Homeland Security Experimenting With Body Scanners At Train Stations, Sidewalks

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The hardworking folks at Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) took advantage of the Freedom of Information Act to find out how extensive the TSA’s activities are in monitoring travel.

Turns out the Department of Homeland Security has purchased a variety of scanning and surveillance devices, including backscatter x-rays affixed to vehicles – so authorities can monitor pedestrians walking down the sidewalk.
Think this is a hyperventilated conspiracy theory? The fearless Andy Greenberg at Forbes uploaded a PDF of the actual documents. Here’s his take:

One project allocated to Northeastern University and Siemens would mount backscatter x-ray scanners and video cameras on roving vans, along with other cameras on buildings and utility poles, to monitor groups of pedestrians and assess what they carried. In another program, the researchers were asked to develop a system of long range x-ray scanning to determine what metal objects an individual might have on his or her body at distances up to thirty feet.


It’s not clear to what degree the technologies outlined in the DHS documents have been implemented. Multiple contacts at the DHS public affairs office didn’t respond to a request for comment Wednesday afternoon.

Is this what you had in mind when Bush originally unveiled the PATRIOT Act?

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0 responses to “Homeland Security Experimenting With Body Scanners At Train Stations, Sidewalks

  1. Ah, the “civilian nation security force” (including TSA)… oy vey.
    Like someone will try to hijack a train to Cuba. Sheesh.

  2. My apologies to cd, as this is a little off topic, but I have to vent here:
    There, I feel better.

    • Candance Moore

      Well dontcha know Dave, they are getting to be a big time operation and they have to be careful. Those media appearances don’t come easy.
      I better shut up before I say any more. 😉

      • cd,
        If we can no-longer make fun of those who wish to kill us all, there isn’t much hope left.
        As I noted in my NB post, I would expect this sort of reaction from HA or RS, but not from NB.
        These are truly upside down and backward times, just as we were warned they would be all those years ago.

        • Candance Moore

          Yeah. What you said was not racist or ethnically insulting, as I know you well enough to know that you would be absolutely polite toward Christians/other peace loving people who might have been born in an Arab country.
          It’s about a religion that really does want to kill us,

        • Candance Moore

          As for HA I don’t even bother going there. Between Ed and AP it’s very much a center-right place, even more so than NB. I’ll never know why Michelle chose those two.

          • cd,
            Unloading HA was one of the smartest things Michelle ever did. Ed is hopeless and AP is is even worse.
            LOL – As for camel-washer, that has been my signature term since way back in the Usenet days, which was before Al Gore invented the Internet.

  3. As for the TSA, don’t let them swab you, else you will wind up in the federal government’s DNA database.
    We are so losing control of our country.

  4. And yet TSA workers at JFK airport failed to spot 3 boxcutters in a passenger’s hand luggage who boarded an international flight from New York. Boxcutters were used as weapons by the 9/11 hijackers. The cutters were only discovered when they fell out of the passenger’s bag as he put his hand luggage into an overhead locker on the Dominican Republic-bound flight, sparking a terror alert. The plane was evacuated.


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