Courtesy of Pete Guither at DrugWarRant comes this terrifying story.
From CNET News:
A new "meth gun," in development by Maryland-based CDEX, enables police to use ultraviolet light to detect trace amounts of chemicals left by methamphetamines and other illegal drugs.
Civil libertarians have been concerned for some time that drug war profiteers would begin marketing something like this. Of course, the obvious problem with this type of technology is that it will inevitably be wrong sometimes.
More likely, it will be right way too often. Drug molecules are ubiquitous. Take for example the rumor that 80% of U.S. currency contains cocaine residue. It’s actually true.
So if your lifestyle involves touching money periodically, the "meth gun" might catch you red-handed.
Here's a hilarious example of the uselessness of this technology:From BBC News last year:
A Welsh assembly member who called for his colleagues to volunteer to try out a new drug detection machine has tested "positive" for cannabis himself. Swabs taken from Conservative AM William Graham's hands at the Welsh assembly building revealed traces of the drug, probably from a door handle.
I think that pretty much says it all. It should be obvious to anyone who isn’t drunk on drug war hysteria that this technology can’t reasonably be used as a means of establishing probable cause to search people.
But alas, it would be foolish to expect that logic will prevail over insanity among those who build and operate creepy drug war machines that spot meth with ultraviolet lasers. Inevitably, police agencies will stock up on "meth guns," and it will be up to the courts to decide whether the device passes constitutional muster.
It might destroy the 4th Amendment forever, but there’s no question the "meth gun" would make a totally sweet membership gift.
Afterthought: remember the "meth rocket"?