Contradiction in prevention of cell-phone controlled bombs?

Contradiction in prevention of cell-phone controlled bombs?

Summary: By now, on the heels of the bombings in London, you've probably picked up on the debate regarding the use of cell phones in tunnels.   Immediately after the bombings, cellular phone service was discontinued in the four major tunnels leading into New York City's burrough of Manhattan.

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TOPICS: Mobility
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By now, on the heels of the bombings in London, you've probably picked up on the debate regarding the use of cell phones in tunnels.   Immediately after the bombings, cellular phone service was discontinued in the four major tunnels leading into New York City's burrough of Manhattan.  Although New York City officials did not comment on the move at the time, the move appeared to be driven by the possibility of remote detonation by cellular telephone (cellular service resumed in two of those  tunnels today).  It just struck me as sort of odd that, at the same time we're trying to eliminate the possibility of remote detonations in certain highly vulnerable situations (tunnels), we appear to be improving that possibility in others (passenger jets).   

Topic: Mobility

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13 comments
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  • Cellphones Make Terrorism LESS likely

    The ability to dial the transit authorities or 911 in the event that suspicious activity is sighted is far more likely to prevent a terrorist attack than the ability of a terrorist to make a call is likely to set off a bomb. Timers or suicide bombers do a much better job than a cell-phone anyway.
    x I'm tc
    • Communication is key

      I definitely agree with your assertion. Although it is a form of "double-edged" sword, I think quick inside communication from possible witnesses or victims can be invaluable. Law enforcement just needs to learn how to effectively use the technology.

      For instance, there should be the capability to determine whether a cell phone is a subscription or a throw away in order to more quickly differentiate potential noise from good intelligence.
      pdcooke
  • The Iraqi's

    use Radio Shack wireless doorbells to detonate bombs . . .
    Roger Ramjet
    • Better ban doorbells then

      In our current Chicken Little society where we're constantly giving
      up our freedoms to a more and more authoritarian government,
      the only logical solution is to ban the use of anything that could be
      possibly used by terrorists. I heard that terrorists often tie their
      shoes with shoelaces, so those have to go too.
      tic swayback
  • A knee-jerk reaction ...

    Disabling cell-phone service in NYC tunnels and subways is clearly a knee-jerk reaction by those who think they outght to do something but have no idea WHAT that something is -- as if remote detonation of an explosive device is a deterent for a suicide bomber.

    In fact, as public telephones become more difficult to find, the ability to reach a 911 operator in an emergency is dependent upon access to cellular service.

    I would suggest that in the event of an emergency, the inconveninece to victims and emergency workers would far outstrip any inconvenience posed to would-be bombers who must instead find an alternative to detonation by cell phone.
    M Wagner
    • Security Theater

      We live in an age of security theater, where it's more important to
      give the impression that you're doing something than it is to
      actually do something that makes us more secure. For example,
      requiring people to show ID to get on airplanes, or banning
      cigarette lighters.
      tic swayback
    • More info

      "Disabling cell-phone service in NYC tunnels and subways is clearly
      a knee-jerk reaction ...
      ... the ability to reach a 911 operator in an emergency is dependent
      upon access to cellular service. "

      Please tell me they don't disable emergency calls as well, surely
      they just shut down the non-emergency call routing. Anyone know
      for sure?
      Richard Flude
  • cell bums

    Gee I can't wait till they enable cell phones on planes, then not only will I have to listen to 20 very loud, stupid phone calls, I can wonder whether or not someone managed to get a bomb through in some luggage, and are going to set it off by phone.
    I think that mass transportation should be phone free for the sanity of the riders, and their safety as well.
    pesky_z
    • Huh?

      While I agree that I don't want to hear cel phone nattering on a
      plane, I fail to see how it would be any more dangerous than what
      we have now.

      You can carry your cel phone on to a plane now. Do you really
      think that a terrorist would not use a cel phone on a plane to set
      off a bomb, just because he's currently not allowed to use his
      phone during a flight?
      tic swayback
      • bad reception

        makes in flight calls less likely to go through, although I guess if he had a good enough phone, 5 bars and all.....
        I think they should be jamming the frequency.
        pesky_z
        • they want to put repeaters in aircraft (nc)

          nc
          pesky_z
        • So they have to wait 5 minutes for a signal?

          Still not a big difference.
          tic swayback
          • when destroying society, what's 5 minutes?

            nc
            pesky_z