Police departments around the country use x-ray technology, and without a CCOPS ordinance, Milwaukee won't know if or how such technology is deployed in our community.

Z Backscatter Vans use x-ray radiation to see what no human eye can, such as underneath clothing and car exteriors. An investigative report
has shown that these machines may expose people “to ionizing radiation, which can mutate DNA and increase the risk of cancer.”

Government purchasers of these vans have not disclosed exactly how they are using them. If they are being used on public streets in non-emergencies and without a warrant, that would be a major constitutional violation and a possible threat to public health. Unless they have probable cause to search a specific vehicle, government agencies should not be roaming U.S. streets conducting backscatter X-ray scans of vehicles and their occupants or bystanders, like pedestrians and cyclists, without their knowledge or consent.

Through-the-wall sensors (TTWS) use radar or similar technology to peer through walls of a building. Currently, the technology is precise enough to ascertain how many people are in a particular room within a dwelling unit and, over time, the clarity of the image produced may be able to determine the identities of a building’s occupants.

The Xaver 400, the latest version of the TTWS model sold by Camero-Tech, sells for $47,500 per unit. Operational costs are additional and significant.

While this technology may have beneficial uses, no uses are appropriate without a warrant. As the technology advances, this tool may increasingly be deployed as an improper tool for looking into private homes without court oversight.

X-ray technology is only one reason why we need a Community Control Over Police Surveillance (CCOPS) ordinance. CCOPS would require oversight and community input in invasive surveillance technologies, allowing the Wisconsinites being surveilled to make informed decisions about their privacy.

Milwaukee deserves to know how the police is surveilling us. Milwaukee needs CCOPS.