A worldwide supplier of innovative X-ray equipment recently confirmed that it finalized a multimillion dollar contract with a U.S. government agency for the delivery of an innovative surveillance and detection system.
American Science and Engineering will provide the government with a modular Z Backscatter system, which can help bomb technicians remotely search vehicles for explosive devices. The technology was designed to scan a suspect object and produce an X-ray image.
If explosive components are detected, the system will allow the operator to defeat the device using precision targeting data. The Backscatter system, which security experts say can help in their counterterrorism strategy, has also been used at U.S. airports to produce full-body images of passengers.
According to The Christian Science Monitor, the government's recent acquisition of car-scanning technology has raised ire among privacy advocacy groups.
"This really trips up the creep factor because it's one of those things that you sort of intrinsically think the government shouldn't be doing," Frederick Lane, a Vermont-based privacy expert, told the news source. "But, legally, the issue is the boundary between the government's legitimate security interest and privacy expectations we enjoy in our cars."
Critics of the technology believe that scanning Americans without their knowledge is a violation of their constitutional protections, according to the news provider.