Through the wall sensors for law enforcement: market survey

This is a new report – released on October 2012. It is related to devices available and marketed in United States although some foreign devices are mentioned even though they are not used by US law enforcement or military. Situation is probably different in other countries. Report right from the beginning splits thru-wall radars into two categories: FCC certified and non FCC certified. Military through wall imaging technology doesn’t have to be FCC certified.

The FCC governs TTWS use and generally requires devices to be certified prior to use by law enforcement and first responder agencies.

The FCC also distributes licenses for the use of frequency bands to individuals and to organizations, if required.  TTWS fall under the categories of intentional radiators and radiolocators; some TTWS are also governed by UWB requirements. Key regulations from Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) for TTWS include:

1. [Parts 15, 90] Intentional radiators are required to have FCC certification. FCC-certified devices will have an FCC Identification (FCCID) number associated with them and shall be labeled as such.

2. [Part 15] UWB TTWS Operation is limited to law enforcement, emergency rescue or firefighting organizations.

3. UWB TTWS Operators (or the organization by which the operator is employed by or volunteers for) must have a license in the Public Safety Radio Pool under Title 47 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 90.

All three restrictions can be waived by the FCC under an Experimental License, which must be obtained by the operating organization. Companies conducting research and development (R&D) of TTWS and performing third-party testing and evaluation often require an FCC Experimental License.

Very few restrictions and rules governing use of such technology, especially knowing that detection of such radar is almost impossible. So chances of being caught for using it for unlawful purposes is pretty much close to zero.

Report also mentions of one through wall sensing product that is consumer oriented – Rex Plus Electronic Watchdog (STI) (archive.org):  “device designed to be placed inside a residence and detect motion outside. The device demonstrates what can be achieved with basic components. It costs around less than $100 and is comparatively low tech. When placed on one side of a wall, the device uses radio waves to detect motion on the other side. The device puts out a continuous signal at 2.4 GHz and will alarm once reflected energy is received. The alarm frequency and volume increase as the target gets closer.” Here is a consumer reports (archive.org) article about it. From first glance device doesn’t appear threat to privacy, but in theory with a few strategically placed devices partial through wall monitoring, tracking and localization could be accomplished from apartment above or below. It wouldn’t be that practical for harassment, but who knows? I’m only looking at it since it was taken in this report seriously. Newer version of Rex Plus (II) is also available on the website.

We also learn about pricing of these devices:

Range-R L3 – $6,000 (with wireless monitoring $9000)
Xaver 100- $9,000
Xaver 400 – $47,500
InSight $10,000 -$15,000
TiaLinx product pricing was withheld at the request of the manufacturer
SuperVision 1600 – $100,000

ACU-CPR4 -$9,250

Range-R 2D – $15,000

So it’s not cheap and not affordable for just anyone. What about devices that are issued in the war theater? Are they tracked in any way. How many are missing?

We also learn that some products that are sold in the United States like ACU-CPR4 and CPR3 do not appear to be FCC-certified for domestic law enforcement use. So who buys them? Military?

Anyways you can download full report here: https://www.justnet.org/pdf/00-WallSensorReport-508.pdf (local copy)

Interesting idea on how to defeat through wall technology posted on this blog post (archive.org). But I wouldn’t bank on it – its most likely just someone who is thinking aloud about something that has not yet even been substantiated. Even if you implement something like that and it will appear for you as solution – it will serve only as some sort of next level torture aid.

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