US law enforcement agencies are among the customers of a Massachusetts-based company that is selling full-body scanners to be mounted inside vans and used on streets, says a report from Forbes.Read the rest.
American Science & Engineering, based in Billerica, Mass., told Forbes blogger Andy Greenberg that it has sold more than 500 "Z Backscatter Vans," mobile x-ray scanning units that can be used to detect bombs, contraband and smuggled people inside nearby cars.
The company says its largest customer by far is the US military, which has purchased the machines to search for car bombs and other threats in war zones. But AS&E's vice president of marketing, Joe Reiss, said US law enforcement agencies have also bought the machines "to search for vehicle-based bombs in the US," Greenberg reports.
AS&E has not revealed the names of its US law enforcement customers, or how many of the machines they bought. But Reiss describes the van-mounted scanning system as "the largest selling cargo and vehicle inspection system ever."
News of the mobile scanners has alarmed civil libertarians who worry the technology could be used to violate people's privacy without legal justification.
Nov 16, 2010
With all of the controversy surrounding the TSA's security protocols and expanded use of full body scanners at airports across the country, it should be recalled that efforts by law enforcement agencies are already underway to move these machines from the airports and into our streets. From the US Pirate Party, this past September: