Security staff at Australian airports will now be permitted to utilise internal body scanning technology. However, consent must be given to the procedure:
“To conduct a body scan, a reasonable suspicion must be formed that a person is carrying drugs internally and the suspect must consent to being scanned. If they refuse, they will instead undergo the current practice of a hospital examination.”
The Australian Minister for Home Affairs, Brendan O’Connor, claimed that 48 drug couriers had attempted to move more than 27kg of hard drugs into Australia within their bodies in the years 2009-2010.
In the same period mentioned by Mr O’Connor, over 75% of the 205 people subjected to an internal body search were found to not be carrying drugs within their person. It is hoped that the body scanning technology will offer a more dignified and less painful alternative to the current procedures – especially for those innocent of any offence.
In a statement released by the Home Affairs Minister, assurances were given that body scanners would not be used on children, pregnant women and the mentally impaired. There were also promises of strict recording and destruction controls alongside an assurance that only internal tissue would be scanned, rather than the naked images which can potentially be created using the same technology.