Molecular Laser Scanners = End of Privacy

A recent article from GIZMODO describes a scanner that is to be implemented within the next year or so by the US and Russian governments.  Apparently, this is not new technology — it’s just “ten million times faster—and one million times more sensitive—than any currently available system.”  By the way, the author of this article is not named, as he reportedly wants to remain anonymous.

You can read about this molecular laser scanner at “Hidden Government Scanners Will Instantly Know Everything About You From 164 Feet Away.”  In the meantime, here are different quotes from the article:

Within the next year or two, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will instantly know everything about your body, clothes, and luggage with a new laser-based molecular scanner fired from 164 feet (50 meters) away.  From traces of drugs or gun powder on your clothes to what you had for breakfast to the adrenaline level in your body—agents will be able to get any information they want without even touching you.

And without you knowing it.  

Their plan is to install this molecular-level scanning in airports and border crossings all across the United States.

… it can be used systematically on everyone passing through airport security, not just suspect or randomly sampled people.

So not only can they scan everyone.  They would be able to do it everywhere: the subway, a traffic light, sports events… everywhere.

The machine is a mobile, rack-mountable system.  It fires a laser to provide molecular-level feedback at distances of up to 50 meters in just picoseconds.  For all intents and purposes, that means instantly.

And the Russians also have a similar technology:  announced last April, their “laser sensor can pick up on a single molecule in a million from up to 50 meters away.”

There has so far been no discussion about the personal rights and privacy issues involved.  Which “molecular tags” will they be scanning for?  Who determines them?  What are the threshold levels of this scanning?

According to the undersecretary for science and technology of the Department of Homeland Security, this scanning technology will be ready within one to two years, which means you might start seeing them in airports as soon as 2013.

If the US and Russia are being named in this article, then there are certainly other countries in line for this technology as well… if they don’t already have it.

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