New York wants to ban geiger counters
is reporting that New York City wants to require "licenses" for any detector for nuclear, biological, or chemical detectors. We know how "permitting" devices works in Chicago--they never banned handguns in the city, they simply stopped issuing permits for them.
Is this Mr. Dangerous?
What exactly is so bad for someone to possess a detector? The claim is that the Police Department wants to prevent mass panic. In reality, they want to control information. They want to prevent citizens from making their own judgement and force them to rely on "authorities". Why not make a law to make it a crime to create a false panic? There's probably one already on the books, so we don't even need any more laws to deal with it. How many false panics have we had? What? None?
This as more than an attempt to prevent false panic from misinformed geiger counter owners. I see it as the city declaring that individuals are not allowed to think or do on their own, that they must be informed only by the authorities, that the police always know what's best. That's a bunch of bull.
The bill is so broadly and poorly written as to make illegal chlorine pool testers, geiger counters, and even your own nose. What if I make a radiation detector out of a fluorescent light bulb or LED? Are you going to require permits for those too?
EDIT: Schneier compares it to locked fire alarm boxes that slowed the response to the Great Chicago Fire.