The Labor Government plans to introduce controversial full body scanners at airports across Australia but says the machines will only display a generic “stick figure” outline of passengers while highlighting items hidden under clothing.
The decision, part of a $200m aviation security program, comes after trials of the scanners at Sydney and Melbourne Airports last year. The machines will be rolled out at other airports from July this year.
The body scanners were introduced at US airports after a failed attempt by a Nigerian man to detonate explosives hidden in his underpants aboard a flight to Detroit in 2009. The machines have proven controversial both for their revealing nature and because of concerns over radiation exposure.
In a statement, Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said the scanners would show generic male and female stick figures with no defining features, and the images could not be copied and won’t be stored. He said the machines were safe, with radiation levels comparable to passive exposure to a mobile phone used several metres away.