Mobile body scanners in action on US soil

Posted By: admin

Published to Fear and conditioning on Oct 02, 2010

With recent reports coming in from America of mobile x-ray vans being tested on the general public, without prior notification or consent, it should be obvious that this technology was always intended for wide deployment. The BBC reported, back in 2007, of leaked documents allegedly drawn up by the Home Office that investigated the possibility of building x-ray scanners into lamp posts to detect terror suspects. It would all be so laughable if it wasn't true.

With airport body scanners firmly on the agenda (just don't tell Italy or Dubai) it was inevitable that authorities would see a wider use for such scanning technology, particularly in a war on terror that has no clearly defined enemy.

Developed by American Science & Engineering (AS&E), the mobile x-ray technology has been sold to both US and foreign government agencies with more than 500 vans using internally mounted backscatter x-ray scanners. While the mobile scanners have been primarily used in Iraq and Afghanistan they are also being used in the US to detect vehicle based bombs (Times Square bomb scare anyone?) with checkpoints being established across the country.

Although governments and vendors are enthusiastic about the technology and its capacity to 'reveal' what's inside vehicles, others are not so impressed.

Marc Rotenberg, executive director of EPIC, states that "from a privacy perspective, it's one of the most intrusive technologies conceivable." Rotenberg goes on to state how the fourth amendment of the US constitution is potentially violated by the use of such devices, explaining that "without a warrant the government doesn't have a right to peer beneath your clothes without probable cause."

Which leads directly to the question of what safeguards are in place for the use of mobile scanners? With reports of violations of scanner security at airports in both the UK and the US, where procedural guidelines have been issued to scanner operatives, then what provisions have been made with regards to mobile scanners?

Given recent reports of the frequency of such mobile checkpoints in cities across America it's becoming increasingly clear how the public is becoming conditioned to accept ever more intrusive 'security' measures in the open ended, ill defined war on terror. Measures which present alarming health risks, privacy concerns and remove even more civil liberties while increasing the power of the state over the general populace.

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