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Katz is out of the Bag:
Katz’s Weaknesses & the Rapidly Emerging Technology of Today and the Future. 

Robert Keates                                                                                     Spring, 2005

 

E.            Passive Alcohol Sensors
            One of the latest tools in the fight against drunk driving is known as the ‘Sniffer’.   Developed by PAS Systems, the Sniffer is a handheld, battery powered flashlight with a built in alcohol sensor.   As the officer approaches the suspect’s vehicle, and shines the light, the Sniffer tests the exhaled breath of the driver, analyzing it for alcohol.   If present, the Sniffer alerts the officer through a series of color coded lights, informing the officer of the approximate blood alcohol level.   The Sniffer comes in several different models, including a detector unit concealed on the edge of a police clipboard.
            This device could be used to combat the drunken driving problems that plague this country.  As for the current use of the Sniffer in the states, the exact usage data is unclear.

F.         Mass Spectrometry and Gas Chromatography
While gas chromatography and mass spectrometry have been used for many years to analyze the chemical and molecular composition of various substances, recent trends of this technology have been employed by law enforcement.   The EGIS Explosives Detection System (EGIS), developed in the mid-1990’s, was able to detect minute traces of explosives in the air by sampling a large volume of air around a person or luggage.   The EGIS was then redeveloped and dubbed the ‘Sentor’, capable of detecting the chemical signatures of drugs instead of explosives.   Priced at around $150,000, the Sentor is a flashlight shaped sensitive filtering machine, which breaks gas or liquids down into its molecular subcomponents.
The Sentor is currently used by the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and United States Customs.   It has been tested in numerous cities, including San Diego, California.


Kim Han, The Technological Sniffing Out of Constitutional Rights: Assessing the Constitutionally of the Passive Alcohol Sensor III, 9 J.L. & Pol'y 835 (2001); see also https://www.pasintl.com/analyzers.htm, (the Sniffer sells for roughly $600).

Jennifer Hartunian, To Breathe, or Not to Breathe: Passive Alcohol Sensors and the Fourth Amendment, 39 San Diego L. Rev. 563, 564 (2002).

Id.

Hartunian, supra note 199, at 564.

PAS Systems International Alcohol Sensor Systems, at https://www.pasintl.com/200.html.

Arbus, supra note 175, at 1751.

Iraola, supra note 160, at 12; see also https://www.airport-technology.com/contractors/security/thermo/thermo2.ht

Arbus, supra note 175, at 1751.

Peter Joseph Bober, The "Chemical Signature" of the Fourth Amendment: Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry and the War on Drugs, 8 Seton Hall Const. L.J. 75, 119 (1997) (price as of 1997).

Id.

Iraola, supra note 160, at 12.

Bober, supra note 206, at 76-77.

 


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