Here Comes The Mobile Phone Backlash Over Possible Terrorism Connections

from the uh-oh dept

It was only a matter of time before we started hearing stories about how, just because mobile phones might be used by terrorists, they should be blocked. Thankfully, Russell Buckley rips apart the guy's argument, which doesn't seem to go beyond "mobile phones might be used by terrorists and that's bad." There's no description of exactly what it is about mobile phones that make them likely terrorist tools, and even the "expert" in question notes that if you blocked these bad mobile phone uses, terrorists would still attack. So, then, why exactly should we be blocking mobile phone signals if it doesn't actually do anything to make people safer?

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Tim, Jul 18th, 2005 @ 6:06am

    No Subject Given

    Why bother with hypotheticals, anyway? Oxygen *will* be used by terrorists, we must ban it! ;)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Pete Austin, Jul 18th, 2005 @ 9:24am

    That link again

    From Baghdad to Madrid, bombs triggered by mobile phones have become as ubiquitous in the terrorist's arsenal as cell phones in the pockets of businessmen.

    "It's not rocket science," says John Pike of, a Washington think tank. "Cell-phone detonators are pretty straightforward tradecraft."
    Cell phones jury-rigged to detonate bombs

    The role that such devices played in the Madrid bombings, which left almost 200 people dead in the Spanish capital, is well documented: 10 bombs were attached to mobile handsets, with the phones' alarms used to detonate the explosives.
    London attacks: Were mobiles used [not this time]

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Pete Austin, Jul 18th, 2005 @ 9:55am

    ...and then I read the story

    Re: When Richard Reid aka The Shoe Bomber tried unsuccessfully to smuggle explosives onto a plane in his shoe, no one called for shoes to be banned. TFA

    No, that would be stupid, but they *are* searching shoes:
    Make it Easy to be Screened. In order to keep the security screening processes as short as possible ... wear shoes that can be taken off and put back on relatively easily
    Ten Tips for Travel Under the New Security Rules

    Re: "When Timothy McVeigh planted a truck bomb in Oklahoma City, no one called for the banning of trucks." TFA

    No, that would be even more stupid, but they *are* keeping trucks further from buildings.
    After the Oklahoma City bombing and the Sept. 11 attacks, worried building owners threw up rows of concrete highway barriers and mammoth planters around many office buildings... Decorative bollards, crash-proof benches and modern-day moats are blending into the American cityscape almost unnoticed. Moats

    Re: But on the basis that a mobile phone could set off a bomb, we should ban the alarm functions on mobile phones? TFA

    There's NO mention of banning alarm functions in the article the author references. Original story from CBS

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    Mike (profile), Jul 18th, 2005 @ 9:59am

    Re: ...and then I read the story

    There's NO mention of banning alarm functions in the article the author references.

    No, but it is heavily implied from the text of the article, suggesting that turning off cell service in the tunnels was "a baby step" towards protecting us from terrorist attack.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    armed_squirrell, Jul 18th, 2005 @ 4:03pm

    ban mobile phones

    for the same reason gun bans are always shown to be the answer to gun related crime... Not.

    I actually was having a mobile phone related musing today, before seeing this thread, wondering if a really hardened working cellular network in Bagdhad would allow quicker reporting of insurgent movements by the locals, before they got to strike, and whether the fact they could do so anonymously would make more people interested in saying something, where having to go to a police station there is a bit of a personal risk at the moment.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Harry Barracuda, Jul 19th, 2005 @ 6:04am


    Thailand is making it mandatory that anyone with a pre-paid SIM must register their details. Apparently it's very easy to use a mobile to detonate a bomb.

    Whether it's productive or not is another issue; the UAE have required registration for years to stop abusive phone calls.

    Obviously blocking isn't the answer....

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Hide this ad »
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Chat
Hide this ad »
Recent Stories
Advertisement - Amazon Prime Music
Hide this ad »


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.