The next generation of body scanners to be rolled out in airports will literally be able to see inside the human body, as security personnel gear up to trial machines that use deep penetrating radiation, the same kind hospitals use to examine internal organs and bones.
Australian airports are set to begin using the devices should legislation before Federal Parliament be passed, enabling customs officers to use technology previously only operated by doctors in controlled conditions.
The justification for the technology is to crack down on suspected drug smugglers who swallow illegal substances to evade airport security. However, the notion of placing the technology along airport security lines paves the way for its general use, particularly in light of the recent security theatre explosion we have seen in airports over the last eighteen months.
The current crop of naked body scanners being used by the TSA and other transport security personnel around the globe use either Millimeter-wave or BackScatter radiation. These devices render clothing and organic materials translucent, providing an image of what is concealed underneath, which is why they have caused such controversy.
The radiation fired from those scanners does not penetrate beyond the tissue under the skin, nevertheless there have been significant and legitimate fears expressed by experts and scientists over the safety of such devices, as far as both the operator and the traveler are concerned.