Wednesday, October 10, 2012

FCC urged to prohibit local government wireless shutdowns; but DHS has the mysterious "SOP 303"

In May 2012, Public Knowledge filed a brief with the Federal Communications Commission encouraging it to promulgate administrative rules that would normally prevent state and local governments from shutting down Internet or wireless service in an area because of a perceived emergency.

The story is here.

The brief is motivated in part by an incident where BART in San Francisco shut down wireless service around its stations to prevent a flash mob from forming.  Local governments could try this in other circumstances where flash mobs are feared (they have been a particular problem in the UK).

DHS has a “secret” protocol document called SOP 303”, supposedly signed on to by telecommunications carriers, providing for shutdowns in case of major cybersecurity threats. 

The Center for Democracy and Technology has a link about this SOP (website url) here

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