A new laser begin developed for the Department of Homeland Security which will be deployed at security checkpoints can nearly instantly scan your body for traces of drugs or gunpowder and will be able to measure the level of adrenaline in your system from nearly 50 meters away. The laser has significant medical and security applications, but it is also raising legal and ethical questions about its use.
A report on the new laser in Gizmodo reveals that the technology is going to be installed in airports, border crossings and government buildings.
The laser was developed for medical purposes and can identify individual cancer cells and trace molecules of harmful chemicals that slip by manufacturer’s safety checks. However, the security applications for this technology quickly became apparent to the U.S. government.
The small, inconspicuous machine is attached to a computer running a program that will show the information in real time, from trace amounts of cocaine on your dollar bills to gunpowder residue on your shoes. Forget trying to sneak a bottle of water past security—they will be able to tell what you had for breakfast in an instant while you’re walking down the hallway.
Gizmodo raises ethical and legal issues which will come to light should this laser be used on individuals without their consent or knowledge.
If you unknowingly stepped on the butt of someone’s joint and are carrying a sugar-sized grain of cannabis like that unfortunate traveler currently in jail in Dubai, will you be arrested?
The new laser scanners could begin showing up in airports around the U.S. as early as 2013.
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