Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Harrington-Wisely v. State of California (Cal. Ct. App. - Nov. 20, 2007)

I always thought that those "X-Ray Specs" you saw advertised on the back of comic books were fake. But as technology marches forward, apparently not so much anymore.

Admittedly, you probably can't wear a Secure 1000 on your head. But listen to what this machine can do. And, according to Justice Perluss, what it did do to anyone who wanted to visit inmates at various California prisons between 1999 and 2001:

"The Secure 1000 discharged low-level backscatter X-rays that penetrated a few centimeters into a person’s skin, producing a spectral-like computer image of the body, including an outline of breasts, genitalia and folds of skin. If an image showed a gray or darkened area that could not be conclusively identified, visitors were required to undergo an unclothed visual inspection. Darkened areas were found to include feminine hygiene products, breast implants, brassiere underwire and diapers."

I mean, sure, if I enter a prison, and am carrying a package, you can x-ray my package. But x-raying -- and looking at the shape and size -- of my package?! Crikey!

Though, on the upside, I guess this is a potential solution to the age-old -- and seemingly impossible -- problem of preserving critical historical legacies. Though, to be honest, I'd rather have Cythia Albritton perform this task than the State of California.

But barely.