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FCC Lets Radar Company See Through Walls

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the x-ray-specs dept.

Technology 179

DesertNomad writes "Attorney Mitchell Lazarus over at CommLawBlog gives a good overview of a new radar technology and the challenges of getting regulatory approval, which seemingly can be just as difficult as developing the technology itself."

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179 comments

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Probably not first (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30309318)

How do people who write "first" know if other people have posted while they were writing?

Re:Probably not first (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30309334)

They don't. They just take a chance.

Oh, and second post. I think.

Re:Probably not first (1)

Pulse_Instance (698417) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310396)

They had access to the demo of the radar that lets people see through walls and use that to see if anyone was posting before them.

"Go 'way, 'batin!" (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30309342)

*knock knock*
"Go 'way, 'batin!"
"Sir, we are well aware of your current status, we can see through your walls. However, that's not why we're here--we would like to discuss the illegal transmitter you are running on your roof right now."

Re:"Go 'way, 'batin!" (1, Funny)

moondawg14 (1058442) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309982)

"Go 'way, 'batin!" "Sir, Imma let you finish, but this radar is the best device of all time, of all time."

What are the chances (3, Interesting)

jnmontario (865369) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309344)

Any guesses that clients of this company include the NSA, FBI....

Re:What are the chances (0, Troll)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309610)

And what's the problem with that ? Obviously emergency and defense sectors have uses for this technology. Firemen and police were the reason this was developed in the first place.

Re:What are the chances (0, Troll)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309734)

And what's the problem with that ? Obviously emergency and defense sectors have uses for this technology. Firemen and police were the reason this was developed in the first place.

Exactly. Just like Bit Torrent has legitimate uses and should not be discounted entirely, the fact that this sees through walls is of great use to emergency responders. Sure they can be used for pirating porn or clandestine operations, respectively, but it would be silly to condemn the technology itself for that reason.

Re:What are the chances (0, Flamebait)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309816)

And just like bittorrent, it will be mostly used for the illegitimate purposes.

Re:What are the chances (1)

mitchelllazarus (1692206) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310174)

This is radar, people, not TV. It does not provide an image -- just a dot to show something is moving. And the range is short. Personally I share your concerns about technology invading privacy. But in the real world, this particular device is not a threat. Mitchell Lazarus

Re:What are the chances (1)

Grizzley9 (1407005) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310756)

Hopefully it will be one of the hardware stud finders companies. None of those work very well (on anything but simple unfilled walls) and I would love to have a device that gives a true "picture" of what is in the wall.

do not want (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30309354)

Here comes my tax dollars, with a new technology to help arrest me.

Re:do not want (4, Insightful)

MrFurious5150 (1189479) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309796)

Oh, I'm sure it'll never be abused...like wiretapping, or tasers. *cough*

Re:do not want (1)

Dekker3D (989692) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310270)

would mod this up if i had mod points. he's right: tasers and wiretapping seemed relatively harmless at first too until they started using it on everyone. "everyone" only being applied to a fairly small subset of our community, of course. point is, i don't trust it.

Re:do not want (1)

violasvegas (1662837) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310336)

Wait, tazers seemed harmless?

Re:do not want (1)

citab (1677284) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310706)

Seriously... tazers were somewhat billed as 'safe' or 'harmless' when they were new... but then the abuse starts.

I'm sure this is how it was with 'batin too at first... now look what happened.

Re:do not want (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310266)

Just don't do anything in the "privacy" of your own home that could be construed as indecent exposure, and you'll be fine.

Stop scaremongering (2, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309362)

There are already many civilian radar devices that are used frequently by law enforcement and fire fighters. This is a better version of it, and the article itself is nothing less than enthusiastic about the range of uses for it.

What I see happening more and more is that people are fearing technology because of what "bad people" will do with it instead of embracing new technology and the possibilities it brings.

A technology site filled with Luddites. Irony at its finest.

Re:Stop scaremongering (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30309400)

A technology site filled with Luddites. Irony at its finest.

Sorry, that is neither ironic and more of a direct comparison rather than an analogy, BadAnalogyGuy. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Re:Stop scaremongering (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30309408)

Any time they list the Department of Homeland Security as a client...

Re:Stop scaremongering (4, Insightful)

brxndxn (461473) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309430)

I think a lot of people are just afraid that the 'law' is becoming too proactive. Our society (at least in the US) likes the idea of treating a house as a 'black box' where only the external features are noticed. If there is a problem inside the box, people come out and interact. Now, law enforcement can peer into that private box whenever they want..

Even though the technology has a lot of non-scary uses (rescue), it is easy to imagine it being used by every cop to peer right into the very center of our private lives while we are in our homes. So ya.. it is scary.

Re:Stop scaremongering (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309482)

maybe it is time for a nice thick coat of metallic radar reflecting paint on both the inside and outside my house, and something to fix my windows with, i dont do anything illegal but i also like to keep prying eyes out of my house.

Re:Stop scaremongering (0, Flamebait)

Unequivocal (155957) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309518)

Don't forget the tinfoil hat - electric company satellites are a threat too!

Re:Stop scaremongering (4, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309692)

Some might read that as "probable cause." Though this is not quite the same thing, there was one "sting" operation that was run by some people (and I believe it was mentioned here on slashdot before) who decided to rent a house and grow some evergreen trees inside it. Within a day or so, "anonymous tips" informed the police that there was marijuana being cultivated at that location. The reality was that the police was using some sort of heat sensing device and was patrolling neighborhoods with it to look for "grow houses." In short, they were on a fishing expedition.

Re:Stop scaremongering (1)

jo42 (227475) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309842)

Don't forget the grounded copper mesh in the walls to prevent Big Brother and The Man from snooping on the electronic emissions from inside your abode. And some sort of active or passive insulation in the walls to block infrared snooping.

Seriously, this sounds like good business to start up. First sell it to the rich fuckers as part of personal "security" and go from there...

Re:Stop scaremongering (1)

flyneye (84093) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309484)

Another step closer to a bloody second American revolution.

Re:Stop scaremongering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30309506)

You guys kept blabbing about your rights to have guns, now use them.

Re:Stop scaremongering (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309560)

The proles will never revolt.

Re:Stop scaremongering (1, Troll)

paiute (550198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309676)

The proles will never revolt.

No only that, the majority of those now possessing firearms will turn out to support and suppress the opposition to the New American Fascist Regime. Which will come to us in the guise of a superpatriotic telegenic populist defending us from the threat of the day.

Re:Stop scaremongering (1)

blueZ3 (744446) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310162)

Aside from the "superpatriotic" you've just described Obama to a T.

The only question left, as far as I can tell, is will our new overlords claim to be right/fascists, or left/totalitarians. Whatever they claim, in practice I see the "traditional" left and right here in the U.S. as two sides of the same coin: power-mad politicians desperate to tell you what to do, what to say, and what to think.

We've always been at war with Eastasia

Re:Stop scaremongering (1)

irondonkey (1137243) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309858)

But will it be televised?

My home is my castle. (1)

wurp (51446) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309598)

I said, "nt".

Well, I tried to say it. (1)

wurp (51446) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309646)

Hrm, I actually did say <nt/> in the title of the original message, but I used real angle brackets instead of xml encoded ones :-(

Re:Stop scaremongering (4, Funny)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309812)

law enforcement can peer into that private box whenever they want ... it is easy to imagine it being used by every cop to peer right into the very center of our private lives while we are in our homes ...

When they peer into the basement, chances are, they'll see a hand moving rapidly ...

What? I'm referring to basement spring-cleaning, in time for the festive season! After all, we geeks really enjoy doing housework, don't we?

Re:Stop scaremongering (2, Interesting)

cigawoot (1242378) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310034)

Any evidence collected using this device without a warrant would probably get thrown out due to a 4th amendment violation.

Re:Stop scaremongering (1)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310144)

Except if it was collected "in good faith"... like searching a car because you think you smelled marijuana. And of course, everything law enforcement does is in "good faith".

Re:Stop scaremongering (1)

cigawoot (1242378) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310210)

Thats called "probable cause," and its way more restricted then what you are saying. If the evidence gets challenged in court, the officer would have to explain to the court their evidence that made them believe something illegal occurred inside the house or whatever. Someone just can't say "oh, i think he's doing a drug deal in that house... GRAB THE RADAR"

Re:Stop scaremongering (1)

Dekker3D (989692) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310352)

Everything law enforcement does is in "good faith".

[pissedoffatgovnment] that's just because too many people have good faith in the police [/pissedoffatgovnment]

nothing to see here, move along. i just have some karma to burn.

Re:Stop scaremongering (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310360)

Can I get root access to your servers? I promise I won't turn over the contents to the cops!

Re:Stop scaremongering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30310702)

Any evidence collected using this device without a warrant would probably get thrown out due to a 4th amendment violation.

Not "probably" - almost certainly. See Kyllo v. United States (2001).

Re:Stop scaremongering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30310284)

The can (kinda) already do this.
you know the Odesa cops, that busted down a house for pot when it was a lawyer, Pine trees and some grow laps?
hope the court rules using this tech with out a warrant unreasonable as well.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHmP_KtmcB4

Re:Stop scaremongering (4, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309514)

the article itself is nothing less than enthusiastic about the range of uses for it.

Sad, isn't it? At least I think so. Like someone's sig said, Orwell was an optimist.

What I see happening more and more is that people are fearing technology because of what "bad people" will do with it

Unfortunately the very worst people run the world's governments. Tech that the powerful can have but I can't have IS bad tech [kuro5hin.org] . You don't think your government will let you build one of these to look through your governor's walls, do you? Hell, many governments won't even let the population have firearms. The fault isn't technology, it's technology that you posess and I can't.

I'd only embrace this technology if legal safeguards are in place, and considering that my government is a whooly-owned subsidiary of the corporations, I doubt that will happen. If you say "tech is tech" you're wrong. No irony, just your own misunderstanding of the bigger picture.

Re:Stop scaremongering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30309854)

Unfortunately the very worst people run the corporations that run the world's governments

There, fixed that for you.

Re:Stop scaremongering (1)

njen (859685) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309922)

Yeah! I hate the fact that I am not allowed the tech to build a nuclear reactor in my apartment! Damn those rich people and their rich, seclusive laws.

Re:Stop scaremongering (4, Interesting)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309516)

Let's not mention FLIR (forward looking infra-red) allows law enforcement to see through walls anyway with remarkable resolution.

They still need a warrant to use it, but let's just say there's a possibility that what goes on in your bathroom won't just be between you and god.

Re:Stop scaremongering (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309890)

"...what goes on in your bathroom won't just be between you and god."

Police: And from now on, stop playing with yourself.
Kent: It *is* God.

Re:Stop scaremongering (4, Insightful)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310022)

Let's not mention FLIR (forward looking infra-red) allows law enforcement to see through walls anyway with remarkable resolution.

They still need a warrant to use it

Here's the trick, isn't it? As far as I can tell, our justice system for criminal offenses is still relatively transparent. People still get cases dismissed because the cops did something wrong, such as not obtaining a warrant. If they're busting into your house with a warrant already, I see no sense in complaining about what technology they may or may not use to prepare. Especially with the potential benefits against being surprised by the visitor to your house, or the ability to detect weapons before they're encountered (preventing unintended injuries). Or even just the ability to make sure you're home before busting in your door thinking you're avoiding them.

Basically, complain about the search and seizure, complain about not obtaining warrants, but don't complain about the specific technology used unless there are concerns about safety (taser) or efficacy (too many false-positives).

Of course, the big reason why fire departments want this is because FLIR doesn't work on a burning building, this will let them identify breathing victims to minimize their risk and let them rescue as many as possible. The benefit for police is more marginal, though still significant. But if you're worried about cops having the capability to lok into your house, they already do (and SCOTUS have said it requires a warrant).

Re:Stop scaremongering (3, Insightful)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310444)

What will stop the cops from cruising down the street looking into peoples' houses, spotting illegal activity, telling a judge that they received an anonymous tip, obtaining a warrant, and then legally raiding your home. Answer: nothing. To further expound, we can absolutely expect this to happen if this sort of technology becomes common-place. The government is not in the business of protecting the citizens anymore -- it is in the business of keeping us scared of as many things as possible to preserve its own power.

Re:Stop scaremongering (1)

tibman (623933) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310318)

FLIR can't see through walls, only heat differences. I have used several heat based targetting systems, it can only show you temperature differences of what you see. There are some things you can see through.. like fog, camouflage, stuff like that. But step behind a tree and *poof* gone from view. Not sure why anyone would need a warrant to use FLIR? Is it illegal to own a system for personal use?

Re:Stop scaremongering (1)

sertsa (158454) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309656)

I wouldn't characterize us as Luddites. Rather, I would say understanding the technology we have a healthy respect and even enthusiasm for its potential but well-informed concern for its liabilities.

Re:Stop scaremongering (2, Insightful)

mbone (558574) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309906)

I have a simple answer to that : I live out in the exurbs where there is basically no real crime. And, yet, the police helicopters (at a cost of so many hundred dollars per hour) buzz by all of the time. I don't think they are looking for donuts. And you think it is luddism to worry about exactly how they are wasting the taxpayer money, and whether it is a threat to the ordinary citizen ? Exactly what century do you think you are living in ?

Re:Stop scaremongering (1)

violasvegas (1662837) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309920)

Being informed about new technology and being aware of the possible negative/intrusive/liberty restricting uses of that technology is not scaremongering, it's called being a good citizen. Let's not put our heads in the sand just because the device has some positives. It also has negatives. To loosely quote Ben Franklin, Those who are willing to give up freedom to gain security will gain neither. The job of a good citizen to to be informed and engage in useful debate, not to try to sound witty or hipper than thou by tossing around terms like luddite and scaremongering to try and intimidate people. Perhaps that's the irony here, the use of the term scaremongering to, well, scare and intimidate people. Nice job.

Re:Stop scaremongering (1)

cyn1c77 (928549) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310946)

A technology site filled with Luddites. Irony at its finest.

You've got it totally wrong.

We're not Luddites, but rather paranoids whose fears have been justified by questionable government actions in the last 8 years.

No one here is unhappy about the technology itself (in fact we are excited), we just know that the government will attempt to abuse our rights under their perverted interpretations of "freedom" and "national security."

how many watts of power (2, Interesting)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309364)

does this thing use lots of power? is it going to give me cancer or fry me like a chicken pot pie in the microwave?

Re:how many watts of power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30309424)

Watts do not necessarily imply cancer. You may be looking for ionizing vs. non-ionizing radiation.

Re:how many watts of power (1)

Mortaegus (1688452) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309450)

Radar isn't the kind of radiation that causes damage. It passes harmlessly through you.

Re:how many watts of power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30309498)

Yea? I remember a few lawsuits from radar operators because mobile radar station command posts were improperly shielded; thus cancer risk rose among that group. To lazy to find the news articles though.

Re:how many watts of power (2, Interesting)

JohnQPublic (158027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309756)

And that's why a request for a waiver isn't just a formality, dispensed with in a few minutes. The FCC needs to determine that there isn't a risk to the public or to other established users of the frequencies in the specific case requested by the requestor. Lots of waiver requests are for experimental uses (the Amateur Radio community does so from time to time), but those typically designate small groups of stations and locations. As this is a portable commercial product, I suspect it was a lot harder to decide on.

Re:how many watts of power (1)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310226)

During WWII, radar operators would sometimes stand in front of them to warm themselves. Obviously this was before the general population understood the risks associated with some forms and levels of radiation.

Re:how many watts of power (2, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310096)

No, radar bounces accusingly off of you, otherwise this system wouldn't work.

Re:how many watts of power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30310104)

No, that's not true. Radar is a variety of wavelengths. They're obviously not using the ones that pass through you, since the whole point is to SEE YOU. That can only be done if the radar scatters off you. IE, doesn't pass harmlessly through you.

Re:how many watts of power (2, Informative)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310170)

Radar isn't the kind of radiation that causes damage. It passes harmlessly through you.

I'm sure that's what a few Darwin-Award-winning Amana RadaRange owners thought, too, when they decided to defeat the door interlock to "watch the food cook". The poor blind SOB's. Radar energy can cause your cornea to heat and become cataract-like.

No, as a former civilian avionics tech that worked on radar, it can cause blindness/serious injury/death (depending on TX power and exposure time) if you're close to the business end of the antenna/dish of a radar transmitter.

Strat

Re:how many watts of power (1)

AndrewRUK (543993) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309928)

From the waiver, which was linked to in TFA:

"The EMMDAR steps through two hundred frequencies, spaced two megahertz apart from 3101 MHz to 3499 MHz, one at a time. It transmits on one frequency for 75 microseconds with a peak instantaneous power of 31.6 milliwatts, followed by a 17.5-microsecond "off time" between frequency steps. The complete cycle repeats every 18.5 milliseconds, resulting in a duty cycle for each frequency of 0.41%."

Notice, this things emits a maximum of 0.0316 watts, which is somewhat less that the several hundred watts used to cook your chicken pot pie.

Fuzzbuster (4, Interesting)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309388)

How long before someone markets a radar detector for the home or office?

Re:Fuzzbuster (1)

MooseTick (895855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310430)

or just walls that block or confuse it

Soon.. (4, Funny)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309404)

The server manager will upload a new hack that prevents wallhacking. In the mean time, keep voting the cheaters off the CS server.

Oh, wait, this is real life?

Gonna be expensive (4, Insightful)

vegiVamp (518171) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309414)

All that tinfoil for the walls...

Re:Gonna be expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30309478)

Quick estimate, eyeballing my bedroom.

18 feet * 12 feet * 4 walls = 864 square feet

I'm a frugal geek, so I'll shop online...

I can get some off-brand aluminum foil (None of that Reynolds Wrap... Everyone knows that the government influenced its metallurgy.) $20 for 500 square feet (two 250 sq. ft packages.).

$50? That's less than my yearly dues to the flat-earth society!

(quick aside: MY CAPTCHA IS ASKING ME TO SOLVE A MATH PROBLEM! THE MACHINE HAS BECOME SENTIENT! IM TOO LATE! HELP!)

Re:Gonna be expensive (1)

donaggie03 (769758) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310128)

Unless you have 18 or 12 foot high walls in your bedroom, then it looks like you just did the math to be able to cover your floor 4 times.

Re:Gonna be expensive (2, Insightful)

mpe (36238) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309572)

All that tinfoil for the walls...

Assuming it's not already built in :)

Re:Gonna be expensive (2, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309674)

Tinfoil may work, but radar-disrupting radio waves would work better. Dollars to donuts it'll be illegal.

Re:Gonna be expensive (1)

Xiterion (809456) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310404)

Since intentionally interfering with the proper operation of *any* radio station already is illegal, you'd be right.

Resolution (3, Informative)

worip (1463581) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309440)

3.5GHz translates to a ~8cm wavelength (maybe a bit less with the speed of light being slower in air). Resolving features that vary in amplitude of say less than 2cm (breathing and swaying) requires VERY accurate phase detection and time measurement equipment. Which translates to some very fast hardware doing phase correlation etc. From the article:

Instead, the L-3 CyTerra device sends pulses on 200 different frequencies, one at a time, ranging in sequence from 3101 to 3499 MHz at 2 MHz intervals.

and

The system is sensitive enough to detect the chest motions of a person who is unconscious but breathing, or the slight swaying of a person trying to stand perfectly still

Re:Resolution (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309494)

It's not *that* hard to do - with a perfectly ordinary 10GHz intruder detector radar you can easily hear the Doppler shift in returns from slowly-moving objects. With clever DSP and a lower frequency you could probably resolve rather finer detail than you can by listening for the beat note.

Must be deployed only with court orders. (4, Insightful)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309444)

The system described is an active device, not passive. An active device emits radiation and listens to echo. A passive device just listens to naturally occurring radiation emanating from a source. Police and private parties might use a passive device at their own discretion. But an active device, that actually illuminates the target would violate expectations of privacy and should not be deployed without court supervision. It should be treated like wiretapping, no need to inform the targets but the police should not be able to use the technology willy-nilly at their own discretion.

Also we could create devices that look for patterns of radiation and emit jamming or stealth or confusing radiation in response to thwart being seen through the walls. Something like the radar detectors. These devices should be legal. And since the idea has been posted publicly, (i.e. here in slashdot by yours truly) any patent to such devices should specific to that device, not a broad based patent like one-click. Unless patent application for such a device has already been filed.

Re:Must be deployed only with court orders. (2, Insightful)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309590)

This is exactly what Liberty will say.
The response will be "You would say that. You probably have explosives / children / real butter in your house.If you have nothing to hide, you've nothing to fear."

I think I might start buying up old microwave ovens and putting the mesh from the windows under my wallpaper.

Re:Must be deployed only with court orders. (2, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309662)

Police and private parties might use a passive device at their own discretion. But an active device, that actually illuminates the target would violate expectations of privacy and should not be deployed without court supervision.

What the fuck? Even the use of a passive device violates expectations of privacy. We don't live in glass houses, nobody expects to be visible through solid walls.

These devices should be legal. And since the idea has been posted publicly, (i.e. here in slashdot by yours truly) any patent to such devices should specific to that device, not a broad based patent like one-click. Unless patent application for such a device has already been filed.

Uh, no. Radar jamming is as old as radar. Ain't no way it should be patentable - and any patent for jamming specific kinds of radar systems is just as bogus because the overall idea isn't patentable, so narrowing it down a specific frequency or a specific pattern of transmission doesn't make the idea any more unique. A subset of the obvious isn't any less obvious.

Re:Must be deployed only with court orders. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30309896)

So if you yell loud enough in your house for my passive ears, or other passive device, to 'hear' that you are murdering someone, I'll have to ignore it, because I would be violating your privacy? Now your saying...But I wasn't talking about being heard, I was talking about being seen...Well use your imagination. By hearing you, I am passively picking up a 'wave' that you emitted and is now in the public space...If I passively detect the other 'waves' you are emitting...???

Re:Must be deployed only with court orders. (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309998)

The system described is an active device, not passive. An active device emits radiation and listens to echo. A passive device just listens to naturally occurring radiation emanating from a source. Police and private parties might use a passive device at their own discretion. But an active device, that actually illuminates the target would violate expectations of privacy and should not be deployed without court supervision. It should be treated like wiretapping, no need to inform the targets but the police should not be able to use the technology willy-nilly at their own discretion.

So, I give you a couple of black box cameras, each able to take pictures of the same resolution inside an (unprotected) house. The one that is passive, and works at 300 GHz, is OK for unrestricted police use, but the one that is active, and works at 3 GHz, requires a (secret) search warrant.

Well, this is reasoning, of a sort, but not any that I would personally want to be associated with.

Re:Must be deployed only with court orders. (5, Informative)

srollyson (1184197) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310036)

The Supreme Court ruled that thermal devices require a warrant in Kyllo v. United States [wikipedia.org] . I'm sure this radar system will follow precedent.

Re:Must be deployed only with court orders. (1)

baKanale (830108) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310630)

Police and private parties might use a passive device at their own discretion.

The case of Kyllo v. United States [wikipedia.org] "held that the use of a thermal imaging device from a public vantage point to monitor the radiation of heat from a person's home was a "search" within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment, and thus required a warrant." Presumably the ruling would hold true for other forms of electromagnetic radiation as well, such as radar.

Land of the Free? (0, Troll)

Voulnet (1630793) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309462)

More like Police State.

Americans will cling firmly to their freedom of speech (or is it freedom to say stupid things?) but will gladly give away their other (more important) freedoms, slowly but surely.

Get a grip, guys.

Can it detect plants (or herbs) ? (1)

yossarianuk (1402187) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309486)

Does this work entirely on movement? i.e could it detect for example a certain (ahem) plant / herb ? And how thick does the tinfoil need to be to block it ?

Re:Can it detect plants (or herbs) ? (2, Informative)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309568)

TFA mentions that the device sorts the radar returns from moving (even slightly moving) objects and dumps the rest. It's a motion detector. that is all. smoke on, good sir.

Re:Can it detect plants (or herbs) ? (2, Informative)

JohnQPublic (158027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309728)

TFA says "the circuitry combines the echoes at different frequencies", but I suspect "circuitry" is a layman's term and that this is truly done in software. Various DSP chips would be excellent platforms with which to do so. If so, then the starting point is a "RADAR camera", which gets turned into a motion detector through image processing. In which case those plants will be quite visible, along with anything else that has edges. The stolen Van Gogh on the wall, however, will be indistinguishable from Dogs Playing Poker.

It's time to buy stock ... (1)

Gravitron 5000 (1621683) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309492)

... in lead paint.

Re:It's time to buy stock ... (1)

beefnog (718146) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309510)

No, it's time to market sheet rock with embedded tight mesh chicken wire and grounding points at all of the seams.

Re:It's time to buy stock ... (1)

backbyter (896397) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309522)

Talk about planning... the government banned that in homes years ago...

Foil strips and a fan. (1)

backbyter (896397) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309508)

Order your party supplies now.

An easy to block 3 GHz radar (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309678)

This is a 3 GHz or 9 cm radar (3.101 to 3.499 GHz using frequency stepping), and would be very easy to block. It would not, for example, go through most screen doors.
That makes it less of a threat than the 100 GHz radars also used to "see through walls."

When will we be able to get drywall and ceiling tiles with imprinted or embedded dipoles to block this foolishness ?

Re:An easy to block 3 GHz radar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30310390)

When will we be able to get drywall and ceiling tiles with imprinted or embedded dipoles to block this foolishness ?

When you look harder for it.

You dont think it is sold at your local big box building supply store, do you?

Radar Company can see through walls (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30309790)

I think they need more than a company, they should train and equip a couple of battalions at least. Then send them to Iraq and Afganistan, they shpuld be able to find the Al Quaeda and Taliban terrorists easily.

A radar question for the informed (1)

professorguy (1108737) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309904)

My walls are between 6 to 8 inches of solid soft wood with no hollows. I live in a log cabin made from balsam. How well does a half foot of solid wood block this tech? The cabin also has small (1' x 3') and few windows because it is cold and dark here.

I also wonder how well my walls would stop an accidental rifle bullet from 100 meters (closer and you can see the house), as I hear hunters in the woods this time of year.

Re:A radar question for the informed (1)

iwaybandit (1632765) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310424)

While I haven't spotted a test for your type of walls, the box o' truth [theboxotruth.com] has a collection of tests on a variety of other wall type vs. firearms. You might be able to extrapolate you level of protection from their results.
I can't help on the effect of the log wall on radar, since my license class ends just over 100MHz.

4th Amendment in the USA anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30310124)

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

If you're a governmental or quasi-governmental entity, and you don't have a warrant to search within the walls of a citizen's house, don't. Any law written to allow this is patently ultra vires and unconstitutional.

However, I'm sure the Federal, State, County, and Municipal governments will be happy to try to create a law that enables the use of this technology and will do so until someone with standing challenges them in court, and begins the long, expensive process to get a judgement that's actually in line with the Constitution. (Seriously, why is this expensive or time consuming? The Constitution is written in very clear, easy to understand language. Why the hell is it so hard to force legislators to read, understand, and follow it?) In the mean time, those wanting to use the technology will justify it under the umbrella of "public safety" or other things that don't change the fact that this simply isn't allowed per the Constitution.

And other countries' governments outside the United States are probably lining up to buy this technology. *sighs*

Article is misleading on primary use (3, Informative)

amstrad (60839) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310338)

The article is misleading with regard to the primary use of this device. The device was developed for military use in urban combat situations.

EMMDAR: ElectroMagnetic Motion-Detection And Ranging [cyterra.com]

It was developed because infantry were holding up standard handheld mine detectors (AN/PSS-14 [cyterra.com] ) that use ground penetrating radar against walls trying to determine threat levels in neighbouring buildings or rooms. Troops would then interpret the audio tones to determine rooms contents.

This device simply makes that technology smaller and more accessible and includes DSP algorithms to display potential threats (i.e. movement) on a graphical display.

Other common uses for this device is search and rescue, both military and civilian. Of course the FBI and SWAT is going to want this technology. Any time law enforcement is going to assualt a building, this device is going to prove invaluable in saving lives.

Nobody is going to pratically use this device for random checking of homes.

Re:Article is misleading on primary use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30310842)

Nobody is going to pratically use this device for random checking of homes.

Nobody is going to use a government issued unique number per citizen for the purposes of social security for any other reasons other than social security, either.

They'll call it 'Patriot Radar' (1)

citab (1677284) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310450)

That way you're a traitor if you talk against it...

The article says it will filter out unmoving objects in a room ... however the justification for it is "immobile hostages or unconscious fire victims"

Well the first one is by definition "immobile" and the second... unless you are still in the burning , you're not going to be moving much either. Although, how does one unconsciously run around on fire waving their arms everywhere.

I think the tech is cool, but it's going to be misused by law enforcement.

They seem to have "feared" this long ago... (1)

hazydave (96747) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310820)

The basic idea of using high frequencies across a wide spectrum as well penetrating radar of a sort has been known for quite awhile, even if the "simple matter of an implementation" may have lagged behind. The FCC was really worried about this becoming possible over approved UWB (Ultra WideBand) frequencies... thus, they put really serious power level limitations on UWB radios approved so far. Not that strictly nefarious use of such technology necessarily follows FCC guidelines anyway. But if nothing else, it's an effective means of ensuring that the "see through your apartment walls" device doesn't show up in SkyMall anytime soon.

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