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Top Story: Police have been secretly using x-ray vans in drive-by scannings

Top Story: Police have been secretly using x-ray vans in drive-by scannings
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

How would you feel if you knew that the van parked outside your home was shooting radiation into your house so it could watch everything you were doing? It sounds like something from a TV show or movie, but it's really happening.

For a number of years the New York Police Department has been operating its so-called "x-ray vans." These use backscatter technology, the same controversial technology that was used and then banned in U.S. airports, to see inside buildings. And it gets worse.

For three years now, the NYPD has refused to give out any details of the program, although there are challenges working their way through the New York legal system that could force it to do so. For now that means almost nothing is known about this program.

For example, who is the NYPD observing? Are the police getting warrants for these searches? How long does the NYPD keep any images it gathers and who can see them? How much radiation is the van putting out?

Next page: Why that last one is especially important
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