The NYPD Is Using Mobile X-Ray Vans to Spy on Unknown Targets

The NYPD Is Using Mobile X-Ray Vans to Spy on Unknown Targets, by Conor Friedersdorf, from 2015.

New York City won’t reveal how often cops bombard places, vehicles, or people with radiation—or if there are health risks for residents.

In New York City, the police now maintain an unknown number of military-grade vans outfitted with X-ray radiation, enabling cops to look through the walls of buildings or the sides of trucks. The technology was used in Afghanistan before being loosed on U.S. streets. Each X-ray van costs an estimated $729,000 to $825,000.

The NYPD will not reveal when, where, or how often they are used. …

A state court has already ruled that the NYPD has to turn over policies, procedures, and training manuals that shape uses of X-rays; reports on past deployments; information on the costs of the X-ray devices and the number of vans purchased; and information on the health and safety effects of the technology. But New York City is fighting on appeal to suppress that information and more, as if it is some kind of spy agency rather than a municipal police department operating on domestic soil, ostensibly at the pleasure of city residents.

Here is a promotional video from 2010 that outlines what it can do:

hat-tip Mark Ellis