May 23 2016 – 12:00AM
Full-body scanners will be trialled at Canberra Airport from this week, as preparations continue for international flights from Canberra to Singapore and New Zealand in September.
But the machines are unlikely to raise the kinds of privacy concerns expressed at airports outside of Australia, because they avoid showing the operator actual imagery of the user’s body.
Canberra Airport will begin the trial on Monday, setting up body scanners at the domestic security point temporarily.
The scanners are now required for international airports, and will be in use from the start of Singapore Airlines’ international flights to Wellington and Singapore on September 21.
The airport’s trial will offer passengers the opportunity to volunteer to be scanned, to help staff test the machines and fine-tune their use.
The machines require the user to stand on a designated spot, turn around 360 degrees, and wait briefly while being cleared by the operator.
These scanners, produced by Smiths Detection, show the operator only a generic graphical representation of a gender-neutral human body.
They automatically recognise concealed objects, and highlight them on the graphic for the operator.
That differs from other technology used abroad, which produce detailed images of a person’s body and relies on the user searching for signs of concealed objects. That technology has sparked privacy concerns in other countries.
The machines to be used in Canberra, named the eqo body scanner, are new to the Australian market, but are common in Europe, Asia, and New Zealand.
They use millimetre-wave technology, which is used by everyday technology like mobile phones, to detect concealed objects.
Full-body scanners were trialled at Sydney and Melbourne airports in 2011, and introduced in Brisbane in 2012.
The trial in Canberra comes four months ahead of the start of international flights in and out of Canberra for the first time in more than a decade.
A new lounge and international section is planned to accommodate the Singapore Airlines services to Wellington and Singapore, and construction of a new customs and immigration screening facility is also taking place.
Roughly 120 jobs have been created through the construction of the new terminal lounge.
Singapore Airlines began recruiting for 15 jobs at their local office this month, advertising sales, support, and other administrative roles online.
Source : The Canberra Times