10 thoughts on “X-ray cameras on lampposts. This is a spoof… right?

  1. Stephen says:

    I suspect that “X-ray cameras” is technically-challenged shorthand for “high-tech scanning equipment”: not even our Government would be daft enough to bathe everyone in lethal X-rays. But still…

  2. Chris Edwards says:

    They are probably terahertz imagers – the giveaway is the bit about seeing people naked. People designing them reckon they could get the size down to a shoe box in a few years, so they could, in principle, go on a lamppost. But that’s the least of the problems in getting these things to detect hidden weapons.

    The Sun will have recast ‘terahertz waves’ into ‘X-rays’ on the basis that Joe Public knows roughly what X-rays are and it’s all EM waves, innit?

  3. Stephen says:

    Found some info on passive millimetre wave scanning here:

    The human body has a high emissivity and emits a great deal of millimeter-wave energy (between 30 and 300 GHz)- it shows up as hot on a millimeter imaging system. By contrast, a concealed gun, for instance, has a low emissivity and a high reflectivity – it reflects the ambient energy (at the temperature of the surroundings) and shows up as cold on the scan. The temperature differential with respect to the surroundings allows for the discrimination of the weapon being carried.

    http://www.venchar.com/2005/04/millimeterwave_.html

    So that explains the “seeing through clothes” thing: the body is imaged clearly, and clothes presumably do not image much. That also may be the source of The Sun’s “X-ray” confusion: it’s like dem X-ray specs, innit?

  4. Gary says:

    Thanks for that, Armin. You’re right, it’s a tad more measured… although the same can’t be said of the commenters.

    No doubt there will be people who will claim this is an invasion of civil liberties, I wonder how they would feel the same way if their plane was hi-jacked?

    Well, I must say if my plane was hijacked IN THE MIDDLE OF THE BLOODY HIGH STREET I’d be a bit miffed.

  5. Neil says:

    Without wanting to be too political, do phrases such as “too many false positives”, “costly failure”, “if my plane was hijacked IN THE MIDDLE OF THE BLOODY HIGH STREET” actually register in Westminster?
    So far, I can only imagine John Reid asking, “What? So they’re not *real* X-Rays?”

  6. Gary says:

    Well, if the ID card consultation was any indication, no. 5,000-odd negative responses were counted as one single comment, enabling the government to say with a straight face that the public were overwhelmingly in favour of ID cards and the only person against them was a Mister Internet.

  7. Gary says:

    Incidentally, I do think that anyone who reads about the destruction of civil liberties, uses the phrase “if you’ve nothing to hide, you’ve nothing to fear” and *means it* should be returned forcibly to whichever village has lost its idiot.

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