Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s compulsory airport scanning will be of the safer type – not ionising radiation

It’s a pity that the Australian government has not yet explained clearly their choice of millimetre wave radio waves scanners for compulsory use in Australian airports.

They might be compulsory, but these scanners do not emit ionising radiation, and are therefore not a cancer risk in public health terms.  The American system, (which does allow passengers the choice of a “pat down” examination instead),  uses the  “backscatter” type, which does subject passengers to low level of ionising radiation.- Christina Macpherson

Australian Airports To Get Compulsory Body Scans, Gismodo, 5 Feb 12,  Danny Allen 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,

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.
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.

February 5, 2012 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health, technology

1 Comment »

  1. “The ‘millimetre-wave’ body scanners are perfectly safe”. Yeah, right. This line is copy+pasted across every single new site covering the issue, but absolutely none of them link to any proof/citation.


    Comment by Radioactive Man | April 26, 2012 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: