The New York Police Department has new vans that are equipped with X-ray vision that can see the contents contained in vehicles and homes.
The police department is not saying much about the vans, but it is believed that they are being used in efforts to prevent terrorism by checking for weapons or explosives. Authorities might also be using the vans to locate drugs.
The vans are being called Z Backscatter Vans, and they have been reported to be patrolling the streets of New York City.
Understandably, New Yorkers are concerned about their privacy.
The New York Civil Liberties Union has been putting pressure on NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton to reveal more information about the X-ray vans.
However, Bratton has remained tight-lipped.
Bratton said, “Those issues I'd prefer not to divulge to the public at this time. I will not talk about anything at all about this, if falls into the range of security and counter-terrorism activity that we engage in."
Meanwhile, the New York City Civil Liberties Union is demanding that more information about the subject be revealed to the public on the grounds that the X-ray vans could be harmful to human health.
Executive director of the New York City Civil Liberties Union Donna Lieberman said, “People should be informed if military grade X-ray vans are damaging their health with radiation or peering inside their homes or cars. New Yorkers have a right to protect their wealth, welfare and privacy.”
In response, Bratton insisted that the vans aren’t an invasion of privacy.
Bratton replied, "They're not used to scan people for weapons. The devices we have, the vehicles if you will, are all used lawfully and if they, ACLU and others don't think that's the case, we'll see them in court, where they'll lose."
Still, it’s extremely troubling that more information has not been provided about the project.