A device that can detect concealed weapons has been long in development by the New York Police Department in conjunction with the London Metropolitan Police. According to the New York Times, New York police recently acquired a working model which is about the size of 26-inch television set. The device detects terahertz-waves, a form of natural radiation produced by humans. Clothes usually do not interfere with this flow of radiation, but more solid objects such as handguns will.
Testing earlier this week involved a plainclothes officer with a pistol stowed away under a football jersey. The machine was able to pick up the handgun’s interference signature as a black object against the green outline of the officer’s body.
Although an alternative to more physical weapon checks, several groups are voicing concerns over the new device and how it relates to personal privacy. According to WNYC.org, the New York Civil Liberties Union is one.
“We have to be mindful of the concerns that everybody has about their privacy, even when they’re out on the street, because it’s our bodies,” said Union Director Donna Lieberman.
The New York Police Department remain optimistic about the new piece of technology, which is just small enough to fit on a car.
“We still have a number of trials to run before we can determine how best to deploy this technology,” Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said on Wednesday. “But we’re very pleased with the progress we’ve made over the past year.”