by Aaron Kesel, Activist Post:
After years of using full-body scanner devices that emit radiation, the TSA is testing a new technology dubbed terahertz to screen multiple airport passengers at the same time, from a distance of up to 25 feet away, LA Times reported.
The technology, described as “passive terahertz” screening, is said to be “radiation-free,” according to Kevin Gramer, vice president of Thruvision Americas, the producer of the new invasive technology.
“It’s 100% passive. There is no radiation coming out of our device,” Gramer told LA Times. “You don’t have to stand directly in front of the device.”
The new device aims to scan the outline of a passenger to reveal firearms, explosives and other illicit material.
The terahertz scanners are so efficient that they can seemingly scan 2,000 people an hour and detect a concealed device at a distance of up to 25 feet, according to the report.
Already these scanners are being used to replace traditional radioactive full-body scanners, while further expanding the surveillance state to include subways now. Unsurprisingly, these devices are being installed in LA subway transit systems, with train stations all over the U.S. expected to follow in suit.
“The machines scan for metallic and non-metallic objects on a person’s body, can detect suspicious items from 30 feet (9 meters) away and have the capability of scanning more than 2,000 passengers per hour,” according to the Associated Press.
Signs will be posted at stations warning passengers they are subject to body scanner screening. The screening process is voluntary, according to Alex Wiggins who runs the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s law enforcement division said. However, customers who choose not to be screened won’t be able to ride the subway.
Another one of Thruvision’s devices called Digital Barriers was tested in New York in February in a pilot program, according to the ACLU. The ACLU notes that uses of the technology are constitutionally questionable and can provide false positives (failure) exactly like facial recognition tech.
Further, the ACLU writes that discrimination can also play a key factor in the use of the technology.
“It’s up to the operator to determine which people get scanned and which don’t. This means people are subject to a virtual stop-and-frisk, a policing tactic historically known for its extremely discriminatory impact on Black and Latino people,” ACLU wrote.
Although this technology is not new, as other outlets are reporting, the current version may be more advanced However, it’s worth noting that Australia tested T8000 terahertz scanners as far back as 2011, Huffpost reported.
This reporter was also able to dig up a mention as far back as 2008 of an earlier model of the technology, T5000, demonstrated to the UK Home Office. There was also a page on RAL Space the Science and Technology Council, reporting on the technology behind TS4 (presumably) the version before T5000.
Thruvision’s technology is described on its website as “safe and respectful,” and “completely safe, with no anatomical detail revealed and physical ‘pat-downs’ no longer needed.”