Concealed Bomb Detection Criticism Examined

By: John Honovich, Published on Nov 02, 2009

Detecting concealed bombs with video surveillance or analytics is fairly infeasible as video can only detect what it can see. As such, various bomb detection devices are used. In November 2009, the New York Times published a sharp critique of a weapons detector, the ADE-651 [link no longer available], that many say is useless. Making this more interesting is the fact that Iraqi officials disagree, promote the use of the device and have spent perhaps $50 Million USD on over 1,5000 of these 'wands.'

According to the manufacturer, the device can detect [link no longer available] "Black Powder, Used Weapons, Fireworks, all types of Ammunition ... TNT, Nitroglycerine, Tetryl, Grenades, Mines, Amphetamine, Cocaine, Crack, Heroine, Marijuana, Cannabis, Morphine, Ivory, Human research [and] Bank notes."

By contrast, Sandia Labs has publicly debunked the effectiveness of this and any other device.

This scenario should be of interest to anyone who wants to understand the challenges and risks of using or advocating novel security technology.

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