New York is latest city to test body-heat scanning technology


Help report on developments in transit security, and lingering questions of privacy. Contribute via EDIT STORY or offer suggestions through TALK. 

New York’s Penn Station will be the testing ground for the QinetiQ SPO-NX, a device that scans pedestrians for objects hidden under their clothing. It looks like a camera perched on a tripod but it could detect potential suicide bomb vests and large quantities of drugs. 

U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer has championed the technology as a promising method to prevent terrorist attacks (NY Post). The failed suicide bombing in New York’s Port Authority Bus Terminal on December 2017 is used as an example of an attack that it might have prevented.  

By scanning for body heat and objects that block that heat, the device avoids the need for physical searches. It is shown in a YouTube video from QinetiQ’s Australian chapter.

The passive scanning could alter the politics behind security and surveillance in the United States. While the UK has largely accepted unchecked government surveillance in public areas, many citizens in the United States are protective of individual privacy and liberty in the same context. The portability of the device and non-intrusive nature of the scan could make body scans common in major transit hubs

QinetiQ is closely affiliated with the British government having been partly-owned by the UK Ministry of Defence before it was privatized in 2009 (London School of Economics).  It has since been contracted by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and its technology is used in Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and New York City.

Help report on developments in transit security, and lingering questions of privacy. Contribute via EDIT STORY or offer suggestions through TALK. 

  • Share
    Share

Subscribe to our newsletter and be the first to collaborate on our developing articles:

WikiTribune Open menu Close Search Like Back Next Open menu Close menu Play video RSS Feed Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Follow us on Instagram Follow us on Youtube Connect with us on Linkedin Email us