide incentives to do business with other countries, lessening the dependence and interconnecting the world in a better, healthier way. The point is how much crap are people going to take for short term gains. When do we begin to say: Stop, no more, time to look for alternatives!
            • Australia certainly would lose tourists as it would eliminate US tourists...

              • by ghostdoc (1235612)

                Australia certainly would lose tourists as it would eliminate US tourists...

                The exchange rate has already seen to most of that. Australia is ridiculously expensive in US Dollars.

        • by speculatrix (678524) on Monday February 06, 2012 @01:19PM (#38943487)
          I used to happily fly to the USA at least twice a year, for work (employer has offices there) and vacation (I have relatives there). I even thought of emigrating there, I could probably get a visa without too much trouble as a senior working in IT and a fair amount of personal assets.

          With all the hassles of flying to the USA, I now try and avoid it, managing to reduce my trips by one or two a year. Total cost to the US economy is about US$3000 per trip. There must be many others doing likewise. Cost to the US economy overall is probably millions of dollars, a direct loss to the travel industry (airline, hotel, car hire, restaurants, entertainment etc). Add in the burden to the economy to support all the spurious security measures and it adds insult to injury.
          • With all the hassles of flying to the USA, I now try and avoid it, managing to reduce my trips by one or two a year. Total cost to the US economy is about US$3000 per trip. There must be many others doing likewise. Cost to the US economy overall is probably millions of dollars, a direct loss to the travel industry (airline, hotel, car hire, restaurants, entertainment etc). Add in the burden to the economy to support all the spurious security measures and it adds insult to injury.

            Was about to post something similar - flying into the US is now so unpleasant, demeaning and intimidating that it actually has a serious impact on the decision about whether to fly there or go somewhere where unaccountable uniformed guards won't treat me like a likely criminal, fingerprint me and scan my retinas.

      • by geogob (569250)

        That only works because other nations willingly accept this. I'd like to see the day where the US security moguls state that as of now, no flight from Australia can land in the US due to security concerns like they did with the flights out of Pakistan (I didn't know that btw. Interesting).

        You can do something like that with a country where you have little to no economic dealings. Try that with a country in the EU, Eastern Asia or Australia and you'll be surprised by the reactions both locally and abroad. If

      • If the security measures do not match up to what the US wants, you have problems flying to the US...

        If that were the reason they could figure out a way to only screen US-bound passengers.

        • They certainly could do, but Im willing to bet that its not worth the hassle to the staff to have two queues and have to check tickets for destinations etc before going through security.

    • by agwadude (666995) on Monday February 06, 2012 @12:04PM (#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.
    • by ackthpt (218170) on Monday February 06, 2012 @12:12PM (#38942561) Homepage Journal

      What problem does Australia have that this is solving?

      Unauthroized export of Vegemite.

      "Crikey! This one's actually a kangaroo!"

    • by wiedzmin (1269816) on Monday February 06, 2012 @02:02PM (#38944025)

      What problem does Australia have that this is solving?

      Healthcare costs are too low, additional sources of cancer sought.

  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Monday February 06, 2012 @11:17AM (#38941887)

    Now will they have pat downs as well?

    • Summary says go through the scanner or be banned from flying, why would you pat down someone banned from flying, you just send them home. Tell them to take a boat or something if they'd like to leave.

    • by slyrat (1143997) on Monday February 06, 2012 @11:55AM (#38942295)

      Now will they have pat downs as well?

      I have to wonder about this too. Depending on the way the scans are done I'm sure that there will be medical reasons some people won't be able to go through the scanner. The ones in the US force me to not go through the scanner because I'm type one diabetic and have an insulin pump / real time blood glucose sensor. I find it hard to believe that all cases will be covered as far as medical equipment and safety of the scanners.

  • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Monday February 06, 2012 @11:17AM (#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...

  • by MrDoh! (71235) on Monday February 06, 2012 @11:17AM (#38941895) Homepage Journal

    The cancer causing radiation is also a bit of a concern too...

    • Sterilization (Score:5, Informative)

      by concealment (2447304) on Monday February 06, 2012 @11:24AM (#38941991) Homepage Journal

      The radiation used in the scanners might also sterilize us.

      That way not only does the world learn that you have a miniscule penis, but they also know it's no longer a working one.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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 joshtheitguy (1205998) on Monday February 06, 2012 @01:14PM (#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.

    • by edxwelch (600979) on Monday February 06, 2012 @01:30PM (#38943651)

      They're using millimetre wave body scanners, so no ionising radiation.
      http://www.ausbt.com.au/australian-airports-to-get-millimetre-wave-body-scanners [ausbt.com.au]

  • by srussia (884021) on Monday February 06, 2012 @11:17AM (#38941905)
    FTFS: The technology will show passengers on a screen as stick figures of neither sex.

    This gives a whole new meaning to "obligatory XKCD".
  • by TWX (665546) on Monday February 06, 2012 @11:18AM (#38941919)

    Until they allay the concerns of being irradiated I don't think I'll be visiting Australia.

    Yes, the amount of radiation is theoretically small, but if one flies a lot, getting irradiated frequently is not something I wish to subject myself to, nor is something that I should be forced to undergo, especially when there are no good studies of the effects of the radiation from these machines.

    • by jc42 (318812)

      ... the amount of radiation is theoretically small, but if one flies a lot, ...

      The problem with sort of reasoning is that it assumes proper maintenance of the equipment. We've already seen some pretty bad news about the maintenance level (and the resulting radiation levels) of the scanning equipment in the US and some other countries. Do you want to trust that every Australian airport with keep all their scanners tuned up and well within spec?

      I keep thinking it'd be interesting if someone were to carry a few radiation meters in their pockets, which would of course be detected, b

  • Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hoggoth (414195) on Monday February 06, 2012 @11:19AM (#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?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mitashki (1116893)

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

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

      • by mr1911 (1942298)

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

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

        Apparently you haven't flown in the USA recently. The Aussie version isn't too far off.

    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Funny)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday February 06, 2012 @11:26AM (#38942001) Journal
      The whole damned island is a penal colony inhabited by venomous everything and criminals! Obviously no amount of Security is too much!
    • by imroy (755)

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

      It's to cover polititian's arses. Even though we've never had a real problem with terrorism, no polly wants to be held responsible for "not doing enough" when/if something does happen.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      This is for the profitability of the military industrial complex.

      • by iggymanz (596061)

        well geez, can't they just have another pointless war? that would have to have a higher profit margin than this and also the bonus of heavy influence over new resource allocation. Or is this for those contractors that didn't do well in the war machine bidding?

    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice@noSPAM.gmail.com> on Monday February 06, 2012 @12:23PM (#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.

  • Won't Stop Everyone (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Iskender (1040286) on Monday February 06, 2012 @11:19AM (#38941935)

    From now on proper terrorists will put their weapons/bombs up their butts. Unless something has changed this should still get past the scanners without a problem.

    Not that anyone seems to be very interested in bombing planes these days.

  • by na1led (1030470) on Monday February 06, 2012 @11:19AM (#38941937)
    And when the scan doesn't reveal enough, they have an Anal Probe ready for you in the side room!
  • by schwit1 (797399) on Monday February 06, 2012 @11:20AM (#38941941)

    The EU banned [naturalsociety.com] these contraptions due to unsafe radiation.

  • I'm gonna report this to me member of parliament.

    HEY GUS!

  • See, now instantly they have a 'thriving security industry' in australia too. $28 mil just the initial setup.

  • by jopet (538074)

    No anal probes for everyone who wants to fly? Think of the security threats!

    • by PPH (736903)

      You must be thinking of the flying saucer ride you took last summer. Different airlines.

      • by BlueStrat (756137)

        You must be thinking of the flying saucer ride you took last summer. Different airlines.

        Are you sure?

        The truth is out there...

        Just sayin'

        Strat

  • Full on (Score:5, Interesting)

    by retech (1228598) on Monday February 06, 2012 @11:38AM (#38942109)
    I had the "privilege" of going through the Sydney international hub quite a few times over the past 5 years. I'm a US citizen. I've been to Australia quite a few times the first of which was 1989. Back then I noticed that my accent and demeanor got me a lot of very friendly greetings, people assumed I was Canadian. I learned it was in my interest to not correct them.

    Flying in and out of Sydney of late I noticed that a large number of Non-Aussies were getting pulled from the international line for "random" security pat downs. In each case the guards were very verbal about letting us know it was only random. But I don't think so. I had a 3 hr layover on one flight so I parked myself up in the food court which has a perfect view of the security check points for this area. And in 2 hrs of watching I never once saw an Aussie get a random pat down on an international flight. On the return flight I had the same layover and repeated my observation with the exact results. I even went so far as to get prepped for the patdown while in line. When they pulled me I was ready and the guard asked me why. I said: "You pull all the foreigners out, so I just wanted to speed this up." He protested saying it was random and I told him random does not equal 100%.

    Time and time again I've been told by Aussie and Kiwi friends that the US military companies are in bed with the Aussie gov't and are selling paranoia at at premium. This news only solidifies that for me and confirms that I'll never return to Oz again. I just hope that Aotearoa remains a bastion of pacific sanity.
    • by PlatyPaul (690601)

      I told him random does not equal 100%.

      Can't resist.

      The distribution of a single sample is not statistically required to reflect the full distribution; the probability of that particular sample goes down, but never equals zero. This is why anecdotes get so much distrust.

      That said, I currently have an "additional screening" rate of greater than 90% in the US, while my wife is never selected. I have to wonder if things would be different, were there more prominent female terrorists.

    • by tg123 (1409503)
      This is incorrect I always get patted down flying out of Australia. I reckon chocolate sets their detector thing off as I always have chocolate (cheapest drink) while waiting to fly out of the airport.
    • And in 2 hrs of watching I never once saw an Aussie get a random pat down on an international flight.

      Just checking, but you do realise that not all Australians are white, right? Given that you don't generally have to show your passport when you go through security in Australia, I'm not sure what you're basing your assessment of "Aussie" vs "non-Aussie" on.

      In my experience, the factors which affect "extra" security in Australia are: walking speed (slower = more likely to get stopped), eye contact (making it = more likely to get stopped), having a beard (beard = likely terrorist), being male (less perceived

  • by Anonymous Coward

    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!

  • The technology will show passengers on a screen as stick figures of neither sex.

    They claim that the radiation is comparable to that of a cell phone but a machine with effects like that is one strong X-ray.

  • Very disappointing (Score:4, Informative)

    by agwadude (666995) on Monday February 06, 2012 @11:55AM (#38942317)
    This is very disappointing, especially after the EU passed strict body scanner regulations [slashdot.org], which both banned X-ray scanners and required passengers be allowed to opt-out of non-X-ray scanners. Germany scrapped all body scanners, not just because of the health concerns, but because they actually don't work [slashdot.org]. I know someone who accidentally took his pocket knife through security and the body scanner didn't detect it. These things aren't making anyone safer: between the decreased effectiveness and the cancer risk, they're actually making flying more dangerous.
  • a + !a (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zephvark (1812804) on Monday February 06, 2012 @11:55AM (#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.
  • the last time I flew out of Providence, RI. And they felt me up afterwards anyway.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 06, 2012 @12:25PM (#38942773)

    Back in July 2011, I flew out of LAX. I got to the security check and they told me to go through the scanner. I said no way. I was looked at like I am a terrorist (I look more like a young Steve Jobs than a terrorist). As the TSA employee is molesting me, I mean conducting an enhanced pat-down, he tries to strike up a conversation with me. He asks me if I have kids. I said "yes, why?" He says "Well, typically the only guys that don't want to go through the full-body scan haven't have kids yet. So why didn't you want to go through the scanner?" I said "I don't want to get cancer.......again." He said "Oh, I would have done the same thing." His attitude changed and he finished quickly.

    Yes, I am a cancer survivor.

    • by Grishnakh (216268)

      Yep, last time I refused to go through the X-ray scanner (at Phoenix) and got patted down, when the TSA molestor asked me if there's any place he couldn't touch because it'd be painful, I pointed to the giant scar on my neck where a tumor was removed from my throat only a week before.

  • With all these "security" measures clogging up the place, there must be a lot more targets for them to hit there, and a lot more easily, than on a plane.

    I think they don't, because they see we're doing just fine oppressing ourselves and creating our own terror now.

    We said they hated our freedom, so to discourage them, we got rid of it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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.

    • >

      We said they hated our freedom, so to discourage them, we got rid of it.

      That's it exactly!

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