Body scanners

Body scanners are used at Australian international airports to detect prohibited items worn or carried on your body. Use of a body scanner is random; you can be selected at any time. Refusing to be scanned means you will not be allowed to pass through the security screening point or board your flight.

If you have a medical or physical condition that prevents you from being scanned by a body scanner, please advise the security screening officer.

Health and safety

All body scanners in Australia use non-ionising millimetre-wave technology. This means they do not emit ionising radiation like that of x-rays. The low intensity waves and short duration of the scan means you are exposed to less energy than other common everyday devices such as mobile phones. The millimetre-waves are reflected off the surface of the skin and do not penetrate the body. There are no known health risks from undergoing a scan so travellers who have a medical condition or are pregnant should not be concerned.

For more information, refer to the millimetre-wave body scanner health and safety information sheet (584KB PDF).


An example of the generic ‘stick’ figure produced by the body scanner Body scanners used in Australia are equipped with special enhancements to protect your privacy. Images are displayed as a generic stick figure to highlight areas that require further investigation. Scanners cannot store any personal or identifying information about passengers.

Before introducing this technology, the Government consulted with a wide range of stakeholders, including the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, Vision Australia and the Gender Centre and Organisation Intersex International, about privacy concerns.

Special needs

The Government understands that you may have concerns about how body scanners impact your individual circumstances. For more information, refer to: