What’s more important – privacy or security? The question has been at the forefront of political policy debate since 9-11. Nobody wants to be the victim of a terrorist attack, but where do we draw the line between security measures and infringements of liberty?
Â The ThruVision T5000 is a new security camera that can see through clothing, detecting explosives, liquids, narcotics, weapons, plastics, and ceramics, but not your body parts (or so they say).
As with much of technology, the ThruVisionÂ was created for an entirely different purpose than that for which it is being used. British astronomers created the technology to see past the dust and clouds that were blocking their view of dying stars. The special camera picks up “Terahertz” rays or T-rays, that are “naturally emitted by all objects and can pass through fabric or even walls”.
It’s pretty useful technology for high-security areas like airports, and as such,Â is slated for use in airports.Â Â But this device is also being considered for use in general public areas.
The proponents’Â arguments range from potential prevention of terrorist attacks that don’t occur in airports/airplanes, to reduction of time spent waiting at security checkpoints (outside airports).
The opponents’ point is that this is an invasion of privacy when used in a general public area. At an airport, you know beforehand that you will be searched, you’re aware of the search while it’s happening, you understand why it’s happening, and you’ve consented to it. With the ThruVision, literally, you’reÂ walking down the street with a pack of gum in your pocket and the camera’s picking up the foil wrapper. And you have no idea.
Has big brother gone too far?