“I think the public understands that we live in a world where there are threats to our security and experience shows they want the peace of mind that comes with knowing government is doing all it can,” said Transport Minister Anthony Albanese in the Australian.
The new scanners, part of a $28 million overhaul, tested successfully year on more than 23,000 passengers in trials from August 2-19 in Sydney and September 5-30 in Melbourne.
The Australian government is touting the technology as the most advanced available, with the equipment able to detect metallic and non-metallic items beneath clothing with few radio waves emitted.
Made by L-3 Communications, the same company used in the United States to supply the scanners, the unisex images are discarded after each passenger has been cleared, satisfying privacy concerns.
Taiwan’s Next Media Animation has turned the spreading controversy over airport full-body scanners and pat-downs into a cartoon.
The animation house releases news videos each day on YouTube and provides English translations for some of the videos.
The animation summarizes – and mocks – the recent incidents in the United States when air passengers have refused full-body scans and pat-downs – the Travel Security Administration’s recently released enhanced security measures.
Among the scenes in the video:
A cross-dressing male passenger fights off a TSA agent’s advances and reveals undergarments with explosives and a tag reading “Osama’s Secret”
Protestors wave signs that read “Don’t Touch My Junk”
The name of the full-body scanner manufacturer is “RapeScan Systems.”
In Germany, a “fleshmob” of semi-naked activists from the Pirate Party staged a body scanner protest at the Berlin-Tegel Airport, reports Discover magazine. German authorities plan to begin using “Nacktscanners,” or AIT (Advanced Imaging Technology), which uses high frequency radio waves to produce images of a passenger’s naked body, across the country within the next two years.
Here and elsewhere abroad, the TSA and its international partners are increasingly employing body scanners as an airport security measure, so items like explosives, weapons, or drugs can be detected beneath a passenger’s clothing. The use of the scanners has become a subject of much public controversy, ever since the would-be “underwear bomber” was thwarted at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport on Dec. 25 of last year. Many passengers feel that the use of full-body scanners is a violation of their privacy.
Wired states that the German protesters scrawled comments such as, “Be a good citizen–drop your pants,” and “prosthetic [with arrow pointing to the wearer’s leg],” on their bodies. One flesh-toned-clothed woman bore a sign reading, “pixelated,” referring to the option modest passengers have to request a scanner be programmed to produce a blurred image of their body.
For more information on your rights as an air traveler, Reddit has created Fly with Dignity, a “site-based initiative to inform the public.” Want to personally protest body scanners? National Opt-Out Day is November 24th.
Nigerian investigative reporters visited the airport during a slow period when security officials had time to spare. The journalists found some of them hanging around the scanner display. Since the scanner blurs the face in an attempt to give anonymity, the officers were hurrying over to the line to peek at the passengers before going back to the scanner to check out their favorites.
The scanner was installed after the failed attack by underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who was from Lagos, yet technicians have revealed a full-body scan wouldn’t have caught him. An Israeli security expert who helped plan security at Israel’s super-strict Ben Gurion Airport says body scanners don’t work. Israeli airports don’t use the device.
Many Nigerians feel it is against their religion to expose themselves to a stranger, while others fear the effects of radiation. The investigative journalists witnessed passengers objecting to go through the scanner until security turned off one of the metal detectors, giving them the choice of using the full-body scanner or waiting in a longer line.
After the rest of the country, the large New York area airports are next in line to receive the infamous whole body imaging scanners. The Port Authority announced that La Guardia, JFK and Newark will receive 39 of the machines (24 for JFK, 14 for Newark and 1 for LaGuardia).
As of right now, the machines are still voluntary, and are only used when you have been selected for secondary screening. You are allowed to opt-out and request an old fashioned pat-down, but TSA agents often “forget” to point this out, as a manual screening takes more time.
The machines themselves are still quite controversial, and not without their problems – just ask Rolando Negrin, who beat up his supervisor after he was mocked for his “small manhood” during a TSA training session. Jo Margetson is probably not a big fan either, after a checkpoint operator complimented her on her “gigantic tits“. But more importantly, the safety aspects of these machines have not been fully tested.
The first batch of machines will be installed in New York next month.