NYPD to Jam Cellphones

We also discussed the complications of media coverage that could disclose law enforcement tactics in real time. This phenomenon is not new. In the past, police were able to defeat any advantage it might give hostage takers by cutting off power to the location they were in. However, the proliferation of handheld devices would appear to trump that solution. When lives are at stake, law enforcement needs to find ways to disrupt cell phones and other communications in a pinpointed way against terrorists who are using them.

What the hell? That’s their solution to stop another 9/11?

Stop terrorists from communicating and using tv and internet to find out where the police is and what they’re doing.
Yeah that would be bad.

Of course it can be missused, but not any more than giving certain agencies access to firearms, and we’re quite happy to do that.

My older office was across the street from a big police station and cellphone coverage did cut sharply right on the closest side of the building. And the remote never opened the car in the parking.
So no remotely operated car bombs from our northern big boys. Of course that doesn’t stop timed ones, or their beloved DIY unattended mortars.


What’s to stop a bunch of Badguys from using walkie-talkies from say, Germany or China? I don’t think they care about disrupting your TV broadcast by using illegal bands.

There’s a higher chance next attack they’ll just tweak a walkie talkie and transmit static on the police band.

No, this is there solution to dealing with another 9/11 as it occurs, not stop it.

An American Mumbai, not another 9/11. It’s a good idea. You have to figure any terror-inclined groups in the US looked at Mumbai and saw a new template for success, one they could emulate without special equipment or training.

Pretty sure they are talking about not just about calling the cell company, but actual white noise, EMP type solutions that will temporarly knock out all radio and transmission frequencies. But who knows.

Hehe - I love some of the responses here.

Police take an incremental step that might help mitigate terrorist attacks, including one like the very recent one in Mumbai.

Commenters: “But it won’t stop every kind of terrorist attack. It’s a waste!”

When you come up with your single, all-in-one, prevent-every-kind-of-terrorist-attack device that of course does not impede in any possible way against any possible civil liberties, step right up to the plate and post it here in QT3 for all to read. (Law enforcement agencies are regularly monitoring these forums, right?)

It makes as much sense as cutting land lines and power (which are also often done in hostage situations).

Ironically, during a real 9/11, mobile phones won’t work anyway because the grid will explode from overuse.

I liked the story a while back about how they’d developed some kind of low frequency tone generator that would allow them to vibrate cars from a distance to grab the attention of people talking on their phones in traffic.

So this is like a localized jammer that the police set up outside a building full of bad guys? What are you dudes objecting to?

I have no problem with this if they’ll also let me borrow it when I go to see a movie.

You can build one yourself.

This would almost definitely be in violation of FCC regulations, and it would also be impractical and ineffective. An actual terror group would be at least as likely to use private two-way radios as cell phones, so such a device would have to blot out literally every frequency used for radio communications. Seems like an incredibly bad idea to me.

Hehe - extar - way to go. I was afraid the funny had died out in this thread.

It’s pretty hard to conceive of terrorists using cell phones for coordination. Why, that hasn’t happened in a major terrorist attack for at least, oh, two months or so.

And if there was a Mumbai-type situation, and the terrorist were using cell phones, I certainly would expect that the FCC commissioner would come down hard on the NYPD for blocking cell traffic in the area.

I thought I heard on the radio yesterday that police are having discussions with cell phone providers about blocking communications in certain areas at certain times also. I’m pretty sure I heard on the radio that cell phone communications will be blocked at the presidential swearing in. I wasn’t listening too closely, and I don’t know anything about how cell phones work; maybe they just shut down certain antennas or something? Or the phone companies just don’t transmit data that they receive from those areas? Would that be easier, and/or more possible, than massive white noise generators?

Edit: Part of the reason they were so interested in cell phones, according to the dude on the radio, is that the Mumbai attackers were receiving orders during the attack from dudes in Pakistan. So I guess cell phones make large scale, very coordinated, stuff possible that walkie talkies would not.

Yeah, you’re right: terrorist attacks are the same every time, and police don’t have to obey the law if it’s important enough.

No extar, YOU’RE right. We shouldn’t take any pro-active steps to address a significant element of a massive terrorist attack that happened just about two months ago.

And I’m sure you’re a legal scholar about the ins and outs of FCC regs and law enforcement. And if it is against current laws/regs, then there’s probably no possible way that we could, you know, CHANGE those laws. After all, we wouldn’t want the 13 year old girls in the vicinity of a terrorist attack to have their ability to text-message impinged for a day or two.

No, Phil, what we shouldn’t do is spend a bunch of time and money working on some half-effective “solution” to one out of a million possible terror scenarios, all of which are incredibly low-stakes to begin with, relative to the lower profile problems that kill orders of magnitude more Americans each year than terrorism ever has.

So what should the NYPD be doing about those lower profile problems?