New York Disables Tunnel Cellphone Connections

    July 11, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

With evidence that the London bombings were triggered by using cellphones, the Port Authority has turned off cellphone links.

The Lincoln and Holland Tunnels, which link New Jersey and New York City, have had their cellphone support turned off in response to concerns of a copycat attack on them.

The Madrid train bombings also had cellphone triggers for their deadly bombs. The use of cellphones as remote controls means the bombers very likely were not present when the bombs went off.

Verizon Wireless, provider of cellular service to the Tunnels, was told by the Port Authority that a decision had been made to turn off cellphone service in the tunnels, according to Reuters.

“Following the bombings in London, as a security precaution, the Port Authority required that cell phone service be suspended inside the Lincoln and Holland tunnels,” said Tony Ciavolella, a Port Authority spokesman. “This was an initiative we put into place for the safety and security of the public.”

The effectiveness of the move may be limited beyond a public perception role. Terrorists have options beyond cellphones, and have demonstrated willingness to use them.

While the presence of bomb-sniffing dogs and heavily armed police makes for a welcome sight at transit centers, thwarting the next bombing will require investigation and quality intelligence work.

A Verizon spokesperson said the company hopes service will be restored as quickly as possible, and that the company was not aware of other cities taking similar measures at this time.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.