New Homeland Security Scanners Could Lead to More Detainments
July 11, 2012 5:50 PM
(Source: 20th Century Fox)
Have even a trace of gunpowder on you from a shooting range? You may be in for a "deep frisking"
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
is tasked with fighting "the war on terror", but of late it has been accused of
creating more terror
than it prevents, with
invasive frisking of childrens' genital areas
and a proclivity for
mocking passengers' bodies sexually
behind closed doors. But all that may be but a teaser for what is to come, according to
I. Prepare to be Scanned and Detained
The piece details new "molecular scanners" which work something like Big Brother's wildest wet dream, detecting each an every chemical substance on your body.
The scanners are being commercialized by
and employ terrahertz speed laser pulses. The laser hardware is capable of detecting -- even through clothing or windows -- the slightest trace amounts of chemicals on the human body. Genia claims the scanner is ten million times faster and one million times more sensitive than any other scanner -- such as the millimeter wave-based detectors.
The DHS is eyeing new laser scanners to scan and detain "suspicious individuals" at police checkpoints in public locations. [Image Source: Genia]
that the scanner can "penetrate clothing and many other organic materials and offers spectroscopic information, especially for materials that impact safety such as explosives and pharmacological substances."
Thanks to the speed, the DHS is reportedly looking to deploy the scanners secretly at inter-state borders, international borders, and in airports.
The deployment raises some thorny issues, given the scanner's ability to detect such small traces of compounds. For example, smoke a bit of marijuana in a region where it's decriminalized or legal for medical uses, and you may now be arrested by DHS officers at the state border. Alternatively, you might go shooting at the gun range, but the trace amounts of gunpowder left on your clothing might earn you a date with "Mr. Happy Hands" of the
U.S. Transportation Safety Administration
(TSA) or DHS.
You match the profile, prepare to be frisked. [Image Source: The Denver Post]
II. DHS Eyes Plotting Scanners in Shopping Malls and Other Locations
In fact, DHS agents are eyeing the possibility of rolling the devices out all across the country, scanning everyone in any public location possible for signs of suspicion.
In-Q-Tel, the DHS contractor
who is subcontracting
, "an important benefit of Genia Photonics' implementation as compared to existing solutions is that the entire synchronized laser system is comprised in a single, robust and alignment-free unit that may be easily transported for use in many environments… This compact and robust laser has the ability to rapidly sweep wavelengths in any pattern and sequence."
A scan takes only picoseconds and can be performed at distances of up to 50 meters, making it big brother's dream device.
III. Deployment is on Pace for 2013-2014
The creators are confident they can deliver on their objectives of ubiquitous privacy intrusion. Founded by a group of laser and fiber optic Ph.D specialists, Genia is among
several Universities and firms
worldwide making similar ambitious claims of laser scanners with molecule-level sensitivity.
A trip to the shooting range could soon make you wind up in federal custody.
[Image Source: Flickr]
the DHS revealed that deployment was only a year or two away, meaning the devices could start popping up in 2013.
From there, there's no telling how far down the dystopian things could go with molecule scanner. The scanner can sense signs of fear -- such as adrenaline -- even through car windows or in crowded shopping malls. The DHS has already acknowledge publicly experimenting with such
"future crime" profiling efforts
. In those projects the DHS expressed a desire to detain individuals in public locations who fit certain profiles that indicate they might be ready to commit a crime.
Will anxiety about a big deadline at work lead you to be
handcuffed in front of your children
at the shopping mall? There's no official word yet on such uses, but the hints are there, and the possibilities are frightening.
"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer
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