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.
"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.