No body scanner opt-out for Aussie travellers

Australian travel cash card holders will not be able to opt-out of full body scans at Australian airports when the technology is rolled out nationwide.

Scanners have been trialled at both Sydney and Melbourne airports, with all pre-paid travel card holders – except those with serious medical problems – being subjected to the digital search.

Soon they will be used across the country, but civil liberties groups have raised concerns that not offering passengers an opt-out impacts upon their human rights.

"In the European Union, where they do allow these types of scanners, they have issued a directive that says governments must provide citizens with an option to opt out," Tim Vines, director of Civil Liberties Australia, told ABC.

He added that giving people the choice of either undergoing a full body scan or a traditional pat-down search is preferable.

However, proponents of the technology have claimed that the scanners only show a generic outline of the person being searched and so do not amount to a strip search.

When body scanners were introduced at Heathrow Airport in London in 2010, they sparked controversy, with many critics claiming they amounted to an invasion of privacy.

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