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All will be revealed by security trial, say l -

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LISA MILLAR: New trials of controversial full body x-ray machines at three Australian airports have
civil libertarians concerned that people's privacy will be breached.

The Office of Transport Security is trialling new ways of detecting explosives in liquids, aerosols
and gels carried by passengers, including their hand luggage and body scanners.

Some people are concerned that the "Backscatter" x-ray machine is a virtual strip search,
highlighting body parts and people's genitals in the search for anything that a passenger might be
trying to hide.

The Australian Government is justifying the search saying the five-week trial will strengthen
aviation security and streamline security screening.

As Nance Haxton reports from Adelaide.

NANCE HAXTON: The scans produced by the full-body x-ray machines don't leave much to the
imagination. While the face is blurred, the scans clearly show a person's genitalia and organs.

The Office of Transport Security says the scans are intrusive but necessary, to screen for possible
explosives that may be concealed by some passengers.

Executive director Paul Retter:

PAUL RETTER: Over the last couple of years we've seen a number of incidents of terrorism or
attempted terrorism which have suggested that the technology that airports around the world are
using could not, in fact, effectively deal with some of the tactics being employed.

We have been aware of for some time that technology is moving on and the Australian Government in
an attempt to look at what is best suited to Australia and our circumstances are now trialling a
range of advanced technologies designed to better detect explosive devices and other sorts of
weapons that might be used to disrupt aviation.

NANCE HAXTON: Mr Retter says privacy is a key concern and they've consulted with the privacy
commissioner on how to ensure that people's rights aren't breached.

PAUL RETTER: And making sure that the faces of those people being scanned are blurred. That the
person, the screening officer looking at the image that is on the screen, is removed from the
screening point and can't identify the person who is actually going through the screening.

NANCE HAXTON: The trials will take place from mid-October to the end of November at the Sydney,
Melbourne and Adelaide airports.

Adelaide Airport corporate affairs director John McArdle says real trials on real people are
essential to test the efficacy of the new scanners.

JOHN MCARDLE: The idea is to test it in an airport so you can get a real feel for the value of the
equipment. Whether it will improve facilitation standards and whether it will do the job it has
been designed to do.

NANCE HAXTON: Three technologies will be trialled at Adelaide Airport - the body scanner which
scans for weapons and prohibited items, a bottle scanner which detects vapours and liquid
explosives, and x-ray technology.

Only volunteers will be scanned during the trials.

The idea of full body scans and x-rays did not please many of the callers to Adelaide ABC Radio's
morning program

ANNOUNCER: A caller rang to say she has had a mastectomy and is worried that will show up on the
scanners. She has kept it secret from a lot of people because she feels embarrassed about it.

CALLER: My concern was the exposure rate for people with these machines. A traveller or a business
person might go through 10 or 20 times with these machines and it must be a health risk.

CALLER 2: Recently I got two return flights and didn't have to show ID on either occasion so
perhaps they should get the basic securities right first.

NANCE HAXTON: Some were less concerned.

CALLER 3: Surely it would be just as interesting to them as it would be to doctors and nurses
looking at people in hospitals. I mean a body is a body is a body and you don't get, I mean I'm a
nurse. I know you don't get some sort of voyeuristic pleasure looking at a body. You are there to
do a job.

NANCE HAXTON: George Mancini is the chair of the South Australian Council for Civil Liberties.

He says the searches invade people's privacy to an unjustifiable degree.

GEORGE MANCINI: Usually we subject ourselves to searches and intrusive searches where there is a
reasonable suspicion that you are a suspect for committing a crime. This won't be happening, I
suspect.

Look, there are privacy concerns. Fortunately this is on the Commonwealth land and there is
Commonwealth legislation that has some privacy protections for individuals but we just don't know
enough about whether this is going to protect privacy across the board.

LISA MILLAR: That is George Mancini the chair of the South Australian Council for Civil Liberties.