Tag Archives: illegal search and seizure

New DHS Scanner Knows What You’ve Eaten, If You’re High, & What’s in Your Purse From 164 Feet Away

5 Aug

With this technology, the molecular-level scanner called a Picosecond Programmable Laser can detect traces of drugs, chemicals, weapons, and food in one-trillionth of a second, or a picosecond.

The lasers will be in use in airports and other high-risk areas within one to two years, according to an unnamed undersecretary from Homeland Security. The company that has acquired 30 patents relating to these particular types of scanners, Genia Photonics, says the Picosecond Programmable Laser 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.’

In-Q-Tel, a technology company playing middleman between DHS and Genia Photonics, states that “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.” [PDF]

The scanner is capable of detecting substances and processing the data from 164 feet away. It is ten million times faster and one million times more sensitive than any other existing security technology that is available. How widespread could the use of this technology become? Could there eventually be scanners in movie theaters, temples and churches, grocery stores, night clubs, and schools? Will we be scanned without even knowing it? Will our fourth amendment once again be ignored and disregarded?

Because it is such a small device, I can see it being put into police vehicles, as a Huffington Post article from July points out. Could this laser play a part in the legalization of marijuana? One dilemma with legalizing the drug is the hazard of irresponsible people driving under the influence, and the lack of technology to test if a person is high on marijuana at the time of a traffic stop. This new fourth amendment-crushing monstrosity, the Picosecond Programmable Laser, could solve that problem…and probably create three hundred new problems in the process. Current methods of testing for marijuana can show the drug in a person’s system even if the person has not used it in a month.  Could this  device aid in convincing the government and the public that marijuana should be legalized? What will we be giving up by allowing the use of these scanners? What opportunities for further abuse of power would this technology provide?

 

Sources:  The Secret Government Laser That Instantly Knows Everything About You [Privacy] (gizmodo.com)

Police Handcuff and Detain Forty Bank Robbery Bystanders; Story Details Change Without Note By CBS

7 Jun

There are a few phrases in the English language that I assumed made everyone’s ears burn and turn red when they heard them.  I don’t know who first told me to be wary of these simple words, but I do not doubt the warning.  There is something very chilling in justifying criminality and tyranny with these short statements:

The ends justify the means.” and “For the greater good.”

CBS reports that Chief Daniel Oates shamelessly declared “The ends justify the means” because a suspect was caught after the Aurora Police Department shut down an intersection in search of a bank robber.  At the intersection, the police stopped 19 cars, and detained all 40 innocent people who had been riding in the vehicles, because the officers had some undisclosed technology providing information that promised “virtual certainty” that the bank robber was among the 40 innocent Americans being harassed.  The cops had the suspect’s name but no picture, description, or any idea what car the robber would be in. This somehow permitted an ordinary crime, once again, to be the reason for the annulment of the fourth amendment, and therefore the disrespect and arrogant dismissal of the rule of law and justice.  frederickleatherman.wordpress.com had this to say:

A reasonable suspicion is more than a mere hunch. It requires articulable facts and circumstances that would cause a reasonable person to suspect that a particular individual had committed, was committing, or was about to commit a crime.

Apparently, Officer Fania was looking for a particular weapon, which he believed was concealed in one of the vehicles at the intersection, but he did not have a description of the robber or the vehicle the robber was driving or in which he was riding. Therefore, every vehicle the police stopped was an unlawful stop, including the stop of the vehicle that contained the person they subsequently arrested.”

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