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Irish government seeks emergency power to cut mobile services during G8 summit

Sharif Sakr

The Irish Defence Minister, Alan Shatter, has put forward a law that would give his government the right to cut off mobile services "in a limited area" to prevent a bombing. In particular, he fears that militant groups may attack next month's G8 summit in Northern Ireland to "garner publicity," and that they may try to detonate explosives remotely using phone signals. Ireland already has a voluntary system for requesting operators to suspend services if there's a threat, but the new legislation would make this compulsory, in case the authorities should face any "difficulty in getting a telecom company in an emergency to cooperate." The idea of deliberate blackouts may sound strange, at least outside of oppressed nations like Egypt and Syria, but Shatter says the Boston Marathon bombing, which possibly also involved cellphones as detonators, proves that such measures are necessary.

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