One of the side-effects of technology is that we must continually ask questions of ourselves and our society that we couldn’t image before. Based on this new development, I predict a question in the near future will be:
What terahertz privacy can I expect in a public place?
There are some very interesting privacy implications about the ability to scan people remotely for things that they carry under their clothes. This is similar to some cases where police have used FLIR systems to look for the heat signature associated with grow lamps in people’s homes.
But this is also very different because the privacy issues involved in the home are quite different from people in public places (at least in the USA). We have (sadly) made the compromise that we will give up all notions of privacy for the privilege of taking a commercial airline flight. Or, oddly enough, visit our many fine amusement parks.
But now that such searches could in theory be done anywhere without even our knowledge, what will be permissible limits? I predict that scanning by the police in public areas will be ruled out of bounds (after a test case of course). But what about private scanning in places like malls and amusement parks? What about universities and stadiums?
What further freedoms will we surrender in the pursuit of the perception of safety?
This just in from Fox News:
Bill Foster, the president of Thermal Matrix, an American defense contractor specializing in imaging systems for the U.S. military, is one customer. He said: “This could be deployed at major sporting events, concerts and rail stations as well as for military use.”
So I guess my comment on stadiums wasn’t too far fetched after all.