Consumer groups say police should never be allowed to black out cellphone service
Originally published: May 1, 2012
Last updated: May 1, 2012 - 9:33pm
A coalition of public interest groups told the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that government agencies should never be allowed to shutdown cellphone service, even in emergencies.
The groups said the harm of blacking out cell service would outweigh any benefits. "Deliberately interrupting wireless service, in nearly all cases, will mean disrupting the communications of every person in the affected area. Unlike the disconnection of a wireline connection, which can target an individual telephone facility, wireless interruption will necessarily prohibit the communications of completely innocent parties — precisely those parties closest to the site where the emergency is located or anticipated," they wrote. The comments, which were signed by Public Knowledge, the Center for Democracy and Technology, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Benton Foundation and others, were filed as part of the FCC's review of whether and under what circumstances the government should be allowed to cutoff cell service.
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