Monday, May 21, 2007

First it was Warantless Wire-taps, Now it's Warantless Screening of Your Vehicle

On Sunday, May 20, posted a video under the heading THE VAN WITH X-RAY VISION. Watch this before you read the rest of this post.

The company, American Science and Engineering Inc, has put together a mobile x-ray screening system by coupling their Z-Backscatter x-ray technology, used to detect organic materials, which "creates photo-like x-ray images", with a standard delivery truck. This van is called the ZVB, or Z Backscatter Van.

The company claims that their system is to be used for detecting "
explosives, plastic weapons, and drugs", as well as people and "other organic threats." And in a wide range of settings, "port and border security, force protection, urban surveillance, and other critical security applications."

Allow me to quote the 4th amendment before I continue:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

In the promotional video, it shows the van slowly driving past street after street of parked cars, as well as in a parking lot, scanning the vehicles. I doubt they have a warrant to search each of those cars, let alone one of them. That is what the van was designed to do, to remotely screen cars, small buildings, and incoming containers at ports.

On the ZBV product page, on the right hand panel there is a link to a pic of "Inside the ZBV's cab" that, when clicked, has in the caption " officials can screen vehicles and containers for terrorist threats and contraband - simply by driving alongside the subjects" (emphasis added). That is also stated in the end of the first full paragraph, "The system's unique "drive-by" capability allows one or two operators to conduct X-ray imaging of suspect vehicles and objects while the ZBV drives past."

If being insecure in your person, papers and effects wasn't enough, on their News Releases page there are a number of press releases announcing lucrative contracts with the government and various government agencies and contractors. A sampling of headlines includes: American Science and Engineering, Inc. Receives $3.5 Million Service and Maintenance Order from the U.S. Government; American Science and Engineering, Inc. Receives $2.0 Million Order for ZBVs from the U.S. Government; American Science and Engineering, Inc. Receives $17.5 Million Service and Maintenance Order for ZBVs (which goes on to state: "The Order is Phase Two of a Multi-Phase Contract Valued Up to $46.2 Million"); American Science and Engineering, Inc. Announces New Client Contract from a Middle Eastern Government Agency for Multiple ZBVs ("$6.2 Million ZBV Order to Protect High-Threat Government Facilities").

So, it looks like these roving screeners will be coming soon to a city or town near you... if they're not already there.


At 12:27 PM, Blogger Severina said...

Thanks for the tips on orgone. Interesting. Thanks for the links. I'll check it out.
Don't get much electronic harassment though, but did for a time last year. But, *sigh* that will probably change also, the more I speak out.

Whatcha gonna do?


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