Mon, Jan 12th 2009 8:20pm
Police officials in New York City are investigating how to jam terrorists' cell phones during attacks, following the Mumbai attacks a few months ago when terrorists coordinated their activities via phone. While disrupting criminals' and terrorists' communications could be a useful tool in security forces' arsenal, it's also worth mentioning that technologies like phone jammers can't really work selectively; that is, they can't pick out particular devices, they simply jam everything in a particular area. While this would crudely accomplish the goal of jamming terrorists' phone calls, it would also preclude any other calls, including those of civilians and authorities. Fortunately, this concept isn't lost on NYC police, who say that not blocking calls, and being able to monitor them instead, could be more useful. But even then, it's not clear how authorities could pinpoint terrorists' phones to monitor their conversations without trolling through all the calls being made in an area. At this point, blocking all cell calls during a terrorist attack or large-scale emergency seems like overkill that could be more harmful than helpful.
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