Would you be comfortable if someone standing more 100 feet from you had the ability to extract information from the most personal space you will ever know, your own body, without your consent or knowledge?
Within the next two years, the snoops and nannies working for the Department of Homeland Security may have the technology to be able to do just that with the help of a laser-based molecular scanner currently being developed. The scanner will reportedly be capable of discerning everything from what you are concealing in your clothing or what residues may be on your garments, to freakishly intimate details like what you ate for breakfast, if there are drugs in your system or what your adrenaline levels are. All of these things could also be determined in real time by the gadgets.
The technology is being developed for the agency by In-Q-Tel, a private firm that acts as the “bridge” between the CIA and new technology companies to develop surveillance technology for government spying.
The laser scanner was created by the firm Genia Photonics, which specializes in creating laser scanning devices for biomedical applications, research and security.
Once fully developed, the devices will reportedly be introduced to airports, public places and border crossings and will likely be welcomed by travelers as a much less intrusive alternative to Transportation Security Administration groping. But the consequence will be a nearly absolute guarantee of the loss of personal privacy in places equipped with the scanners.
Some of the capabilities of Genia laser products:
They “can penetrate through many dielectric materials, such as clothing, paper, plastics, leather, wood and ceramics” to create an image. This could mean that nothing on your person remains private when you are within range of a scanner.
They can be used to conduct “sensitive and selective rapid identification of substances such as drug mixtures, chemical and biological warfare (CBW), explosives and toxic spills in field while adapting a non-contact approach to the hazard.” Have you ingested any substance of which Big Brother would not approve in the past few hours?
The laser scanners are small and inconspicuous and are capable of sending nearly instant analytic results to a computer equipped with a program that reads the results of the scan.
In-Q-Tel says that “an important benefit of Genia Photonics’ implementation as compared to existing solutions is that the entire synchronized laser system is comprised in a single, robust and alignment-free unit that may be easily transported for use in many environments… This compact and robust laser has the ability to rapidly sweep wavelengths in any pattern and sequence.”
Because of its portability, the technology could become common equipment for patrol officers or be located in all public areas if it becomes accepted by the public.