Hide yo’ kids, hide yo’ wife, because the police simply have no interest in your privacy.
At least 50 U.S. law enforcement agencies have a new gadget at their disposal, and if you’re not a fan of the TSA being able to look at your junk, you’re really gonna hate this: new radars that allow officers to look through walls and into homes. But while the technology is new to us, it’s actually been around since at least 2012, when the U.S. Marshals Service started purchasing them. So why did no one know?
Simply put, no one wanted you to know, and the information didn’t come out until December, when a Denver appellate court revealed its use in the arrest of a man violating his parole.
The device acts as an exceptionally sensitive motion tracker, able to tell where a person is and register movements as slight as breathing from up to 50 feet away, even through concrete and brick.
While officials claim these radars will make raids safer for officers (by allowing them to know where a suspect is before entering a building), the privacy concerns given the previous secrecy surrounding this device are very valid. In fact, in the aforementioned case, the detector was used to find the suspect without ever applying for a warrant from the courts, raising “grave Fourth Amendment questions.”
Given the ruling in Kyllo v. United States, the warrantless use of this device pretty much has to be unconstitutional, and it’s likely only a matter of time before they get a lot more oversight. The technology is clearly useful, though, and I do hope that they find an appropriate way to deploy it, rather than shelving the whole thing. But given how long it took for us to even know what was going on, the question should still haunt us: what else do they have up their sleeves?