Documents Reveal TSA Research Proposal To Body-Scan Pedestrians, Train Passengers – Andy Greenberg – The Firewall – Forbes



One project allocated to Northeastern University and Siemens would mount backscatter x-ray scanners and video cameras on roving vans, along with other cameras on buildings and utility poles, to monitor groups of pedestrians, assess what they carried, and even track their eye movements. In another program, the researchers were asked to develop a system of long range x-ray scanning to determine what metal objects an individual might have on his or her body at distances up to thirty feet.

In August of last year, Joe Reiss, the vice president of marketing of security contractor American Sciences & Engineering told me in an interview that the company had sold more than 500 of its backscatter x-ray vans to governments around the world, including some deployed in the U.S. Those vans are capable of scanning people, the inside of cars and even the internals of some buildings while rolling down public streets. The company claims that its systems’ “primary purpose is to image vehicles and their contents,” and that “the system cannot be used to identify an individual, or the race, sex or age of the person.” But Reiss admitted that the van scans do penetrate clothing, and EPIC president Marc Rotenberg called them “one of the most intrusive technologies conceivable.”

via Documents Reveal TSA Research Proposal To Body-Scan Pedestrians, Train Passengers – Andy Greenberg – The Firewall – Forbes.

Looks like tin-foil hats might not be enough…but the company that starts selling the “Farraday Suit” might be in for some record profits (someone correct me if I’m getting the science wrong here, but I think a Farraday Cage would block these things). And yea, sorry, some of these vans are already on the road.

Also, Northeastern, wtf. If y’all ever expected to get an alumni donation from me, you can forget about it.

Don’t you just love how actually searching people requires a warrant, but as soon as it’s a digital scan, they just start acting like it’s something completely different? I’m really not particularly happy with that trend… Just because something is electronic doesn’t make it completely immune to the laws prohibiting its analog equivalents…or at least, it shouldn’t. At least we finally won that battle on the e-mail front…not that it helps much unless you handle your own e-mail server anyway… No real good reason not to though, with how cheap Virtual Private Servers are these days (I’ve seen $2.50/month, and they’re useful for a lot more than just e-mail serving…).


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