Australian Airports To Get Compulsory Body Scans

In a $28 million security upgrade, new “no scan, no fly” laws are expected to be proposed this week for Aussie international airports -- removing the option to request a pat down instead. After trials last year, full body scanners (from the same company used in US checkpoints) will roll out in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Gold Coast and Cairns. Here’s what they look like.

Images via Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Anthony Albanese

In Sydney and Melbourne, the government trialled competing scanner technology specifically designed not to identify gender or reveal body details. Gizmodo covered these: ThruVision (passive terahertz radiation detection) and L3 Communications (millimetre wave radio waves). Ultimately, the latter got the nod, and has been approved by Australia’s Privacy Commissioner. Images will be deleted after each traveller is cleared.

Here’s the full press release, courtesy of Crikey and the HeraldSun:

ADVANCED SCREENING TECHNOLOGY FOR MAJOR AIRPORTS Body scanners will be introduced at all of Australia’s international airports providing the travelling public with the most advanced passenger screening technology available in the world.

The Gillard Labor Government will introduce legislation this week following a successful trial of the technology in Sydney and Melbourne, with the new technology to be rolled out across airports from July this year.

The machines only produce a generic outline (attached) to display the location of metal and non-metal items under clothing. To protect people’s privacy, the image will appear as a stick figure so all men will have the same outline and all women will have the same outline with no defining features.

As an additional measure, the images will not be able to be copied and will not be stored.

The ‘millimetre-wave’ body scanners are perfectly safe and one body scan is comparable to passive exposure to a mobile phone used several metres away.

Once introduced, passengers departing Australia may be required to pass through a body scanner as part of standard screening processes.

While the legislation allows exemptions for serious medical conditions, any passenger directed by an officer must undergo screening and refusal to screen will mean refusal to fly. The Gillard Government announced a package of measures in 2010 to strengthen aviation security as a result of global events.

The $28 million package provides for new screening measures, including body scanners, at Australia’s eight international gateway airports.

Health, privacy and safety were assessed following the trial including extensive consultation with industry and privacy groups.

Australia has a safe aviation record with over 13 million people flying out of our international airports each year. This will provide an additional layer of security at our airports and is part of the Government’s $200 million Strengthening Aviation Security Initiative.



    Yes because there have been plenty of well documented security breaches at our Airports to justify this.

      It's probably a move just to please our American overlords.

        And yet another unfortunate result of our participation in the "war on terror". I still remember Howard saying "this is to protect our way of life." Now we can't have bins at train stations and have to be full body scanned at airports. That wasn't part of our way of life beforehand.

        Mad respect to our forces who are over there, though. Just wish you were back home.

          "That wasn’t part of our way of life beforehand."
          Very good point!

          Better we kill them in their homes they they kill us in ours.

          Australia not participating in the 'war on terror' wouldn't magically solve the radical islamist problem.

            what radical islamist problem? you mean the cronulla riots?

              Y'know... the one where they fly planes into buildings, bomb train stations and hotels.

              Granted that comment was a bit racially toned, but actions do speak volumes, even if it's the crazy minority. We banned guns in Australia based on the act of one man. Why is it unfathomable we'd do the same based on several acts?

                If you've bothered to look into the situation at all rather than nod & agree to whatever the news tells you, you'd realize the reason these radicals attack the west is because of our (read America(west)) involvement and occupation in the middle east.

                This is the sole reason they have attacked us (read west) and have stated this in many videos, but for some reason the public loves to eat up the idea that they're attacking us because of our freedoms.

                How about we stop our involvement and occupation on their land (being the reason they attacked) instead of increasing it, how's that for a solution, hey?

                  Matt, you're absolutely right. It's so disheartening to see the masses go along with "we have to fight them coz they hate us - coz we are so awesome and so they just want to kill us for no other reason...". Sad, and the media loves to whip people into a frenzy as it's good for business; whereas they're really being complicit in war-mongering.

                  If you'd bothered to do ANY research at all you would have noticed that terrorists have been doing nasty shit long before we invaded the middle east.

                  In fact their nasty shit precipitated OUR retaliation.

                  But I wouldn't expect some bleeding heart liberal to realise that some people are just fundamentally opposed to our way of living and that we can't all get along.

                  You can't argue or reason with someone who's been indoctrinated from birth to hate you, your ideals, your society and culture. You can only protect yourselves from them.

                  It's idiots like you that believe that if we pulled out of Afghanistan we'd magically become safe overnight and hordes of islamic nutjobs would magically stop wanting to kill us, that will wind up allowing a terrorist to do something on out shores.

                  Chamberlain was like you. An appeaser. Look what that got us.

                  I just have no patience for people that actually think that if we decided to lay down our weapons and 'be peaceful', that anything would be accomplished.

                  War is a tragic, terrible thing but it's also necessary. Ultimately it comes down to this; people that are motivated to violence by religion, which is by definition irrational, can NOT be reasoned with.

                  I'm an engineer, too, not a layman, and I dislike Murdoch more than you could ever know, but that doesn't change the facts. Which are that we are involved in a conflict and that conflict will not be resolved by us leaving our enemies to themselves.

                  The fluffy bear brigades with their word guns did not stop Hitler in the second world war, and neither will us withdrawing from the middle east dampen islamic extremism, which are just as fascist as the Nazi party were, in their own way.

            I love it when people say that sort of thing with no sense of the towering irony and hypocrisy it entails: actually advocating the same objectives as any terrorist or radical.
            All radicals are the same. We don't need you guys in our country.

              If you read a wider circle of articles, you will see that islam/moslems have never hated the west or westerners... go to arabic moslem countries and you will find that you would get the best job offers, which goes to prove that the middle east/arabs are very friendly to the west. Any guy graduating here with an arts degree would be given a senior manager role there.

              The moslems are only used a replacement incentive to scare countries into buying expensive security tools. The USSR is no longer enough to achieve this and the military industry is big business.

              If you were to look at islam or the Quran, you will find that it always encourages a peaceful resolution in all cases irrespective of the religion or background of the people involved.

              Will it appears that your mentality is that America can do whatsoever they please, and if anyone retaliates due to America's actions then the further retaliation by America (war) is justified as being necessary.

              Either that or you've been totally brain washed and haven't bothered to do any research and actually believe that they're spiteful of our freedoms so they want to attack us, with scenarios like these scanners which are further stripping the little freedoms we have left.

                No, I don't advocate that. I'm simply a realist;

                If you think that people don't need to be killed to protect our society and our freedom, you're just delusional. There will always be people who will want to kill you and your family to make a religious or a political point, and there will always be people being payed to kill them on your behalf. It's dirty, it's unfortunate, but it's been happening since long before you were born, and it'll happen long after we're both gone.

                And besides, millimeter band scanners are lauded as being safe, and if it's a generic image and there's no long storage (beyond short term caching, obviously), what have you got to hide?

                  okay, now I'm sure you're just trolling.

            LOL @ some nonexistent "radical islamist problem". The problem is entirely in your head.

      While I think that the so called "war on terror" is idiotic and a tremendous waste of money the fact remains that a many people appear to support it, therefore the government cannot ignore it. Having said that, the millimetre type of scanner selected is not regarded as harmful, unlike other kinds.

      It should be emphasised too that the title of this article is misleading in that being scanned will be compulsory ONLY FOR PEOPLE SELECTED FOR SCANNING! Not every passenger will be scanned.

        Which terrorists are you talking about? Do you mean the ones that blew up British interests in Boston and called it a tea party?

        Will, its people like you that believe having sex protects their virginity.

        Oops, replied to the wrong post.
        Which terrorists are you talking about? Do you mean the ones that blew up British interests in Boston and called it a tea party?

        Will, its people like you that believe having sex protects their virginity.

          You did it twice. And what's with that sex comment? It's nonsensical.

        And this people is the product of main stream media.

        You need to learn what "blowback" (intelligence) is and realize how long America has occupied the middle east, Osama bin laden is recorded saying that 9/11 was a retaliation due to America's involvement and relations with Saudi Arabia and the golf war.

        They will continue to attack us for our way of life, as long as our way of life continues to be interfering in the middle east.

        Will, I'm not arguing that these people don't exist.

        My case is against the current scenario, where we can find video and documentation of Osama Bin Laden presenting his reason of targeting America, are you simply ignoring these?

        The current 'war on terror' which targets al-Qaeda is for the wrong reasons, again; I'm not arguing that the people you say don't exist, I'm arguing the reason for al-Qaeda attacking the west and the west deciding to beef up security & strip civil liberties instead of targeting the root problem - their involvement in the middle east.

      A complete waste of time and money. Disgusting.

      THE CIA DID 911!

      You know that part that's meant to be a one way exit at Sydney airport? I've seen the security guard there asleep on the chair several times.

      Additionally, how many times have you heard of everyone having to be rescreened because some tourist walked in through the exit? Sydney Intl airport would be one of the easiest airports to get a weapon through to be honest. Still, don't really appreciate having to be scanned

    Great just what i need, Another reason to feel guilty walking through airport security. Not that the metal detector and the awkard look you to the security gaurds,

    Obligatory xenophobic US comment in 3...2...1....
    Oh, it's already been thrown up. Thanks Rob!

      Xeohophobia is a irrational fear of forign things that you are not familiar with. I don't think anyone could be xenophobic to the Americans. Maybe a north korean. Like it or not, our country's policy is to mirror the American's strengthening against terror threats. But even if someone agrees with these measures, no one likes to have their liberties slowly removed.

      Cheers mate! Just doing my part.

      Read Icurafu's reply, that sums up everything I'd want to say here nicely.

    Where is the 'I can't be scanned, can I be patted down' option, and what is the reasoning for not allowing pat-downs?

      gone due to tighter security unless your severely ill

    In The US, a comprehensive study of the efforts of the TSA has shown *no* effective increase in security since 9-11.

    The imaging device, uses what it calls "passive imaging technology," so it is not a source. Where is the THz radiation source intense enough to be reflected and detected by an end user product, worse at a distance due to the effect of the inverse square law.

    The device may work but not as advertised. All I had to do was see the word 'ray' and my BS detector tripped. Maybe detection of passively emitted RF is an explanatory analogy." Hoffman

    I like how this article appears immediately after one talking about how Solariums are to be banned. So they get rid of one form of radiation, and force us to be bombarded with another...

      +1 (Irradiated for Freedumb)

    Well that's just great, i was already boycotting trips to the USA, considering the doses of radiation these machines blast you with, now i can't even leave the country for this BS 'Security Theatre' considering a board of Doctors in the USA wrote a plea to the US gov in regards to the lack of testing the health effects these machines can cause. I know I certainly wouldn't want to go through these scanners if I were in remission for cancer. Really disappointed with this decision, Australia don't become America! Backscatter Xrays are dangerous, I wonder if you then develop cancer down the track you can hold the Gov liable for this? ha I doubt it.
    Some links of interest:
    It seems crazy that they can't at least offer the Full Body pat down as they do in the USA, I have some family members in Remission and I certainly would not want them subjected to further radiation.

      These will use Millimeter waves, not backscatter X-rays. The latter has been banned in Europe. The former is not, because the science seems to point to them being harmless.

        These scanners for Oz are not back scatter scanners but milimeter wavelength scanners. Which are possibly worse as there is far less study on the ill effects. The radiation you receive during the flight is far greater, but 1 in 200 million people scanned will die from cancer caused by the scan using back scatter. It will allow the confidence of drug dealers to conceal internally with no stress at all.

    whats the big deal? what so hard/embarrassing to walk through a body scanner. id much rather do this than some strange dude touch me all over.

      I dunno, the second option sounds like a bit of fun too! :D

    The article does not make it clear that in fact, this type of scanner, millimetre wave radio waves, is not the "backscatter" type, which uses x rays. Hence Australia's chosen airport scanning method does not carry the health risk of ionising radiation.

    This is a complete waste of our money, time and patience at Australian international airports. Where in the world has a hijacked international flight been used for terroist activities? Are you considering September 11th? Well I'm afraid you'd be incorrect.. They were all domestic flights..
    It'd have been nice to see some examples where these machines have successfully prevented a terrorist event from occuring before spending 30 millon bucks on them.
    Personally I have no interest in flying anywhere other than New Zealand outside of Australia, because an Australian holiday is probably better than any other holiday. But now I will be considering cruises instead.

      Richard Reid, Flight 63 from Paris, France to Miami, Florida. Sure it wasn't hijacked but it was still a terrorist attack on an international flight.

      Not that I'm agreeing with the scanners still.

        Sorry Rob you are correct, my point was that domestic travel is a much higher risk. However there will always be a way to fool machines. From what I've read there are already forms of plastic or rubber that can be filled with liquid explosive and remain undetectable to the very best scanners money can buy. I think it's offensive that our great nation puts so many at such inconvenience and the really evil thing is that we're all paying for it!
        The Australian Government would already know that people who want to take a plane down know how to circumvent the security process.

    Actually, I think this is cool tech and can't wait until the total recall style scanners that will just let us walk through a tunnel to get scanned.

    If the process is safe and it make flying safer then who really cares. War on Terror blah blah blah who cares (related to this article), If this helps stopping drug mules, crazy people hijacking or blowing up planes (International Hijacking happened before the war on terror) then Great!!!

    Bring me non invasive TOTAL RECALL scanners!!!. one step closer

    Radiation's not the problem. The problem is that it takes 50 times as long to stand in a scanner and be scanned as it does to just walk through a metal detector. Get ready for some long, long, long security lines

    Wonderful, more pointless security theatre.

    Everyone, say "Radiation"!

    Unlike the X-ray scanners in the US, THz radiation is non-ionizing and safe for scanning purposes. It's much lower energy than visible light. Unlike X-ray scanners which are entirely useless, the THz devices can detect liquid explosives, hidden metal objects, plastics, certain drugs and the list goes on. It can actually do what it is tasked to do.

    While I deplore that we have had to move to this at all, at least we were sensible enough to go with THz radiation. Why the US deployed X-ray scanners is beyond belief, but I assume it involves corruption at the highest levels.

      I was about to comment how disappointed i am with our Government falling to US standards!!!

      But it looks like they did there homework before they followed suite with USA. Im o.k with this if its true!

      Thanks Daffy:)

      daffy, i think you are wrong they are going to use millimetre wave body scanner according to this article The millimeter wave scanners emit a wavelength of ten to one millimeter called a millimeter wave, these waves are considered Extremely High Frequency (EHF), the highest radio frequency wave produced. EHF runs a range of frequencies from 30 to 300 gigahertz, they are also abbreviated mmW. These waves are also known as tetrahertz (THz) radiation. The force generated from tetrahertz waves is small but the waves can ‘unzip’ or tear apart double-stranded DNA, creating bubbles in the DNA that could interfere with processes such as gene expression and DNA replication.

    These 2 articles indicate full body scanner increase cancer risk, especially ‘millimetre-wave’ body scanners

    I think govt won't ban body scanner unless airport staff diagnosed cancer, like TV station ABC or from Solarium. Otherwise govt will do nothing. Somebody has to sacrifice.

    I love the picture that accompanies the article, presumably supplied as part of the press release, with the harmless grandmother type operating the gadget, instead of the usual guy that looks like he spends his free time loitering around public toilets. Somebody has been studying spin doctoring.

    Clearly the terrorists won.

    The radiation may be measurable to that of a mobile phone, but the difference is a mobile phones radiation permeates and travels through our body, the radiation given off in these scanners enters the skin (less than 15% surface area) meaning more than 6 times the radiation. This puts anyone over 65, pregnant women, young children and breast cancer prone women in danger, as well as HIV and melanoma patients at higher risk. My source stems from the study taken by John Sedat Ph.D & Marc Shuman MD. An easy example is like placing a baby in a bath without supervision because 'there isn't as much water as a pool' Thanks Australian Government...

    if all these stupid things do is detect metal under clothing, then whats wrong with the metal detectors we've already got?


    This very easy postcode search will show you what electorate you belong to. Click on the electorate and it shows you who your MP is. Please contact them and make your case! I just did!

      I contacted my MP, I urge all of you to do the same. These things will give us cancer and kill us. I'm sure Australia's secret elite, the true government of australia, benefactors of The Lowy Institute (see won't have to go through them on their first class business flights.
      Better yet, if Julia goes through one every day, so will (but that won't happen will it...?)

    your reap what you sow.

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