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Terahertz Radiation Scanners for NYC Cops

January 17, 2012, by Ken Jorgustin

terahertz-street-scanner
fictional representation

Police in New York City, along with the U.S. Department of Defense, are researching new technology in a scanner placed on police vehicles that can detect concealed weapons.

It’s called Terahertz Imaging Detection. It measures the energy radiating from a body up to 16 feet away, and can detect anything blocking it, like a gun.

Source: CBS New York

 

Terahertz radiation can pass through clothing, paper, cardboard, wood, masonry, plastic and ceramics. It can also penetrate fog and clouds, but cannot penetrate metal or water.

Terahertz radiation can be used in surveillance, such as security screening, to uncover concealed weapons on a person, remotely. Many materials ‘of interest’ have unique spectral “fingerprints” in the terahertz range. This offers the possibility to combine spectral identification with imaging.

 

Safety of Terahertz Radiation

A study published in 2010 and conducted by Boian S. Alexandrov and colleagues at the Center for Nonlinear Studies at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico performed mathematical models how terahertz radiation interact with double-stranded DNA, showing that, even though involved forces seem to be tiny, nonlinear resonances (although much less likely to form than less-powerful common resonances) could allow terahertz 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”

Source: Wikipedia

 

Liberties

Will Terahertz Radiation Scanners be an invasion to your privacy as you walk down the street and are unknowingly scanned? Could your life be put in danger by a false-positive scan while your Leatherman on your belt or in your pocket is misconstrued for a weapon? What if you actually do have a license to carry? Will you be in danger from the agent doing the scanning who will not know that you have a license to carry? Since the U.S. Dept. of Defense is involved, how long will it be before this is federalized via the Dept. of Homeland Security across the nation? Will this scanner show nearly nude images similar to the scanner used by the TSA? If so, will agents start scanning the ‘hotties’ as they walk to work to get their kicks? Are you all okay with this? Are we still free?

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