Law enforcement agencies in the United States have apparently been busy equipping their officers with a new powerful device: advanced radars that can "see" inside people’s homes.
At least 50 law enforcement agencies have quietly provided their officers the advanced hand-held detection devices, which have, apparently, been used by FBI and U.S. Marshals since 2012 – with a little notice to court and no public disclosure at all.
These radars are the latest in battlefield technology, initially designed to be used in Iraq and Afghanistan. They work the same way as motion detectors do. By using radio waves, these devices can even detect if someone is as much as breathing inside the house. From a distance of 50 feet, they can also find out the exact positions of the people inside the house.
Some of these radars only show a thermal image of the house as the hotspots on the screen give away a person’s presence and location in the house. Others can conjure a 3D image of the interior of the house making it even easier to determine the number of people present inside along with their exact locations.
Use of this technology only came to light when a Denver man was recently arrested for breaking his parole. The police determined his presence inside house through the radar, before breaking down the door and taking him in.
The court objected on the arrest, saying that the officers should have had a warrant for using "such a powerful tool."
Concerns have been raised on the usage of these radars, especially since they defy privacy laws. The Supreme Court ruled in 2001 that the police cannot scan the outside of anyone’s house with a thermal camera unless they have a warrant, and specifically noted that the same applies to the use of radar-based systems.
In 2013, the court limited police's ability to have a drug dog sniff the outside of homes, since it violates the core of the Fourth Amendment, which clearly states that the right of the people to be secure in their houses shall not be violated without a government-obtained warrant.
Federal officials claim this technology is crucial for the safety of their officers in case they need to break into buildings or rescue hostages. They further said that the officers were instructed not to advertise these devices in order to keep the technology away from terrorists.
However, the statements haven’t been able to calm people down who are adamant that these institutions have no right to watch or spy on someone when they are inside their homes.
Recommended: Here’s Why The FBI Absolutely Hates iPhone 6