November 08, 2003

See No Evil

It was annouced this week that the Government has delayed it's plans to implement mandatory identity cards. They are putting them back until sometime later in the decade. They don't need them anyway. They now have "the Machine".

"The Machine", a passive millimetre-wave scanning device, is joint US/UK project developed not far from here by a privatised former Ministry of Defense agency. It sees through clothes and can pick up metal, ceramic, plastic, and anything else that can be used as a weapon. These show as a different colour from the intimate details of the human body, also on view.

According to The Times, the project to develop this scanning device was ordered by Sir John Stevens, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. It is not a thing of the future. It is here and now. As quoted from The Times:

The existence of the scanner has been kept secret within Scotland Yard and only a few senior officers know of the project. Sir John and other commanders were given laboratory demonstrations this year.

Did I mention that the demonstrations have not been kept in the laboratory? Large versions have been used at the ports to detect illegal immigrants hiding in lorries. But you don't have to be a trans-Channel stowaway to have been exposed. If you've been in London lately, someone may have seen more of you than you intended:

A large version has already been tested on the London streets, from the back of a converted van and police are highly optimistic that it can work operationally.

They are working now to reduce the size of the scanner so that rather than requiring an unmarked van, it can fit in a car. That way, the bobbies can turn on the screen for a little entertainment while they munch on doughnuts or whatever it is they snack on in this country.

Even though policemen may be focusing their eyes on the intimate bits of you, your wife, or your daughter, theoretically they want it to see if you are carrying a handgun. This is because since they outlawed guns, gun crime has skyrocketed. In 2002, it was up 35% over the previous year. So whether you are walking or standing or sitting down they will know whether that is a gun in your pocket or you are just happy to see them.

Posted by david at November 8, 2003 05:35 PM | TrackBack