[FoRK] Disruptions: Fliers Must Turn Off Devices, but It's Not Clear Why
gstock at nexcerpt.com
Tue Dec 6 09:22:08 PST 2011
On 12/6/11 11:36 AM, Sean Conner wrote:
> The issue not be with avionic interference, but actual cellular
Yes. Thank you. While I despair of security theater generally, other
legitimate issues are being ignored during the pile-on drubbing of the
At normal commercial cruising altitudes, no cell phone gets a signal.
(Yes, I've verified it. Between Detroit and Baltimore. Multiple
times. So arrest me. ;-)
What are people whining about? The fact that they might be unable to
use a device in a venue where -- by ~design~ -- it ~will~ not work?
(Even if cell towers were four or five miles tall, ~most~ long flights
also spend ~most~ of their time over vast expanses of land that have
little or no coverage even on the ~ground~.)
This thread has already mentioned the possibility of intentional
electronic exploit (or a takeover of some sort, even of communications)
from within the plane, while in midair. Acknowledging that terrorists
-- by definition -- will ignore rules and laws, which flight would you
1) with 100+ cellphones, and similar devices obviously in use?
2) with only a terrorist's electronic device obviously in use?
OK, you say, what if they put it in cargo, or luggage -- or hide it
under a blanket?
OK, let's presume they do. Presume we suspect a credible threat may
exist of such a device eventually (or at a particular time or location)
being deployed on a commercial flight, or in its immediate environment.
Thinking as we did at NSA: our challenge is to recognize, understand,
and defeat such a device. We have only some notion of what forms it may
take, or frequencies it may use.
Q: What would be our first priority?
A: Isolate and rule out effects from all other devices.
Q: What is the easiest way to do that?
A: Shut as many such devices as possible off.
Q: How can we do that without alerting terrorists to our effort?
A: Shut as many such devices as possible off ~ALL~ the time.
Crude But Effective(tm).
I'd submit that most of the research validating why the ban ~may~ be
valid is highly classified -- just like most of the work, likely ongoing
today, that will eventually make the ban unnecessary.
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