The New York Police Department's Gun Detecting Machine Could Put an End to 'Stop and Frisk'

Now that the New York Police Department is not allowed to stop and frisk every brown person on the street, Commissioner Kelly's going to have to find a new way to invade the privacy of New York's citizens. Luckily, the man beloved by three of four New Yorkers works fast: yesterday at the Waldorf-Astoria, Kelly announced the T-Ray machine, which can detect a gun underneath your clothing from 30 feet away.

Like some sort of a horrifying 1984/Fahrenheit 451 hybrid, the Bigbrothermachine can be mounted on a truck and "deployed to sites identified as prone to gun violence."

Here's how it works: your body emits terahertz radiation all the time. Right now. You're leaking it. The high-frequency electromagnetic energy can penetrate your clothes, but not your Glock. The T-Ray detects this and can tell you're packing heat.

Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me? The NYPD knows...

What's unclear is whether or not other things, like wallets and cell phones, inhibit terahertz radiation, and could give the machine a false positive.

The NYPD paid for their new spy machine with money from the Department of Defense. It is made by a British manufacturer, Digital Barriers. The goal is to get the machine so small it can be carried on an officer's gun belt.

So is anyone worried about the potential privacy threat this poses? Not really, the ACLU told the Wall Street Journal:

"Any technology that allows police to peer into a person's body or possessions raises a lot of questions...," Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said in an email. "But to the extent that this technology reduces the abuse of stop-and-frisk that harms hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers every year, we're intrigued by the possibilities."

The T-Ray has not yet been put to use, as NYPD lawyers are looking to make sure its use is completely constitutional.

[Images via NYPD]