Feeds

New York mulls terrorist cell phone jamming

Not as simple as it sounds

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

New York Police officials are studying whether it's possible to disrupt cell phone communications among terrorists during an attack on the city following reports that gunmen in Mumbai used hand-held devices during a deadly rampage in November.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly discussed the possible tactic in Washington on Thursday during a hearing before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. He said plans are still in the "discussion stage," and that any final plan would have to balance a variety of complex issues.

"Law enforcement needs to find ways to disrupt cell phones and other communications" during attacks, he said, according to The New York Times. "Our communications and technology people are looking for ways to disrupt cell phone and hand-held devices in a pinpointed way."

Among the prickly concerns officials are grappling with is the need for emergency personnel and civilians to make emergency calls during such a crisis. Law enforcement might also benefit from monitoring the communications of terrorists during an attack.

The police department's study comes two months after Islamic militants armed with automatic rifles and grenades besieged Mumbai for three days, killing 165 people and wounding 304. They used hand-held devices to coordinate attacks, order the killing of specific hostages and adjust tactics while their attack were under way.

Electronic jamming of cell phones is certainly possible, but it can usually be carried out only by blocking communications for a wide geographic area. That means the blocking of cell phone calls during an attack would also prevent large numbers of law-abiding citizens from communicating during a moment of crisis.

It would also do little to prevent the use of satellite phones. ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum
Actually it's a nifty trick - at least you'll pay for what you get
Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'
Network throws hat into ring with Linux-powered handsets
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
PwC says US biz lagging in Internet of Things
Grass is greener in Asia, say the sensors
Ofcom sees RISE OF THE MACHINE-to-machine cell comms
Study spots 9% growth in IoT m2m mobile data connections
O2 vs Vodafone: Mobe firms grab for GCHQ, gov.uk security badge
No, the spooks love US best, say rival firms
Ancient pager tech SMS: It works, it's fab, but wow, get a load of that incoming SPAM
Networks' main issue: they don't know how it works, says expert
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.