Mobile Backscatter Scanners Roaming the Streets
That however has changed, thanks to a company called American Science & Engineering, which developed the ZBV system (Z Backscatter Vans), in fact a scanner on wheels. Aimed at detecting explosives, drugs and currency, the vans equipped with scanning devices have already taken to the road, being used by an undisclosed number of government agencies.
How many such vans are out there? Not clear, but here's what Joe Reiss, vice president of marketing for American Science & Engineering told Andy Greenberg in an interview for Forbes:
“This product is now the largest selling cargo and vehicle inspection system ever.”
Of course, a strong reaction of the use of such a system is likely. Unlike in an airport for instance, where one is being scanned after giving his/her consent, a mobile scanner leaves room for a lot of abuse. The main focus of the groups criticizing the system is the right to privacy which is violated by the use of such systems.
“Without a warrant, the government doesn’t have a right to peer beneath your clothes without probable cause,” Marc Rotenberg, executive director of Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) told Forbes.