Homeland Security Paid Contractors Millions of Dollars to Develop And Study Covert Body Scans

See also:

Documents Reveal TSA Research Proposal To Use Body-Scanners On Pedestrians, Train Passengers (Forbes)

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano Proposes Full-Body Scanners For Trains, Boats, Metro (The Hill)

US: Full-Body Scanners Popping Up At Courthouses (AP)


The Homeland Security Department paid contractors millions of dollars to develop and study surveillance systems that could covertly track pedestrians and check under people’s clothing with airport-style body scanners as they enter train stations, bus depots or major events, newly released documents show.

Two contracts the department signed in 2005 and 2006 were part of its effort to acquire technology to find suicide bombers in a crowd of moving people, according to documents given to the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), a privacy-rights group that is suing Homeland Security.

The department dropped the projects in a “very early” phase after testing showed flaws, Homeland Security spokesman Bobby Whithorne says.

EPIC lawyer Ginger McCall says the project is disturbing nonetheless because it shows the department “obviously believed that this level of surveillance is acceptable when in fact it is not at all acceptable.”

A $1.9 million contract with Rapiscan Systems, which makes airport body scanners, asked the company to develop similar machines for “covert inspection of moving subjects” and to find explosives on suicide bombers “through clothing, backpacks and other packages.” The contract was signed in 2005.

Rapiscan’s airport body scanners require subjects to stand still while the machines create an image of passengers underneath their clothing to reveal hidden weapons. EPIC has sued the department to stop their use, saying the machines violate privacy.

Rapiscan Vice President Peter Kant says the company gave Homeland Security a prototype machine designed “primarily for non-aviation settings” because it could scan people while they were moving.

Lab tests of the prototype resulted in the project being dropped, Whithorne says.

In 2006, the department signed a $1.3 million contract with Northeastern University in Boston to test systems that could potentially “monitor and track individuals in a crowd.” Northeastern studied video cameras, imaging equipment similar to body scanners and radar, which can spot people at a distance.

After receiving Northeastern’s reports, Homeland Security decided against trying to develop a prototype machine, Whithorne says.

Using systems to covertly scan pedestrians “would be a clear violation” of laws against unreasonable searches, McCall says. “If you are walking down the street, this allows them to digitally strip-search you and rifle through your belongings without any sort of justification,” she says.

Homeland Security studies privacy implications of technologies before they are used on the public. The department dropped the two projects “before we even got to the privacy assessment phase,” Whithorne says.

Homeland Security has sought for several years to develop technology that can scan moving people, and has publicly tested equipment at a New Jersey rail station and at airports in Denver and Minneapolis.

Body scanners typically require a controlled environment that eliminates outside light, security consultant Rich Roth says.

Homeland Security has spent billions of dollars to develop systems that detect everything from airborne pathogens to people illegally crossing into the U.S. from Mexico.

By Thomas Frank
Mar. 04, 2011

Source: USA TODAY

1 thought on “Homeland Security Paid Contractors Millions of Dollars to Develop And Study Covert Body Scans

  1. DHS Scanners To Secretly Search Your Body, Vehicle and Home—X-ray Deaths Next?

    Department Homeland Security and Police intend to use hundreds of new X-ray Back Scatter Vans and other scanners with long-distance capability to secretly scan and search lawful persons’ bodies—when driving, walking and X-ray Citizens in their homes. DHS plans to mount X-ray scanners on buildings and utility poles to monitor groups of pedestrians. Citizens that drive or walk to work or lunch in monitored areas may be radiated several times a day.

    There is nothing to stop government agencies and police repeatedly targeting (persons of interest) on the street and in their homes with X-ray scans that may cause cancer or induce other medical problems—including individuals afflicted by poor health. DHS new scanning will record eye and facial features of pedestrians, so subjects can be identified for covert X-ray scanning. Consequently some Americans may be X-ray scanned every time they set foot on the street.

    How could anyone prove his or her cancer was caused by repeated government X-ray scans? Can you think of one U.S. Government agency you would trust to limit the number of times and duration secret Government scanners can penetrate a person’s body with X-ray radiation, when walking, driving; inside their home? Citizens driving or walking to work, that must pass DHS X-ray scanners on buildings and utility poles, could be exposed to radiation several times a day. The press recently reported that X-ray scanners now used at airports are 10-times greater that what U.S. Government told the American People.
    Currently Citizens can purchase small sensitive radiation detectors on key chains that set off different sounding alarms for each radiation level detected. Key Chain radiation detectors sell for about $160.00 and some appear capable of detecting government X-ray scanners penetrating their home, or their body when walking or vehicle when driving. It should be expected more pedestrians might start carrying radiation key chain detectors to learn if X-ray scanners on buildings and utility poles are targeting their neighborhood, the streets they drive or walk. Radiated pedestrians and drivers should protest, especially if they are being hit everyday with X-ray scanners.

    The U.S. can’t become a total Police State until the 4th Amendment is either terminated or so watered down it has no legal effect. That will be the result if government / police are allowed (without probable cause or warrants) to expose the public to covert X-ray scans and scans at airports; train and bus stops and other check points.

    One can’t help wonder if today’s outspoken Americans that lawfully defend the Constitution, e.g., writers and bloggers will be deemed combatants by U.S. Government; constantly stopped, searched, and questioned by TSA and police; forced to endure no warrant searches of their car, body and forced cancer causing X-ray scans. The Nazi Military and Police repeatedly searched and delayed Citizens labeled politically undesirable boarding trains and buses and driving to work to cause targeted Citizens to lose their jobs. Citizens were placed on (Nazi do not hire lists) similar to the lists U.S. Homeland Security started in 2010.

    See: TSA, DHS plan massive rollout of mobile surveillance vans with long-distance X-ray capability, eye movement tracking and more at: http://www.naturalnews.com/031603_surveillance_police_state.html#ixzz1GGDd24RG

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