Virtual strip search trial at three Australian airports

Hotel News - 06/10/2008

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The new screening technique is actually a body scan that can ‘see’ through the passenger’s clothing, and is quite controversial.

According to a government spokesman, the objective of the scan is the detection of weapons and explosives, but critics are outraged, insisting that it invades a person’s privacy.

The executive director of transport security for the government, Paul Retter, has made it clear that passengers will not be required to submit to the scan prior to boarding their flights, and has also stressed that the dignity and privacy of everyone submitting to a scan will be well protected.

Additionally, the transport security office asserts that the body scans are safe, and that the exposure involved with a normal x-ray taken for medical purposes is 400 times greater than that of the body scan.

Other technologies will also be introduced during the trial period, including x-rays for detecting explosives and vapour and liquid analysis. The equipment that will be trialled has been examined by Australia’s Nuclear Science Technology Organisation and by the Defence Science and Technology Organisation as well.

Airports participating in the security trials include Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney. The trials will begin by mid-October and run for about six weeks.

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