Travellers to Europe could undergo full-body X-ray after bum bomb scare

Posted By: Staff
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Melbourne, Oct 8 (ANI): Tourists travelling to Europe could now be subjected to a full-body X-ray after a terrorist tried to kill a Saudi prince with a bomb he had inserted into his rectum in late August.

The travellers could also be forced to hand in mobile phones under the new security measures expected to be proposed soon.

But civil liberties groups have slammed the measures, saying they are akin to a "virtual strip search" and passengers would be treated as drug smugglers.

While medical experts have warned health risks were too high for those who fly regularly.

Trials of similar body scanners took place at Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide airports last year.

A spokesman for the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government said the Australian Government was still reviewing the results.

The X-ray technology, which is high energy and claimed to be harmless, allows screeners to detect non-metallic devices, objects and weapons concealed on a person's body, and it also allows one to see a person's organs and genitals.

French anti-terror chiefs are believed to be suggesting the new measures following the terrorist threat, and experts have said that if a terrorist detonated such a "bum bomb" on a plane the result would be catastrophic.

Australian Medical Association vice president Dr Steve Hambleton said any move to X-ray may place regular travellers at increased risk of cancer.

"The main worry is that ionising radiation is dangerous; we know it causes cancer when you get sufficient doses," quoted him as saying.

"It's a problem for frequent travellers," he said.

Civil liberties expert Dr Bede Harris, from the University of Canberra, said it was important to find a balance between the security needs of the public and privacy concerns.

"We live in a different environment in relation to safety than we did eight years ago but that doesn't mean that any and every method of surveillance or searching is necessarily lawful," Dr Harris said.

"I think you have to look at the full context of how things are done.

"There may be a need if the X-rays are so revealing as to amount to a strip search so only males or females are viewing the images depending what line you are travelling through," Harris added. (ANI)

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