Where you gonna run?

The Z Backscatter VanThe Z Backscatter Van is mobile X-ray.

BoingBoing caught the announcement of the Z Backscatter Van that can “slowly drive around and generate real-time x-ray images of cars, revealing weapons, explosives, drugs, and stowaways.”


Judges and lawyers in this nation will be grappling with search rules for years and years.

American Science & Engineering asserts on their website that the vehicle reveals:

  • Car and truck bombs
  • Explosives, plastic weapons, and other organic threats
  • Radioactive threats, including nuclear devices and dirty bombs
  • Illegal drugs
  • Stowaways, such as illegal immigrants and terrorists
  • Trade fraud items, such as alcohol, tobacco, and other legal goods smuggled to evade duties
  • and adds that in ‘Stationary Scan Mode’, operators may elect to scan the occupants of the subject vehicle.

I wonder how surveillance, sovereignty and sensibility will shape our world.

The phrase “may elect to scan” will bother our legal framework for at least a generation.

The Beatnik Robot Fights Back

There’s new hope to restrain the tyrant, the autocrat and the zealot.

What can minority radicals do if copies of subversive literature are returned to lists of contraband? Where is a hiding place for Mao’s little red book or a diary of vulgar terms or vault of patent drawings that may topple an industry?

There’s one possibly temporary but countervailing solution to the error of broad surveillance equipment.

The Beatnik Robot has been re-discovered. The device was developed by prescient beatniks of the 1960s. The robot “ferrets out the undesirables, including censors, book-burners….”

The LA Times has opened several photo archives [link] which included this anti-jingo, anti-supression robot.

Wiretap the Internet Day

Today, Monday May 14, is the day that all US network operators are required by US law to install back-doors to make it easier for cops to snoop on their traffic. This has been the law for voice switches for over a decade, where it represents a potential holiday for dirty cops who don’t have warrants use these back-doors (and criminals and corporate espionageists who want to eavesdrop on sensitive calls). Now it’s part of our data infrastructure as well. Nice one, America.

“May 14th is the official deadline for cable modem companies, DSL providers, broadband over powerline, satellite internet companies and some universities to finish wiring up their networks with FBI-friendly surveillance gear, to comply with the FCC’s expanded interpretation of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act.”

To restart the public’s investigation of the principles protecting free individuals and their social stature, island.org points out that “The Hippies Were Right All Along” published in San Francisco’s Chronicle.

It was, always and forever, about connectedness.

It was about how we are all in this together.

It was about resisting the status quo and fighting tyrannical corporate/political power and it was about opening your consciousness and seeing new possibilities of how we can all live with something resembling actual respect for the planet, for alternative cultures, for each other.