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June 11, 2012

Controversial full-body scanners at Oz airports threaten to infringe passengers' privacy

     Sydney: Australian airports are set to introduce full-body scanners next month amid security concerns that they will show the full-generic figures of passengers, infringing their privacy. According to Sydney Morning Herald, the scanners will be able to identify prosthesis wearers, including breast cancer survivors and transgender passengers. Documents released under freedom of information revealed that, in meetings with stakeholders, Office of Transport Security representatives confirmed the machines would detect passengers wearing prosthesis. Earlier this year the federal government announced the new scanners, which will be installed in eight international terminals, would show only the basic figure image of a passenger to protect their privacy. Breast Cancer Network Australia said it had alerted its 70,000 members that prosthesis wearers should carry a doctor's letter and speak to security staff before passing through the body scanner to ensure discreet treatment. In meetings with stakeholders, transport security officials confirmed the situation would also apply to transgender passengers. Stakeholders, including Muslims and civil libertarians, were consulted by the Office of Transport Security and raised numerous concerns. Among the concerns was the potential for graphic images of naked passengers to be stored and the fact certain religions decreed that only a spouse was entitled to view their partner's body from the navel to the knee area. The introduction of the scanners is a response to the failed 2009 Christmas Day underwear bombing attack on a US airline involving a passenger trying to detonate chemicals hidden in his underwear and in a syringe.
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