As I was departing Sydney today, I was shocked to find that full body scanners have been installed at Australian airports. The body scanner program began in December of 2012, and messaging from the Australian government has been limited.
The scanners were not present at the Sydney and Melbourne domestic terminals that I’ve passed through over the last few weeks, but were present at the Sydney international terminal.
Unlike in the U.S.A., travelers do not have the right to opt out of a body scanner in Australia, and exemptions, even on medical grounds, are nearly impossible. These scanners use non-ionizing millimeter-wave technology, which is meant to be less harmful than the backscatter x-ray systems (colloquially referred to as nude-o-scopes) introduced by the TSA in the USA. Millimeter-wave scanners operate using signals similar to, but of lower intensity than that of cellular phone transmissions.
See the following link for the Australian Government’s official information on airport body scanners…