July 11, 2012 at 1:39 PM ET
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security may soon embrace super-fast, laser-based molecular scanning technology that can detect anything on or in your body in an instant.
The technology holds promise to make airports, borders and other points of interest to terrorists more secure, but comes with a host of new personal privacy concerns, Gizmodo reports.
Their plan is to install this molecular-level scanning in airports and border crossings all across the United States. The official, stated goal of this arrangement is to be able to quickly identify explosives, dangerous chemicals, or bioweapons at a distance.
The machine is ten million times faster—and one million times more sensitive—than any currently available system. That means that it can be used systematically on everyone passing through airport security, not just suspect or randomly sampled people.
While this technology isn’t new, the scanner is “millions times faster and more convenient than ever before,” Gizmodo adds.
And that’s where the privacy concerns arise.
The rollout of X-ray and millimeter wave scanning technology at airports across the country in 2010 got people up in arms about their privacy and health.
But at least we know these things are coming as we slip off our shoes and belts in the security line.
The new technology could be used without us even knowing it – say while waiting to check in – and is sensitive enough to detect a grain of cannabis from the joint that dude smoked next to you the night before.