[LINK] new X-ray technology for Australian airports

Kim Holburn kim at holburn.net
Fri Feb 25 15:49:33 AEDT 2011

It's the Niemöller effect that I find worrying.

On 2011/Feb/25, at 3:36 PM, Roger Clarke wrote:

> At 14:44 +1100 25/2/11, Kim Holburn wrote:
>> Just when you think that you don't have any more privacy to lose the 
>> government comes up with a new and dangerous way.
>> I'd love to see a risk assessment on this.  Let's just x-ray 
>> everyone without a medical case.  Our society would be much safer, 
>> except for the increase in cancer, but we're working on that.
>> http://www.news.com.au/travel/news/no-place-left-to-hide-drugs-with-x-ray-technology/story-e6frfq80-1226011075259
> My post to the privacy list this morning is below.
> Apologies to Jan, Karl, and anyone else who's on both lists.
> Got to leave shortly, to get to Tony's farewell!!
> _____________________________________________________________________
> Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2011 09:37:34 +1100
> To: privacy at lists.efa.org.au
> From: Roger Clarke <Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au>
> Subject: Body Scanning for Drug Courier Suspects
> Minister for Home Affairs and 'Justice', incl. Customs:
> http://www.ministerhomeaffairs.gov.au/www/ministers/oconnor.nsf/Page/MediaReleases_2011_FirstQuarter_23February2011-Usingtechnologytostopdrugcouriersatourairports
> In FY 2009-10, "Customs and the Australian Federal Police identified 
> 48 drug couriers attempting to import more than 27 kilograms of 
> illicit drugs within their bodies  ...  205 people were taken to 
> hospital for examination under suspicion of having drugs concealed 
> internally. Upon medical examination, less than a quarter were found 
> to be carrying drugs".
> An amendment to the Customs Act has been tabled in the House of Reps, 
> which would enable the use of body scanning.
> "To conduct a body scan, Customs will have to form a reasonable 
> suspicion that a person is carrying drugs internally and the suspect 
> must consent to being scanned. If they refuse, they will instead 
> undergo a hospital examination, which is the current practice".
> "The option of an internal body scan will more quickly exonerate the 
> innocent and ensure a minimum of delay for legitimate travellers," Mr 
> O'Connor said.  'The use of internal body scanning technology at 
> airports is also expected to present significant time and money 
> savings to Customs, AFP and our hospitals'.  [Not 'our' technology, 
> airports, money, Customs or AFP, but 'our' hospitals.  There must be 
> some dorkish PR rule that says to associate the Minister with warm 
> and cuddly things.]
> "As Minister for Privacy, I'm acutely aware of community concerns 
> about the use of such technology. I'd like to assure the public that 
> this technology will be subject to strict controls.
> "Most importantly, body scanning technology will not be used on all 
> travellers or used randomly - it will only be used where there is a 
> reasonable suspicion that a person is carrying drugs internally. In 
> addition a suspect must consent to the use of body scanning 
> technology."
> 'Measures to ensure privacy and individual rights are respected include:
> *   law enforcement agencies form a reasonable suspicion that a 
> person may be carrying illicit drugs internally before the technology 
> can be used
> *   a suspect must given written consent to being subject to body 
> scanning technology. If they don't, a hospital examination will be 
> conducted, as is the current practice
> *   the operation of the body scanning technology will be conducted 
> by a specially trained Customs officer
> *   the images taken are subject to storage, access and destruction controls
> *   children, pregnant women and the mentally impaired will not be 
> offered a body scan.
> 'Customs and Border Protection is working with the Office of the 
> Australian Information Commissioner to ensure that the use of the 
> technology balances law enforcement needs with privacy concerns.'
> Customs Amendment (Serious Drugs Detection) Bill 2011
> Short Second Reading Speech:
> http://www.openaustralia.org/debates/?id=2011-02-23.12.1
> http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id:legislation/billhome/R4521
> Quick reactions:
> BAD Features
> -   no PIA
> -   no consultative processes
> -   establishes a precedent for the use for body scanners
> -   [guess:] relatively high levels of radiation necessary
> GOOD Features
> -   reasonable grounds for suspicion
> -   right of refusal
> -   reasonably likely to be effective for purpose
> -   establishes a precedent for the *responsible* use for body scanners
> -   will it be cost-effective?
>     If not, then its purpose is simply to be the thin end of the wedge:
>     'Oooh, we've got this expensive technology installed and we don't
>     make nearly enough use of it!'
> __________________
> [The article below is an all-too-common re-print of government 
> information pretending to be journalism (but at least it gave some 
> exposure to the Media Release).]
> No place left to hide drugs with new X-ray technology for airports
> By Matt Johnston
> Herald Sun
> February 24, 2011 3:07AM
> http://www.news.com.au/travel/news/no-place-left-to-hide-drugs-with-x-ray-technology/story-e6frfq80-1226011075259
> New X-ray machines that highlight internal cavities will be trialled 
> at airports
> NEW X-ray technology that can reveal drug smugglers' internal 
> cavities will be trialled at airports under a plan to fast-track 
> security searches.
> Legislation before Federal Parliament would enable customs officers 
> to use new body scanners instead of sending suspects to hospital for 
> internal X-rays ordered by a doctor, reported the Herald Sun.
> Federal police wasted more than 4600 hours in hospital waiting rooms 
> last year because of drug smugglers waiting for scans.
> More than 200 people were taken to hospital for internal searches, 
> with almost 50 found to have drugs in their bodies.
> Drug couriers captured by Australian authorities at airports last 
> year were carrying a total of 27kg of drugs.
> Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor said the scanners would also 
> help innocent travellers.
> "The option of an internal body scan will more quickly exonerate the 
> innocent and ensure a minimum of delay for legitimate travellers," Mr 
> O'Connor said.
> He said the new X-rays would be used only if suspects agreed to undergo scans.
> Mr O'Connor said people carrying drugs inside their bodies could die 
> if bags split or leak, so it was important to check as soon as 
> possible.
> Specially trained customs officers would be authorised to screen the 
> alleged smugglers.
> Under current laws, an internal X-ray scan can only be done by a 
> doctor at a hospital or surgery centre.
> The proposed trial would start later this year, at a date to be set 
> if legislation passes both Houses of parliament.
> Mr O'Connor said he understood privacy concerns in relation to 
> internal X-ray use, and the technology would only be used with strict 
> controls, including destruction controls.
> There would also be exemptions for pregnant women, people with mental 
> impairments and those under 18.
> -- 
> Roger Clarke                                 http://www.rogerclarke.com/
> Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd      78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
>                    Tel: +61 2 6288 1472, and 6288 6916
> mailto:Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au                http://www.xamax.com.au/
> Visiting Professor in the Cyberspace Law & Policy Centre      Uni of NSW
> Visiting Professor in Computer Science    Australian National University
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Kim Holburn
IT Network & Security Consultant
T: +61 2 61402408  M: +61 404072753
mailto:kim at holburn.net  aim://kimholburn
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