Privacy? Peons Don’t Need Privacy!

Remember the airport scanner story from back in January that caused such a ruckus because it could see through your clothes? Yes, it would help detect concealed weapons, but it also let operators essentially see you naked. That raised some questions about privacy, but the argument at the time was that if you wanted to fly on a commercial airliner, you already gave up quite a bit of your right to privacy.

Well, now England is looking at invading your privacy when you’re walking on the street. Seems that they’re developing a unit that will fit into the back of a van and allow police officers to scan anybody.

Police are developing a mobile scanner that can detect weapons being carried on the streets as part of the fight against the rising tide of gun crime.

The scanner, which is being developed by scientists on behalf of Scotland Yard, will be able to pick out the outline of knives, guns and other weapons hidden underneath clothing, enabling officers to target criminals before they strike.

The justification?

The scheme was initiated by Sir John Stevens, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, earlier this year as he launched a crackdown on the tide of gun crime sweeping across Britain.

It comes in the wake of a number of high-profile shootings across the country in recent weeks including the shooting of six-year-old Makada Weaver in Liverpool.

Figures show that shooting incidents across England and Wales rose by 35% from 17,589 in 2000-2001 to 22,314 last year.

But I thought that gun control was supposed to make everybody safe. Now they’re telling us that invasion of privacy will make everyone safe?

Before the scanner takes to the streets the police may find they have to fight civil liberties groups concerned that the scanner – which reveals intimate body details – is an infringement of privacy.

Well I certainly hope so. However, I don’t think the government is all that interested in what the civil liberties groups think:

The spokesman refused to comment on reports in The Times that a version of the scanner has already been tested on the streets of London from the back of a converted van.

But he confirmed that the force would be using it “as soon as is practicable,” he said.

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