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Privacy Technology

New Radar Sees Through Walls 397

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the watching-me-watching-you dept.
artemis67 writes "A small Israeli company has developed a radar system that uses ultra-wideband technology to produce three-dimensional pictures of the space behind a wall from a distance of up to 20 meters. The pictures, which reportedly resemble those produced by ultrasound, are relatively high-resolution and are produced in real time. Wow, it sounds like the potential benefits of this device are huge, saving lives of soldiers, firemen, or police; the potential for privacy invasion, however, is similarly large."
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New Radar Sees Through Walls

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  • Our gratitude (Score:5, Interesting)

    by andyrut (300890) on Friday July 02, 2004 @12:46PM (#9593164) Homepage Journal
    On behalf of the Peeping Tom Society I say thanks, RadarVision!

    If it's not already Slashdotted, you can download the sample video [radarvision.com] off of the RadarVision website. The display doesn't give you Superman see-everything-in-detail-through-walls kind of powers (Lois Lane: "what kind of underwear am I wearing?"), but it's still pretty cool that this kind of thing can be done without using heat signatures and whatnot.
  • Very cool (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) <akaimbatman@@@gmail...com> on Friday July 02, 2004 @12:49PM (#9593208) Homepage Journal
    I could see this being especially useful for counter-sniper sweeps. If you can see through buildings, you can do a helicopter sweep of the area and verify that no snipers are waiting to kill a VIP on the move.
  • saw it (Score:4, Interesting)

    by reluctantengineer (557965) on Friday July 02, 2004 @12:50PM (#9593219)
    I saw a demo of this at FPED [fped5.org] '03, I was marginally impressed. The resolution is no where near what they lead you to believe.
  • Re:Very cool (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DrEldarion (114072) on Friday July 02, 2004 @12:54PM (#9593275)
    Of course, on the flipside, if you manage to integrate it into a scope, it could be a very useful tool for snipers as well.
  • Interesting (Score:3, Interesting)

    by arieswind (789699) * on Friday July 02, 2004 @12:55PM (#9593289) Homepage
    New technology is quite amazing..

    I can see it being used when the military is doing raids on houses, bunkers, etc. They can see how many people are in the room and where they are, so they can come in gunning and not take so many casualties.

    Another use might be that when they are searching houses for weapons and stuff, they can see into the rooms before hand.

    But, like other technology of this nature, it opens limitless possiblities for abuse, so the government will have to keep a cloe eye on how it is used
  • Re:Very cool (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) <akaimbatman@@@gmail...com> on Friday July 02, 2004 @12:56PM (#9593306) Homepage Journal
    All from 20 feet away? All you need is a building with a point 20 feet from the nearest walls, and the technology is rendered useless.

    The handheld unit does 20 feet away. A heli powered unit might be more powerful. Besides, the advantage to a helicopter is that you CAN get within 20 feet to check. It slows down the sweep, but at least you can make sure that your President or foreign national is safe.
  • I wonder... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Patris_Magnus (771993) on Friday July 02, 2004 @12:57PM (#9593316)
    What the radiation exposure to people on the other side of the wall would be. Operators of this type of equipment rarely understand the implications of its use. Just ask your xray tech what your equivalent whole body dose will be next time you get a chest xray.
  • by a7244270 (592043) on Friday July 02, 2004 @12:57PM (#9593323) Homepage Journal

    Its been a while since I've done any RF, but theres some things in that article that are a little bit, odd, to say the least.

    Camero developed a certain kind of ultra radio wave that can be emitted to generate a high-definition image and also invented the technology that allows the enhanced wave to pass through virtually any wall.

    How exactly does one develop a "certain kind of ultra wadio wave", and how does one "allow it to pass through any wall". Perhaps they have a valid technology, but the person who translated this to layman's terms should be shot for creating a document that makes it sound like the company is selling smoke and mirrors.

    Actually, the part of the article that I found most interesting was

    ...an Israeli security source told WND that Israel recently developed proprietary technology that can discreetly put an electronic field around a building or area that gives users the ability to monitor and control every electronic emission within that field, from electronic can openers to fax machines, computers and cell phones.

    Seeing inside a room is one thing, but realistically, the potential for invasion of privacy is much larger with the wiretap field.

  • Re:Very cool (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) <akaimbatman@@@gmail...com> on Friday July 02, 2004 @12:59PM (#9593347) Homepage Journal
    That's a bit more doubtful. One of the sniper's biggest advantages is his extreme distance (sometimes as far as miles away). Even a high powered military scope would have difficulty in finding the target at that range. However, that doesn't mean that you couldn't use it to target someone in the building next door. You'll have to be satisfied with increased risk, however.
  • Re:Our gratitude (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Short Circuit (52384) <mikemol@gmail.com> on Friday July 02, 2004 @01:07PM (#9593444) Homepage Journal
    Actually, I think a low-resolution system is a worse invasion of privacy than a high-resolution.

    A low-resolution system is liable to lead to much more subjective interperetation in court. So you see the shape of the blob change slightly while he's at his computer. Is he drinking coffee or is he getting off looking at child porn?
  • Earthquake survivers (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 02, 2004 @01:11PM (#9593498)
    This could help locate people burried after an Earthquake, forget your conspiracy theroies. This is a good thing.
  • Re:WorldNetDaily?!?! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by blincoln (592401) on Friday July 02, 2004 @01:18PM (#9593564) Homepage Journal
    No kidding. I love some of the headlines on their main page:

    Filth, fraud, fascism: Exposing 'The Party of Treason' - How Democrats corrupt morals, steal elections, aid enemies

    Moore's film gets rave - from Communists -Stalinist Reds love 'Fahrenheit 9/11,' Maoists love it, too

    Divine intervention sought in presidential race - Get FREE copy of 'We Will Pray for Election Day' blockbuster

    The role of Iraq, Israel, USA in Bible prophecy - Limited time, get Michael Evans' stunning bestseller 'Beyond Iraq' FREE!

    Somehow I think I'll wait for independent confirmation of this "breakthrough." Especially since I routinely see articles proclaiming that Israeli scientists have invented everything from cold fusion to FTL drives and yet they somehow always fail to materialize in commercial form.
  • by pdmoderator (63509) on Friday July 02, 2004 @01:35PM (#9593756)
    Shortly after 9/11, we were looking at it for firefighter communications within buildings. Radar applications for locating victims were mentioned. I also learned that the spooks had had the technology for at least fifteen years before that.

    As often happens, it's just now making its slow way onto the civilian market.

  • by Junior Samples (550792) on Friday July 02, 2004 @01:37PM (#9593790)

    This article certainly lacks any technical details, but it sounds like the device may use a form of Terahertz imaging. This is the region of electromagnetic spectrum between microwave and infrared (0.1 GHz to >2 THz).

    There has been a lot of recent activity involving Terahertz Imaging for medical and surveillance applications. TeraHertz Imaging [google.com]

  • by MalikChen (736716) on Friday July 02, 2004 @01:47PM (#9593912)
    Sure, the polics can use this technology to see through your walls and see if you are doing something illegal, but it probably won't be admissable in an American court.

    There was a case in which police used infrared scanners to see how hot/bright it was inside a house that they suspected having marijuana plants growing inside. When it came to trial, the attorney argued that because the police had no warrant to search the house, it was an illegal search. IIRC, the judge ruled that it was a violation of search and seizure laws. It's a good precedent, and because it sends out waves to spy (as opposed to passive scanning like the infrared did), it's even more invasive.

    So, just get a good lawyer [aclu.org], and you should be set. That is, in theory.
  • by ericlp (749865) on Friday July 02, 2004 @01:47PM (#9593914)
    Be waiting for even more detailed results of the health risk. You have an emitter, what are the risks to humans inside?

    What would a counter measure be? A secondary wall with right angle shaping?

    Finally:

    "Israeli firms are well known for developing revolutionary technology, particularly in the defense fields."

    Yup. A big part of that is proped up by U.S. tax dollar military aid and leaked tech from U.S. Firms. How nice.

    --- quote from U.S. Military And Economic Aid Report

    In recent years, Israel remains the top recipient of U.S. military and economic assistance. The most commonly cited figure is $3 billion a year, with about $1.8 billion a year in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) grants from the Department of Defense and an additional $1.2 billion a year in Economic Support Funds (ESF) from the Department of State. In the last decade FMF grants to Israel have totaled $18.2 billion. In fact, 17% of all U.S. foreign aid is earmarked for Israel.

    Israel is one of the United State's largest arms importers. In the last decade, the United States has sold Israel $7.2 billion in weaponry and military equipment, $762 million through Direct Commercial Sales (DCS), more than $6.5 billion through the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program.

    source:

    U.S. Military And Economic Aid Report [worldpolicy.org]

    Of course we really don't "sell" much to Israel. It is mostly U.S. tax payers that pick up the tab. I don't have a problem with Israel defending themselves. I just don't see why I should pay for it.
  • Another project (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bigberk (547360) <bigberk@users.pc9.org> on Friday July 02, 2004 @01:57PM (#9594012)
    There's a group in my graduating electrical engineering class that did their undergrad design project on something similar, Design, Construction, and Testing of a Microwave Radar System for Through-Wall Surveillance [umanitoba.ca]. It uses 1 - 3 GHz microwave frequencies and some pretty straightforward electronics to provide signals to a computer, which does the image resolution. I was able to see a first-hand demonstration of it, and it's impressive for an undergrad project! Just in case you thought this "New radar" in the article is revolutionary or something.
  • by nyekulturniy (413420) on Friday July 02, 2004 @02:02PM (#9594055)
    Oh, Yassin was a politician. A murderous one, like Stalin, but a politician nonetheless.
  • Re:Behind walls eh? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ka9dgx (72702) * on Friday July 02, 2004 @02:19PM (#9594226) Homepage Journal
    My parent's house has tin foil backing on the insulation. It also has an layer of foam insulation with foil backing on both sides, on the exterior, under the siding. This thing would NEVER see through the faraday cage this inadvertantly creates.

    Also, most older buildings have steel mesh with plaster on them as a wall surface. It's frustrated quite a few hospital WiFi projects.

  • Re:rejected (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 02, 2004 @02:29PM (#9594332)

    In an interview on March 31, 1977, Zahir Muhsein, member of the PLO's executive committee, said:

    The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct "Palestinian people" to oppose Zionism.

    Now let me find a stopwatch with millisecond resolution, so I can time how long it takes for this post to be moderated (-1, Doubleplusungood)

  • Re:Our gratitude (Score:3, Interesting)

    by EvanED (569694) <evaned.gmail@com> on Friday July 02, 2004 @02:59PM (#9594597)
    The real problem is that our law schools produce people who can, as Socrates was accused of doing, make the weaker argument appear to be the stronger, and convince juries to convict people who not only aren't guilty beyond any reasonable doubt, but who are later proven beyond any doubt whatsoever to be not guilty when new evidence or new techniques of analyzing evidence are used. Just having one person on death row exonerated by DNA evidence shows that the system is horribly broken.

    Oh, bull. You seem to be arguing that having any false positives are unacceptable. What if all the evidence that *was* available pointed very strongly to the accused, but by some enormous coincidence was wrong? You can't have a 'proven guilty beyond no doubt' standard, or no one would ever be convicted...
  • Re:Our gratitude (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Armando_Mcgillicutty (773718) on Friday July 02, 2004 @04:29PM (#9595432)
    What if you have glass doors? The cop can see the drugs, but they're behind closed doors. Are you protected? Infared cameras can see through things like wood doors, and you're the source of infared energy and sending it outside. Sonic would (should?) be different, in that case, they're sending a signal *into* your home, in the form of a sound wave, I think they should have a warrant to do that for sure.
  • Re:Our gratitude (Score:2, Interesting)

    by skeller (145333) on Friday July 02, 2004 @05:05PM (#9595718)
    Of course, the sort of "strict constructionists" who believe that the government should never, ever, even think of overstepping the authority granted to it in the Constitution are, ironically, the exact same people who think it's a "technicality" when an alleged criminal is set free because the Constitution includes specific provisions to protect the People from abuse by the government.
    Actually, I think you're more likely to find that strict constructivists hate the fact that the majority of said technicalities exist only due to activist intreprations of the Constitution. Consider the Miranda ruling or the various rulings creating the Exclusionary Rule (which says that evidence obtained without probable cause or a warrant is inadmissable in court). These are pretty broad interpretations of the Bill of Rights, and are even more broadly applied to the states when you consider that the restrictions in the Bill of Rights seem to apply primarily to the federal government.

    The people who would prefer that the Exclusionary Rule, which is one of those "technicalities" that "get tough on crime!" people tend to bemoan, be left up to individual states are off their rockers, but their claims are not without constitutional merit. At least not from a literal interpretation of the Constitution.

  • by Trogre (513942) on Friday July 02, 2004 @07:35PM (#9596694) Homepage
    ... I want one of these so I can trace thepaths of cables and pipes inside my friggin walls!

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