We’ve all seen the comic books and movies where Superman uses his x-ray vision to peer through the walls of buildings and containers. To view modern day x-ray vision all one has to do is pass through an airport security check point. In 2007, the Transportation Security Administration (“TSA”) began developing Advanced Imaging Technology (“AIT”). The machines make use of x-ray backscatter technology and pass “narrow, low intensity x-ray beams” over the body’s surface at high speed. The resulting images clearly show hidden weapons and other secreted contraband. The images also clearly show intimate and private details about an individual’s physical features. The use of this technology at airports is allowed because of safety and national security concerns.
AIT, however, is no longer limited to just airports. American Science & Engineering, Inc. (“AS&E”) recently developed a mobile-screening system, the Z Backscatter Van (“ZBV”). The ZBV combines AIT with the maneuverability and discreteness of a common work van. Operating in stationary or “drive-by mode,” the ZBV produces photo-quality imaging; clearly identifying whether a vehicle contains such contraband as stowaways, drugs, or explosives. Law enforcement’s use of vans like the Z Backscatter Van is just a matter of time. Just like Superman, police officers will soon be using x-ray vision to peer into the glove compartments and trunks of vehicles on the road.
When they do . . . will it be legal? We don’t know. We all have a constitutional right – found in the Fourth Amendment – to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. Unlike Superman, however, the law does not “move faster than a speeding bullet” and it traditionally lags behind advancements in technology.
Whether Advanced Imaging Technology sees through the Fourth Amendment as easily as it does everything else is yet to be seen. Inventors have already created x-ray proof underwear for those passing through airport scanners. Are x-ray proof glove compartments and trunks next?
I am one of the people in this country who thinks police powers have gone to far over the past twenty (20). We don’t have Constitutional rights and protects to protect who commit crimes, we have them to protect our freedom.
The truth is though some people commit crimes. These people have to have the same rights as everyone else, at all times, just like people who adide by the law. Otherwise where do we drawn the line? Who makes the decison of who gets what rights when? A computer? A bunch of politicans? A group police? I don’t think so! Rights are Yours. Know them, understand them, and use them.
Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.