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The Sun: State X-Ray Spies, secret cameras in street lamps

The influential tabloid newspaper The Sun, had an interesting report yesterday, with the front page headline


We have been commenting on the implications these sort of "see through your Children's clothes" imaging systems for some time- see our archive Passive Millimetre Wave Radar or other "see under your clothes" imaging

See also, specifically, Lampposts in the 21st Century

The Sun has an article on Page 9, illustrated with "naked" pseudo images of adult volunteers from the US manufacturers of one model of this sort of equipment, which are about 4 years old (according to the EXIF meta data copyright info in the online images) . Today's and future versions of this equipment could provide even more detailed images, at longer range.

You are undie surveillance

Political Editor
January 29, 2007

OFFICIALS are bracing themselves for a storm of public outrage over their controversial X-ray cameras scheme.

As part of the most shocking extension of Big Brother powers ever planned here, lenses in lampposts would snap “naked” pictures of passers-by to trap terror suspects.

The proposal is contained in leaked documents drawn up by the Home Office and presented to PM Tony Blair’s working group on Security, Crime and Justice.

Home Office documents presented to a Prime Ministerial working group, which have been leaked to The Sun ?

Is this a genuine "whistleblowing" attempt, or is this a "let's test the water of media and public reaction" to these ideas ?

But the prospect of the State snooping on individuals’ most private parts is certain to spark national fury.

We certainly hope that the public will vent its fury electorally.

And officials are battling to find a way of dealing with that reaction.

A January 17 memo seen by The Sun discusses the cameras, which can see through clothes.

It says “detection of weapons and explosives will become easier” and says cameras could be deployed in street furniture.

It adds: “Some technologies used in airports have already been used as part of police operations looking for drugs and weapons in nightclubs. These and others could be developed for a much more widespread use in public spaces.

There is no justification for deployment of even "normal" CCTV surveillance cameras , hidden in "street furniture" like Lamp Posts or Phone Booths etc.

Doing so in secret, loses any chance of there being a deterrent effect.

There is no excuse for such "mass surveillance", which is a waste of resources, compared with specifically targeted surveillance, limited to a particular criminal or intelligence investigation.

“Street furniture could routinely house detection systems that would indicate the likely presence of a gun, for example.”

Unless this is part of a real time monitoring system, linked to armed police or military personnel nearby, then what is the point of indicating "the likely presence of a gun" ?

If there are armed Police or soldiers nearby, how many innocent people are going to be shot on the authorisation of an imperfect "see through your clothes" image ?

But the document goes on to reveal fears at the public reaction.

Officials have agreed one solution would be to allow only women to monitor female subjects — although they admit this would be “very problematic” in crowds.

That is not acceptable. How do you isolate male and female images when pointing these systems at a crowd of people, rather than in an orderly airport security check situation which is the clear implication of mounting such equipment in "street furniture".

How is this acceptable for viewing naked images of Children ?

The memo says: “The social acceptability of routine intrusive detection measures and the operational response required in the event of an alarm are likely to be limiting factors.

“Privacy is an issue because the machines see through clothing.”

Beside cameras, officials are also considering systems known as millimetre wave imaging and THz imaging and spectroscopy.

All are routinely used in airports and other secure places to detect explosives and weapons in luggage and on people.

None of these are yet routinely used at airports, some experimental trials have taken place at some airports.

Air passengers are now chosen at random for full X-ray examinations — and must agree to it.

Under what legal power in the UK can you be compelled to submit to a forced X-Ray (external) search, rather than a manual "pat down" search ? None that we are aware of.

Technology could also be used to halt theft, with fingerprint scanners fitted to many items.

How exactly can "fingerprint scanners" prevent "theft" ?

Elsewhere, tagged offenders could be sent electronic pulses to remind them not to re-offend.

"electronic pulses" ? Is that meant to be electric shocks or is it the dubious idea of an audible warning or automated SMS mobile phone calls, when the electronic tag is approaching an inaccurately defined "forbidden zone" or boundary ?

Cops would also get the power to build a database of everyone in the land. Three-dimensional CCTV pictures would be coupled with records of people’s mobile phones and even their travel cards to get details of their movements and habits.

Facial recognition systems to help track individuals’ movements are also being considered.


Who exactly is proposing these evil ideas to the Government ? How much money do they stand to make from promoting such unproven, and unnecessary technological "magic fixes" to social problems ?

Are the NuLabour Politicians so desperate to cling on to power,that they will throw our public money at such schemes, and further compromise our freedoms and liberties, simply in order to Be Seen To Be Doing Something ?

There is also a Sun Editorial comment:

X-ray spies

THE prospect of X-ray cameras at every street corner is truly terrifying.

If that’s not Big Brother, we don’t know what is.

Ministers are right to do everything to protect us from terrorists.

But we draw the line at such an invasion of privacy — and privates.

Does this mean that the powerful Rupert Murdoch media empire is starting to take the idea of the NuLabour Surveillance State seriously ?

There is an obvious tie in with the "story about the "winner" of the television voyeurism show "Big Brother".

Strangely, for newspaper obsessed with campaigns against child molesters, The Sun does not seem to have twigged that all these "see through your clothes" surveillance technologies are also in fact "see through your Children's clothes" systems as well.

If they were ever deployed in the UK in public places, they would fall foul of the draconian Child Pornography laws..There is no "national security" exemption from the Sexual Offences Act 2003 section 45 Indecent photographs of persons aged 16 or 17 , which raised the age limit for the definition of a Child, with respect to child porn images or pseudo-images, from 16 to 18 years of age.

Secretly taking such images of people without their explicit, informed consent, such as happens in the "voluntary" trials of this expensive equipment at some airports or railway stations, is also likely to fall foul of the Data Protection Act and of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act and the Human Rights Act, unless, of course, the Home Office forces through Primary Legislation regarding these surveillance technologies.

Other blogs which comment on this story in The Sun:


Remember, if you've nothing to hide, you've nothing to fear. I for one have nothing to hide. Oh, hang on a moment...

great tool!
in 2 year we´ll see da queen nude on utube.

This is one of those amusing clashes between technological development and polite society. The headline is quite missleading though. I don't believe this system uses X-rays. If it did you'd be seeing bones, not skin. I think this is passive millimetre wave imaging.

I'm sure that almost everybody would object to being scanned in this way if they realised that was what was going on. At the moment ignorance is bliss, but it may not stay that way.

Expect to see millimetre wave videos of celebrities at airports appearing on YouTube.

@ Bob - the images used by The Sun to illustrate their article about the leaked memo are using the USA made Rapidscan 1000 model of "low power" Backscatter X-Ray system, used in one person at a time, airport scanning trials.

Given the power laws of physics, there would be huge health risks in using X-Rays machines mounted 5 or 10 metres up a lamp post to scan a crowd !

That may, however, be potentially feasible for passive millimetre wave or terhertz imaging systems.

Remember that there is a plan to flood our streets with 65 GHz i.e. millimetre wave radiation, from lamp post to lamp post, as the back bone of the The National Roads Telecommunications Services Project (NRTS)


The high speed wireless network backbone, with equipment designed to fit on or in lamp posts, road signs etc is being provided by Last Mile Communications, which holds the relevant patents.

Their strategic technology partner is... Qinetiq, which was privatised from the UK Defence Research Agency.


who also happen to have lots of experience with Passive Millimetre Wave radar and imaging.

Just as with infra-red "see in the dark" CCTV cameras, the range of such passive millimetre wave "see through your children's clothes" imaging systems would be increased by active floodlighting, which may well be a side effect of the NRTS project.

If this really does use X-rays I'd be very worried about it, not due to any social embarassment but purely on health grounds. X-rays are reasonably safe for medical use because people are typically only exposed to them (at levels significantly above background) a few times in their lives. Exposing people to X-rays on a more regular basis would be extremely risky, and likely to induce cancer.

Oh, if it's in the Sun newspaper, then it must be true... Bear in mind that most readers of 'The Sun' have an IQ somewhat equal to their shoe size. The thought of 'X-Ray imaging' by the government, merely to see people naked is 'outrageous', yet on page 3 of the Sun, each day...
Need I say more?...
Fucking Morons.

ove-rationalizing the government as if they show morals and ethics in the technology is less reality than the stories in the Sun magazine. if it can be done and your reading about it now, it means they do it or have done it on a regular basis for some time.

how can people walk through life having blind faith in government and act as if they would never misuse or abuse any one with weaponry or spy devices? that is totally unrealistic, and most of the people with that attitude work in public relations in charge of making complaints about abuse from government, so i imagine it must be very hard to make a complaint any where and get any real help with it.

Maybe people can line their clothes with material like this:

then their equipment would be useless. maybe clothing manufacturers will pick them up to be used as liners in all clothes.

now all the fat people will be harrassed and not allowed near public areas, so the vain conceited workers can't embarrass them. People will be stalked and never know it's because someone didn't like to have to look at their fat buts while they were illegally viewing them, or now legally viewing them.

I presume they intend to irradiate us whilst looking for "dirty bombs". ROFL

Anti-Terrorist CCTV equipment on the market? Terrorism is a major thorn in the side for todays society, but can CCTV help tackle this? Of course!, how many times have you seen images of the London Bombers on TV. We just need to be more proactive with the images recorded and ensure the privacy and dignity of the innocent is protected!

@ Securicorp CCTV - in what way were the two sets of terrorist attacks in London in July 2005 in any way prevented or hindered by CCTV ?

The fact that CCTV installations are not regulated or even registered meant a vast amount of scarce police resources were wasted in hunting down nearly 20,000 hours of footage most of which was irrelevant to the post July 7th attack investigation.

What has happened to images of the thousands of innocent people who are on those tapes and hard disks ?

Neither the July 7th nor July 21st bombers were identified via CCTV, but rather through the documents that they deliberately took with them on their suicide missions.

There is no way that "see through your children's clothes" imaging systems would have helped in either set of attacks, where the bombs were in rucksacks.

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