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Welcome To The
Goldfish Bowl Everybody

People have been aware in recent years of police, armed with sophisticated new listening devices, drug and alcohol testing equipment carried in their squad cars, and laboratories with DNA testing capabilities, closing in on crime.

What we have seen, so far, is only the beginning. We are quickly moving into a new era of
snooping that is going to make Dick Tracy's wrist radio technology look like it came right out of the 19th Century.

The technology is advancing so quickly few of us have had time to question how these new gadgets will affect such basic civil rights issues as a person's right to privacy.

For example, we have all heard the controversy over a new police operated gadget that can detect heat coming through walls and ceilings of buildings, giving police an indication that marijuana might be growing under artificial light. But if you think that little sensor is troublesome, you ain't seen nothing yet.

Engineers are developing new tools the size of flashlights that will use a novel form of radar to see through walls and doors and detect the presence of living beings. Police see these devices as a great way to determine how many people are present inside a building before they conduct a raid, and just where everyone is located.

In spite of challenges by civil rights advocates, Gene Greneker, a research scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, who is developing the so-called Radar Flashlight, says he expects to have the device on the market in about a year.

Using a new and controversial type of radar wave known as ultra-wide band, or UWB. 
Greneker's flashlight device uses a 16-degree radar beam and a customized signal processor to identify human presence through walls up to eight inches thick.

This device, and a similar ultra-wideband radar being developed by
Time Domain in Huntsville, Ala., that sees through reinforced concrete and wood, is only being issued to police on a limited and experimental basis because the signals may interfere with transmissions of the Global Positioning System (GPS). The GPS is a device that allows ships and aircraft read signals bounced off satellites to determine their location.

As if these little gadgets aren't bad enough, engineers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colo., are developing yet another radar-like device that they claim will use electromagnetic waves to peer through clothing and detect concealed weapons from up to 50 feet away.

Government officials, who are helping finance the development of these contraptions, say they hope to have a working prototype by the end of the year. Police foresee mounting them on their vehicles as they drive through unruly crowds. They can be used to spot people carrying guns, knives and possibly even plastic explosives.

Of course, the new devices are being challenged in the courts by the American Civil Liberties Union. "This is yet another example of the way in which technology gives law enforcement super human powers," said ACLU associate director
Barry Steinhardt. "That requires us to reexamine under what standards law enforcement can search us. We think uses of this kind should be based on a warrant and probable cause that someone committed a crime."

Steinhardt said the new hand-held radars are just one in a host of technologies already being used by law enforcement. These range from thermal imaging to video cameras and low dose X-rays.

"It all amounts to a high-tech strip search," he said.

While all of this is going on with your neighborhood police, take a moment to look up in the sky. There the Federal Bureau of Investigation and European Union have developed a global surveillance system capable of scanning the millions of messages passing through the communications satellites and tap into dissident comments and subversive thoughts.

," this high-speed computer system intercepts telex, e-mail, fax and international telephone communications. It sifts through and extracts messages with certain key words or phrases. When they appear, the message is tagged and someone in a high government office takes a close look at just who made this statement.

The warning from this piece of information: be careful what you say over the telephone, in a fax or in your e-mail. Even if you say it jokingly, a threat could get you in very big trouble. Big brother is definitely listening.

And if all this isn't bad enough, a Turkish inventor has just marketed a lie-detecting telephone that sells for $159. "This is a phone that enables you to tell if someone is telling the truth or not on the other end of the line," said Tulay Ispirli, who sells the device in his shop in Ismir. He says the phone as an electronic device that notes changes in frequency that the human ear cannot discern.

If you read this column regularly, you know that a former military experiment called remote viewing 
has been refined to a point where it now is considered 100 percent accurate. In other words, a person skilled in this technique can now find out anything by simply asking the question.

The moral to all of this is that it is time for truth and honesty. People need to unlock their closets, let out all of the skeletons, and clean up their lives. There are no longer any secrets.

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