New Surveillance Technology Monitors The Invisible

from the detection dept

There’s little doubt that surveillance cameras are becoming increasingly ubiquitous, and that there’s really no such thing as privacy in public. But monitoring images visible to the naked eye may one day look quaint compared to the next generation of surveillance technologies. One company is developing a new technology that uses UV rays to detect trace amounts of illegal substances on objects, like door handles. So, a cop walking through the hallway of an apartment building could quickly zap each door handle to get an idea of who might be in possession of illegal narcotics. You can probably imagine many different applications of this technology, like streetlights that can tell what drivers had alcohol touch their lips that night. The question isn’t whether this technology is bad or good, it’s whether it can be used without being abused. At the moment, the courts have ruled against the use of drug-monitoring technology without a warrant, but it’s not like nobody ever ignored the law before. And please, don’t bother with the argument “If you have no drug residue on your door handle, then you have nothing to hide.”

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Comments on “New Surveillance Technology Monitors The Invisible”

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ss says:

Detect Guns

They also have the technology to detect gunpowder and explosives this way. Its been suggested that you could do a sweep of a country town by town, say Iraq or Afganistan and find and remove all guns. Would make these much more peacefull places, but this is heavily opposed by the NRA (since then why not do this to say LA or New York).

Loraan says:

Re: Detect Guns

Guns do not cause the violence in Iraq, Afghanistan, or anywhere else. Taking away guns will not make a violent society peaceful. It will just motivate them to kill each other with good old-fashioned weapons, like machetes. I wish people would stop blaming guns for violence when they should be blaming people.

Indiana Jones says:

Re: Re: Detect Guns

Yeah, true, they COULD theoretically revert to machetes.

But then all the “good” soldiers on the side of the war that get to keep their guns have a huge advantage.

Anyone remember the scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark where Indy comes across the sword-wielding guy who puts on a huge display of his blade prowess, only to have Indy pull out his pistol and shoot him?

Sure, not a real-life example, but the principle remains. An army of machete-wielding “thugs” is nothing against even a platoon of joes with automatic rifles.

Which yes, goes back again to the point that any weapon you have CAN and WILL be used against you if given a chance by someone so motivated. It wouldn’t take long before a few machete-wielding guys covertly attacked an unsuspecting group of joes and took all the automatic weapons from their corpses…

So yeah.

Joe M. says:

This is SUPER!

Maybe one day I’ll finally have a way to get back at my obnoxious neighbors… by simply tainting their door handles. Yes, I have the “means” to taint the handles… wow… can anyone spell R-E-V-E-N-G-E?

Seriously, this new technology is absurd and all agencies from courts to law enforcement should not even consider using such Soviet era spy-on-your-citizens technology. Sorry but the cold war is over.

Osvaldo Delengaro says:

Re: This is SUPER!

cold war is over?? mainstream US press reports say theer are more russian spies in the US now than ever befoer.

notice how russia is supporting every country the US has issues with: iran and now north korea? provides military aid to syria, too, for use against US allies. colwar never ended, just went underground for a while. fooled ya’.

Okita Soji says:

Funny thing....detection

I think it’s interesting that equipment that can sense whether or not there is a trace amount of a certain narcotic can be used in the “civilian” sector…but we can’t actually “determine” whether or not the DPRK (aka North Korea) actually DETONATED an atomic/nuclear/radiological device?

I don’t know WHAT to believe anymore…

Walter Dnes says:

It's already happening

The Inquirer Net has the story of a Canadian explosives expert who *LEGITIMATELY* works with explosives, and was detained whilst travelling to an American security conference.

DEEPLY IN THE ‘you can’t make this stuff up’ category comes word that a presenter at MPF won’t make it today.

The presenter from Optosecurity, a Canadian company that uses massive computer power to identify things like disassembled weapons in your luggage won’t be here because he was detained by security.

From what we are told they detected explosive traces on him at the airport, imagine that, someone who works with such things has a residue on him. The last anyone heard of him, he was still being detained, status unknown.

And it’s not just happening to suspicious foreigners. A white, caucasian, all-American-boy, US Marine reservist returning from his *SECOND* tour of duty in Iraq was delayed. He had been put on the watch list, because gunpowder residue was found on his boots when he was returning from his *FIRST* tour of duty in Iraq… duhhh…

“When Brown left the Twin Cities for Iraq last June, airport security found traces of gun powder on his boots from his first tour of duty. Brown was briefly detained then but didn’t know he was placed on a watch list.”

And let’s not forget the hell that Susan Nelles went through due to a hypersensitive experimental test for Digoxin that indicated 43 babies in a Toronto hospital had been poisoned…
“The digoxin found in the deceased babies may never have been present. The test, an experimental method, detected byproducts of digoxin after it broke down in the body, gave false results to other chemicals and labeled them as by products of digoxin as well. It impossible to determine if digoxin was used.”

Eddie says:

Streetlights seeing Alcohol on lips?

Umm, So i wont be able to Gargle mouthwash without being harrassed by cops? Im a black man c’mon we already can’t get a break with Cops stopping us for the littlest thing to search our car and make a big deal out of nothing only to find nothing and let us go causing us to be late for meetings and jobs, why give the cops more of a reason to Stop us?.

Same for Latino’s and Asians as well that get stopped for no reason..

Streetlights that can read Alcohol on lips shouldn’t even cross anyone’s mind unless they plan to take Alcohol out of every product but the Beverages.

AC says:

Re: Streetlights seeing Alcohol on lips?

You are so right Eddie! This is just a huge government conspiracy targeted solely at minorities just like yourself and your comrades. Thats the governments evil plan, to harass you and make you “late for meetings and stuff”? Because we all know cops dont pull over white people. ever. Yeah, IDIOT! If you feel so picked on, singled-out or harrassed you can go back to your own F*CKIN COUNTRY. Now quit your B*TCHIN and get on with your meaningless minority life.

AC says:

Re: Re: Re: Streetlights seeing Alcohol on lips?

I’m sorry you feel I have a meaningless life eb. I am just a little tired of all the minorities fleeing their own countries and coming to the USA. While they are here they make us change who we are to incorprate their lifestyles into ours.

All the while we are working our @sses off trying to make ends meet and they are driving brand new cars and getting food stamps and welfare without working at all? Make sense to you? Me either?

How many minority grants and financial aid programs are available out there? Where you aware that a minority female will receive more financial assistance than anybody else? Sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me.

I wish I could move to mexico/africa/china pennyless, get into an assisted living home, get food stamps, welfare and buy anything I want with money I earn under the table. Then complain about how mistreated my “people” are just because we are a different color.

Its kind of interesting when you think about it. The most racist people out there are the minorities but our wonderful country caters to their every want and whim.

So eb, I dont have a meaningless life. I just get tired of all the poor little minorites complaining about getting pulled over because they are black, brown, etc. When in reality they could have changed lanes without a blinker, crossed over the center line or maybe even been caught speeding. To any of you oppressed minorities that think life is unfair…. GO HOME, not the place you call home just down the block but go back to where you came from.
Thanks in advance

Jamie says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Streetlights seeing Alcohol on lip

Wow, I didn’t know bigotted morons were posting to this site. Weren’t the first caucasian settlers in the USA fleeing religious persecution back home? Now it’s been the richest country in the world for over a hundred years we should shun all immigration and live insular little lives complaining about Johnny Foreigner? Not to mention that many minorities have US ancestry dating back to the days of Washington. Please think a little before posting such blatent stupidity to this board.

Anonymous Coward says:

OK, so the technology could be abused, but it also could be used for good. Doesn’t this place always talk about technology is just technology, and people shouldn’t limit it because it may be used for bad purposes?

You can’t talk out of both sides of your mouth, either you are for things like this or you are not. Cell phone use when driving is probably a bad thing, but that doesn’t mean cell phones should be banned.

Oh, and the courts have always ruled that you must have due process when using technology like this, at least so far.

|333173|3|_||3 says:

Re: Re:

“Whatever happens, we have got
The Gatling gun, and they have not”

That scene was made when Harrison Ford had the flu and was pissed off with the whole thing after trying several times to get the scene right wuth his whip, he just shot hte guy. they kept it because the director liked it better that way.

You have point though – no matter how many macketes they have, a regiment with automatics will pwn them all. Look at what happend to Poland, 1939, for what happens when you try to put ancient tech weapons against modern equipment and tactics. (Think lancers againast tanks – although the Brits had lancers in reserve when they first used tanks at the Somme)

Xanthir, FCD says:

Privacy = DRM?

I just now realized – our right to privacy is gradually looking more and more like DRM. Privacy Rights Management – administered by the government. It only takes one hacker to spread your life over the internet.

Would it perhaps be better to accept and embrace the power of constant surveillance? To be as “free as in freedom” as software, though, we’d either have to give everyone access to surveillance data or have free reign in blocking it.

Just some random thoughts…

chilehead says:

A whole lotta worries over nothing

So a company is doing research into new technologies and uses a few examples of how it might be used, to build a buzz on the topic and drum up business for the product if it actually works, and everyone thinks a government consipiracy is behind it?

With the trace amounts of all those chemicals that are everywhere, it won’t really tell anyone anything. If every doorknob has stuff on it, the test is useless for the purposes of law enforcement. So many products have amounts of alcohol in them that scanners for that substance would be useless as every third person would show positive.

Anyone that works in law enforcement that would read about this technology will probably just chuckle and forget about it right away. I think a lot of people above who are having such strong reactions have their priorities out of balance. If you are so worried about having to find a way to keep the police from finding your stash, why not just quit the stuff and get a hobby that doesn’t violate the law?

hiscity says:


Kids! Don’t learn the hard way. Don’t make yourself a victim.

The thing about doorknobs and other exposed surfaces is that they tend to get “cleaned off” by air drafts and other users.

I’d love to be in the trial of someone caught trying to frame someone else … caught “white handed” by video surveillance. You never know when you’re going to walk into a stake out.

As for giving up drugs to contaminate other things … most users or sellers don’t think like that. It’d be a waste of money or stuff.

So go back to school fool.
The only one you’re going to frame is yourself.

Bob says:

Just because there are trace amounts of drugs on the door handle doesn’t mean there are drugs inside. What if the pizza delivery guy touched the door? What if a criminal went down the hallway checking each door to see if it was locked? This is utter stupidity. It’s a clear case of the latest technology trend: “We can, therefore we should.”

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