At least 50 U.S. law enforcement agencies have secretly equipped their officers with radar devices that allow them to effectively peer through the walls of houses.”
Police Departments and law enforcement agencies around the world have been using radar devices for years. But now, new technology is allowing officers to detect movement even through solid walls. The most disturbing thing about this technology is that it requires no warrant for officers to spy on you in the privacy of your own home.
USA Today reports that “at least 50 U.S. law enforcement agencies have secretly equipped their officers with radar devices that allow them to effectively peer through the walls of houses to see whether anyone is inside.” This practice is starting to raise concerns about the extent of government surveillance among civil liberty activists, and even a growing number of the general population.
To date, USA Today has confirmed with the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service, that both agencies have used this technology without obtaining warrants. All of this is in spite of the fact that U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that law enforcement may not use technology that would allow observation inside of a home without a warrant.
The way the technology works is by using radio waves to detect movement, even as slight as human breathing from more than 50 feet away.
The device in question is called the RANGE-R handheld radar by L-3 Communications VPC. Their promotional video below shows how it works…
“The idea that the government can send signals through the wall of your house to figure out what’s inside is problematic,” Christopher Soghoian, the American Civil Liberties Union’s principal technologist explained. “Technologies that allow the police to look inside of a home are among the intrusive tools that police have.”
The general public and the courts essentially knew nothing about the use of this technology until last December, when a federal appeals court said Denver officers had used this device before they entered a home to make an arrest of a man who they had surreptitiously observed violating his parole.
The judge rightly warned that “the government’s warrant-less use of such a powerful tool to search inside homes poses grave Fourth Amendment questions.”
But Federal contract records indicate that the Marshals Service had already been using this technology illegally since 2012 and had spent over $180,000 on the devices.
The device the Marshals Service and others are using, known as the Range-R, looks like a sophisticated stud-finder. Its display shows whether it has detected movement on the other side of a wall and, if so, how far away it is — but it does not show a picture of what’s happening inside. The Range-R’s maker, L-3 Communications, estimates it has sold about 200 devices to 50 law enforcement agencies at a cost of about $6,000 each.
While we are just finding out about the use of this technology, there is even more advanced tech, with 3D capabilities, that departments are buying up as we speak. These advanced devices display where people are inside a building, and can even be mounted on a drone.
All of this is being used in spite of the 2001 Supreme Court decision that the Constitution prohibits police from scanning the exterior of a home with any sort of thermal imaging device, unless they have first obtained a warrant.
In 2013, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in a similar decision that, “the right of a man to retreat into his own home and there be free from unreasonable governmental intrusion.”
Watch the video below for more information and then pass it on!