Claimed Weapon Detector Raises Privacy, Legal and Safety Concerns

USA – -( “Personally, I’ll believe it when I see it,” a product review at the consumer electronics website concludes. EU Editor Ben Lovejoy was talking about SWORD, a smartphone case that “claims to detect weapons and explosives from 40 feet.”

Executive Editor Roger Cheng of CNET explains:

The company has created a case that goes around either an iPhone 8 Plus or Pixel 2 XL and uses the phone’s audio sound waves as a sort of sonar to detect whether someone is carrying a gun, knife or explosive device. The case includes an array of 18 antennas that can create an image profile based on the radio frequency waves… The app can detect whether the person is carrying something dangerous by tapping into its database of weapons and explosive devices.

“SWORD also offers a facial recognition system utilizing the phone’s camera,” he adds. “Once in the system, a SWORD user can pull out the phone and scan the room for any unwanted individuals.”

Per USA Today, the company insists “Since it is using radio waves, there is no radiation like you would have with an X-ray machine” and claims its case is “FCC approved.”

That’s pretty creepy in a “Total Recall” kind of way. (Royal Holdings/ YouTube)

Perhaps, perhaps not. But other dangers come to mind. The whole point of carrying concealed is to preserve privacy as part of an overall defensive posture. Anti-gunners could use the device to harass and even SWAT a gun owner. Criminals could use it to identify who they would need to take out by surprise first. Police could use it to bypass Fourth Amendment search and seizure proscriptions. The company claims Homeland Security is intrigued.

There’s another danger, discouraging people from being armed:

As the United States continues to deal with mass shootings at schools, Oberholzer hopes the device will help people become more proactive when it comes to security. Current proposals to arm teachers or give students clear backpacks are “reactive solutions; the guy is already inside of the school building and already has a weapon,” Oberholzer said.

Actually, if he’s already inside with a weapon, finding out about it without being able to defend against and stop a predator with mass murder on his mind will also be reactive.  And not in a good way if all you can do is throw your phone at him.

I read about this product in various media reviews and from the Royal Holdings website (I actually learned about it from a reader tip for an article on A thought I can’t shake is “Is this for real or are we all being punked?”  I agree with the writer who said he’ll believe it when he sees it.

Reports I’ve seen say we can expect a demo this month. If Royal Holdings delivers, it’ll open up a whole new area of privacy and other potential liabilities that need to be identified, explored and addressed.

The company operates under the slogan “Uniting the good.” Millions of gun owners are good.  Will this unite or divide?

What do you think?

About David Codrea:David Codrea
David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating / defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament.
In addition to being a field editor/columnist at GUNS Magazine and associate editor for Oath Keepers, he blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.

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