X-Ray Scanner Vans Not Just Being Sold To Law Enforcement
from the who's-scanning-whom? dept
A few months back, we wrote about how the backscatter x-ray technology, which is now causing concern in airports for effectively showing the "naked" you to TSA staffers, was also being used in vans by law enforcement. They could drive around and see scans of what was in cars and buildings around them.
We noted at the time that 500 of these had been sold, mostly in war zones, but noted some were in use in the US. Now, there's a report that looks more deeply at the vans and the controversy surrounding them and notes that the company that makes them also appears to sell them to private individuals. Most of the reports of sales are to various government agencies, but as you dig deeper, the sales become more vague:
Other releases are more vague, however, identifying the purchasers only as "the U.S government," a "Latin American customs agency," an "international government agency," "U.S. law enforcement officials," a "South American government," a "Middle Eastern country," a "Middle Eastern government," a "Middle East government agency," a "Middle East law enforcement agency," a "South American law enforcement agency," a "new African customer," a "European Union (EU) and an Asia Pacific (APAC) client," and a "Middle Eastern customer."Defenders of the systems basically say that people shouldn't be afraid of such things because they need to be used within the requirements of privacy laws (in the US, at least), but seem to ignore how the US government has been more or less ignoring the 4th Amendment pretty regularly lately. They also say that the technology isn't good enough to really get the "naked scans" unless you're right next to the van. Of course, since the vans are made up to look like ordinary vans, most people will have no idea if they're standing right next to one. And, on top of that, you have to assume that the scanning technology is only going to improve over time, meaning that it will be able to get much more detailed scans from a much greater distance.