HomeFeaturesDailyBriefingsRapidReconSpecial ReportsAbout Us

The Most Dangerous Thought This Week

In a Thursday testimony before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly revealed that his department is seeking technology that can disrupt cell phone and other wireless communications in the event of a crisis.

The justification?

"A deceptively-simple tool, the cell phone, was also put to deadly effect by the Mumbai attackers," Kelly reminded.

True, but what the Mumbai attacks also revealed was just how ineffective the response from authorities can be and the importance of people being able to communicate ad hoc to overcome those shortcomings in order to save their lives. While it may be unfair to compare the skills and abilities of the NYPD versus the police and counterterrorism forces in Mumbai, the fact remains that the police cannot be exactly where you need them every time you need them.

Giving the authorities the ability to disrupt or deny a ubiquitous communications medium like cell phone signals is tantamount to telling people that they cannot defend themselves, their loved ones and their property. Competent attackers will have plans, and back-up plans and back-ups to their back-ups; most citizens have done no planning and need to make their decisions on the fly. Without timely information the people are left ignorant and vulnerable.



Disrupting cell phone systems is a bad idea.

1) Major medical devices in first responder vehicles use the cell network for telemetry.

2) Many fire suppression and burglar systems use the cell network for telemetry and control.

3) Many home medical devices use the cell network for telemetry and warning.

4) Large segments of law enforcement senior leadership and tactical teams require cell phone communication for command and control for recall.

5) The interdiction or wide spread disruption of the cell network could have wide and varied secondary and tertiary effects.

6) Under FCC rules it is currently absolutely illegal to do even by law enforcement (um because of all those other spectrum users).

Finally without going broad spectrum high power it is really hard to do unless you have a deep penetration into the cell network already. Nobody I know is going to admit that even if it is pretty much true with the extensions to CALEA.

The technology is called HAARP.


Leave a comment