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Lawsuit attempts to block NYPD scanners

The NYPD scanner program could face a lawsuit.

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

As the Brooklyn Eagle has reported, the New York City Police Department is currently testing the possibility of high-tech scanners that will allow the NYPD to detect whether or not an individual is in possession of a concealed weapon. 

There are no details of where the scanners will be placed or when they will be instituted, but some people are already looking to stop the progress in its tracks.

John Corbett, a self-described civil rights advocate, has filed federal compliant in the Southern District of New York, against the NYPD. Corbett’s complaint asserts that while “the image created by [the] scanner is clear enough to determine the presence and rough shape of objects, [it is] not clear enough to determine the presence of a weapon conclusively.”  

As such, Corbett claims that the scanners will do little if anything to combat the existence and/or prosecution of concealed weapons on New York City streets.

Given the wide range of the scanner, Corbett notes “even if the police did want to scan only individuals for which reasonable suspicion was present, [the] scanner would simultaneously search all innocent bystanders that were in the area. In a well-trafficked area, a single scanner could search thousands of individuals per day or millions of individuals per year.”

The NYPD Law Department is aware of Corbett’s lawsuit.  A spokesperson for the NYPD Law Department commented, “The NYPD is quite reasonably concerned with people illegally carrying concealed weapons in public. This complaint is nothing more than a set of allegations and should be viewed that way. We will review the claims when we are served with the legal papers.”

Corbett has also filed a complaint against the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). “I’m pleased to have filed the first lawsuit against the nude body scanners after the TSA deployed them as primary screening in 2010, and I’m pleased to announce that I filed suit against New York City for its testing and planned  deployment of terahertz imaging devices to be used on the general public from NYPD vans parked on the streets — a “virtual stop-and-frisk,” Corbett stated in his blog.

“It is unfortunate that it seems that government at all levels is always in need of a fresh reminder that the citizens for whom it exists demand privacy, and that each technological advance is not a new tool to violate our privacy. However, as often as proves to be necessary, we will give them that reminder,” he said.

January 29, 2013 - 2:20pm


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