Australian Shopping Centres Install Naked 3D Body Scanners

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By Vittorio Hernandez | May 29, 2014 8:22 AM EST

Naked 3D scanners, which used to be found only in major international airports, are now in shopping centres in Australia. The use of these devices has raised privacy and security concerns among Aussie shoppers.

REUTERS/Danny Moloshok
Critics have long complained that the backscatter body scanners expose passengers to a small dose of ionizing radiation, which at higher levels has been linked to cancer.

The first of such kind of scanner started to operate in Sydney in March after a nine-month pilot testing period. However, it won't be used to check if shoppers carry with them weapons such as how airports use it, but as a cyber tape measure to record body shape for tailor-made apparel.

A buyer would enter the pod, developed by mPort, provide personal details and remove all their clothing, except for underwear. The full infrared body scan will then record the body measurements in lieu of using a tape measure. After the information is collected, the pod produced a naked avatar and the personal information is stored by mPort.

Dipra Ray, managing director of mPort, assured Aussies their personal information would be safe since it would be encrypted to prevent hackers from breaking in and accessing their date, especially their naked images, which no one sees when a customer is scanned.

However, Ben Aylett, an IT specialist for Radio 6PR, belied the claim, saying no data storage in impenetrable. He added that security vulnerabilities and private information are two main targets of hackers.

Aylett said that the hacker could be the type who hacks for the challenge or the type who steals the data and sells it to the black market, warning, "As soon as you throw in the date of birth, it becomes a lot more valuable."

Ray said over 4,000 people registered during the 9-month test period, and 80 per cent had completed their scan details. mPort has partnered with an e-tailoring menswear business in Sydney which receives their information and manufactures design-to-order clothes.

He said the pods would soon be available in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria.

According to the mPort Web site, the pod is also capable of generating a body report with key statistics such as body mass index, fat content, waist to hip ratio and other measurements such as biceps, chest and thigh. It could track them over time and help a person get customised training.

One-time use costs $14.99, thrice a year use $39.99, six times a year is $69.99 and monthly use for one year is $119.99.

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(Photo: REUTERS/Danny Moloshok / )
Critics have long complained that the backscatter body scanners expose passengers to a small dose of ionizing radiation, which at higher levels has been linked to cancer.
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