A new practice is raising concerns about the extent of government surveillance. Approximately 50 U.S. law enforcement agencies have secretly installed radar devices in their offices. The radar device is equipped to see through walls of houses to determine whether or not someone is inside. Radar systems were deployed by agencies such as the U.S. Marshals Service and FBI more than two years ago. When the radar systems were deployed there was little notice given to the courts and had no public disclosure. The U.S. Supreme Court states that officers cannot use this device without a search warrant.
Obtaining information regarding the occupancy of a home without a search warrant is illegal. The radar device not only peers through walls, but it also detects motion. From a distance of more than 50 feet, the device can detect movement by using radio waves. The technology is so advanced that it can even detect when someone is breathing on the other side of the wall. Federal officials are in favor of this new technology. Rescuing hostages can be done more efficiently by using the radar. Although this device is favored by police several people have concerns regarding their privacy.
In an interview with USA Today The American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) principal technologist, Christopher Soghoian said “Technologies that allow the police to look inside of a home are among the intrusive tools that police have.” Police officials have utilized the motion sensors to detect the motion of a man who was violating his parole in Wichita, but the officer failed to mention using the device in his report. In an appeal with officials in a federal court, it was determined by a judge that “The government’s warrantless use of such a powerful tool to search inside homes poses grave Fourth Amendment questions.”
This is not the first time The Marshals Service has received criticism for utilizing other surveillance tools. Last year an email was obtained by the ACLU from a Sarasota Fla., police sergeant requesting officers from a different department, not to tell they have received information from Stingray, which is a cell phone monitoring tool. The sergeant suggested that officers say they received the information from “a confidential source”. The former supervisor of the Marshals Service’s domestic investigations arm, stated “If you disclose a technology or a method or a source, you’re telling the bad guys along with everyone else.”
The Marshals Service have spent approximately $180,000 on the technology according to federal contract records. The Marshals Service and other agencies are using a device called Range-R, which is manufactured by L-3 Communications. According to L-3 Communications, there have been an estimated 200 devices sold for $6,000 each to 50 law enforcement agencies. There are far more advanced police radars that are capable of obtaining three-dimensional displays of the inside of the building other than Range-R. The Justice Department has obtained funding to help conduct research in efforts to develop technology that will help see the interiors of buildings and provide measurements of how close a suspect is. Many people believe this is the beginning to new world order.