On the one hand, if technology like this worked as it was billed, New York City should see its stop-and-frisk rate drop by a half-million people a year,” said NYCLU executive director Donna Lieberman. “On the other hand, the ability to walk down the street free from a virtual police pat-down is a matter of privacy.” Police say the technology is currently being tested but so far is only detecting weapons from about 13 feet away. They hope to increase the distance to about 80 feet. – NBCNewYork (2012)
Now the city of New York, with its gun-grabbing mayor, is set to deploy revealing new x-ray scanners that will violate residents’ Fourth Amendment right to privacy to ensure they’re not taking advantage of their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. According to local media reports, New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said his force is currently testing the new technology, which is designed to hone in on guns without using the department’s well-established “stop-and-frisk” procedure. Now, not only will suspected criminals be targeted, but so will the vast majority of law-abiding New Yorkers who, once again, are going to be presumed guilty until proven innocent. The New York Daily News said the department recently took delivery of a machine that reads terahertz, the “natural energy emitted by people and inanimate objects,” which “allows police to view conceal weapons from a distance.” …
The article says, “The department just received a machine that reads terahertz — the natural energy emitted by people and inanimate objects — and allows police to view concealed weapons from a distance.” The device reads terahertz, but does it also emit radiation to increase its ability to read? If so, irradiating people with potentially harmful devices without consent is a physical attack.
I believe the public has a right to self defense which would include avoiding the attacker.
Great things are expected of terahertz waves, the radiation that fills the slot in the electromagnetic spectrum between microwaves and the infrared. Terahertz waves pass through non-conducting materials such as clothes, paper, wood and brick and so cameras sensitive to them can peer inside envelopes, into living rooms and “frisk” people at distance.
The way terahertz waves are absorbed and emitted can also be used to determine the chemical composition of a material. And even though they don’t travel far inside the body, there is great hope that the waves can be used to spot tumours near the surface of the skin.
With all that potential, it’s no wonder that research on terahertz waves has exploded in the last ten years or so.
But what of the health effects of terahertz waves? At first glance, it’s easy to dismiss any notion that they can be damaging. Terahertz photons are not energetic enough to break chemical bonds or ionise atoms or molecules, the chief reasons why higher energy photons such as x-rays and UV rays are so bad for us.
But could there be another mechanism at work?
The evidence that terahertz radiation damages biological systems is mixed. “Some studies reported significant genetic damage while others, although similar, showed none,” say Boian Alexandrov at the Center for Nonlinear Studies at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and a few buddies. Now these guys think they know why.
Alexandrov and co have created a model to investigate how THz fields interact with double-stranded DNA and what they’ve found is remarkable. They say that although the forces generated are tiny, resonant effects allow THz waves to unzip double-stranded DNA, creating bubbles in the double strand that could significantly interfere with processes such as gene expression and DNA replication. That’s a jaw dropping conclusion.
And it also explains why the evidence has been so hard to garner. Ordinary resonant effects are not powerful enough to do do this kind of damage but nonlinear resonances can. These nonlinear instabilities are much less likely to form which explains why the character of THz genotoxic effects are probabilistic rather than deterministic, say the team.
This should set the cat among the pigeons. Of course, terahertz waves are a natural part of environment, just like visible and infrared light. But a new generation of cameras are set to appear that not only record terahertz waves but also bombard us with them. And if our exposure is set to increase, the question that urgently needs answering is what level of terahertz exposure is safe…
Just as we can with dental x-rays and airport scanners, in my view people should be able to opt out of being scanned by radiation emitting devices. What happened with this?
In 2017 Jonathan Corbett, a technology expert turned civil rights attorney, reported that the plan to deploy these devices was abandoned thanks in part to his efforts.
Like the TSA, the NYPD enjoys collecting high-tech toys, and announced in 2012 that they too would be joining the body scanner game. In 2013 they published their recent acquisition of a van-mounted body scanner that can penetrate your clothing from across the street to see what you’ve got. Upon hearing of this, I immediately sued the NYPD, seeking an injunction against their use. A federal judge ruled that my suit was too early because I couldn’t yet show they were going to use it illegally. So, I’ve been patiently waiting for the NYPD to go and use one of their vans in public to file a motion to re-open the case. But, it appears the NYPD got the message: the scanners have been “collecting dust” and the NYPD announced that they have abandoned all plans to ever use it. Why?
… The NYPD said that after an internal review, it was decided the machine would cause more problems than it was worth.
Via ProTroubleMaker (2017)
Nice. Gun violence was a terrible problem in 2019, so this technology could conceivably make a come back. I would not be opposed to a completely passive scanning technology, personally, but many would, so it should be put to a vote. It is a move that requires complete trust in the people who are running the scanners. If it was ever deployed, people should be informed of the locations of any such devices.
I hope that cities will not be nuking the DNA of its residents any time soon, but in 2020 there is still 5G to consider as an as yet unknown health risk. Governments and industries love it, yet some public health experts are concerned and there is an ongoing fight with strong claims on both sides.
LiFi – zero radiation risk and operable at lumination levels below human perception. “.
If there is a safe alternative, it seems the wise course to take that road.