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New Strip Search Scanner Will Show People Naked

by Gopalan on October 15, 2008 at 10:30 PM
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 New Strip Search Scanner Will Show People Naked

Full body scanners now being trialled in Australian airports will show people naked.

But to spare their blushes, the faces of passengers will be blurred.


Domestic travellers leaving Melbourne airport over the next six weeks will be asked to test the new security scanners that can see through clothing.

The scanner uses a low energy X-ray to reveal any objects, metal or otherwise, under a person's clothing, including body features.

The testing will be entirely voluntary during the trial,  which is being undertaken to test how the  new scanners would affect the flow of passengers through the security point.

The X-ray backscatter body scanner has been described by critics as a "virtual strip search."

The scanner is similar to one that was trialled at Paddington station in London in 2006 in direct response to the tube bombings in July 2005.

Similar systems have also been tested at Gatwick airport, Daily Mail of Britain reports.

Cheryl Johnson, general manager of the Office of Transport Security, said:' It will show the private parts of people, but what we've decided is that we're not going to blur those out, because it severely limits the detection  capabilities. '

'It is possible to see genitals and breasts while they're going  through the machine, though,' she admitted

However, Ms Johnson said there were a number of measures in place to tackle concerns about privacy.

"The faces are automatically blurred and ... it's only a chalk-style outline,  it's not as invasive as some of the other equipment that we've got," she said.

"It does see through clothing, but it's not a photographic image, it's a low-energy X-ray that reflects off the skin," added Ms Johnson.

"The security officer that's looking at it is located away from the screening lane, so there's no comparison of the person walking through and the image.

'The images are not saved, you literally walk through, the screener hits a button to  say clear and the image goes."

The new scanners will be tested at Melbourne Airport alongside 'next generation' baggage X-ray machines that can detect explosives in luggage.

Hand-held scanners that can detect explosives in liquids are also being tested.

Ms Johnson said these were a direct response to an alleged terrorist plot in  2006 to detonate liquid explosives on-board airliners.

She added all the scanners had tested well in laboratory conditions, but  information was needed on how they would impact on passenger amenity.

The trial runs until the end of the November, and the results will be analysed  before the technology is rolled out for real, possibly at domestic and international terminals.

Source: Medindia

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