Full body scanners have gone operational at Melbourne Airport as part of a federal government airport security initiative.
The scanners are being used in conjunction with walk-through metal detectors at Melbourne’s international departures terminal, with passengers randomly selected to go through one or the other.
The government says the scanners are the most advanced screening technology available and can detect both metallic and non-metallic items. In an attempt to allay privacy concerns, the scanners only display a generic ‘stick figure’ outline of a passenger while highlighting items hidden under clothing.
The scanners emit 10,000 times less radio frequency energy than the average mobile phone call, according to a statement from Melbourne Airport.
Body scanners are being introduced at eight Australian international airports as part of a $200 million program. A trial of the machines was held at Melbourne and Sydney Airports in 2011.
The scanners are also used at airports in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Thailand and the Netherlands.