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Electronic Bloodhound Sniffs Out Cash

David Utter
Expert Author
Published: 2005-05-09

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Department of Homeland Security deploys a hand vacuum sized device that can detect large quantities of cash chemically.

Ah, the sweet smell of money. If you bet on Giacomo going off at 50-1 at the Kentucky Derby, you're enjoying that delicate fragrance today.

But if you took that payout in cash and tried to get it through certain airports, security may wish to have a chat with you about it. Even if no one there would have any reason to believe you're carrying that much money.

It's called a gas chromatograph, and it would sit quietly on a counter at the airport security checkpoint. If you pass it by and the device "smells" a certain concentration of currency ink and paper, you're in for a lengthy chat with security professionals.

While privacy advocates fume, the intended purpose of the device is to identify carriers of large quantities of cash who may be associated with drug or terrorist interests.

Currently, the device and another similar project has been field tested but not widely deployed.

Yet another device works in conjunction with a typical currency counter. The device records every serial number on each bill as it is counted.

With a centralized database and widespread adoption of the serial counters, a single bill could be tracked wherever it went.

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About the Author:
David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.

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