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Canadian Government to Jam Radio Signals 571

An anonymous reader submits: "According to this article, the Canadian government has given the military and RCMP permission to jam radio signals during the G8 summit and the Pope's visit. I suppose that the stated reason would be to prevent terrorists from communicating with each other, but I have to wonder whether it's also being done to keep those pesky protesters from effectively organizing at the G8. And if this action manages to block wireless 911 calls, and someone dies because of that, who's going to be willing to step up to the plate and take the blame?"
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Canadian Government to Jam Radio Signals

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    how terrorists are the only ones who use cellphones and drug dealers are the only ones who use pages.
    • Because we all know how terrorists are the only ones who use mobile phones and drug dealers are the only ones who use pages.

      While the above is not particularly insightful, it does touch on a good point. It's not just the bad guys who use mobile phones. Having been part of security details for a government organization in the past, our government issued radios don't always work, especially inside large buildings. (Think of the same folks who designed your tax forms trying to make a working radio.) I've found my mobile to be invaluable to make sure the car to pick everybody up is outside and waiting when the principal is ready to go.

      Technology is tool that can be used either for good or for evil. By jamming the airwaves, you're preventing everybody from using it and trying to technology from changing the way you do business.
      • > It's not just the bad guys who use mobile phones. Having been
        > part of security details for a government organization...

        So you're a bad guy too. Where's the counter-example?
    • Free as in Speech! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by The Monster ( 227884 ) on Saturday June 22, 2002 @04:51PM (#3750104) Homepage
      terrorists are the only ones who use cellphones
      Let no one forget that on 11 Sep 2001, while the authorities were fumbling to react to what had happened at the WTC and Pentagon, common citizens used their cellphones to inform the passengers on the fourth flight, who took action to save countless other potential victims.

      The First Amendment to the US Constitution codifies the idea that the free flow of information empowers free people to do good things with that information. Pity that our neighbors to the north rejected the invitation to place themselves under its jurisdiction (and that our own government seems hell-bent on neutering the entire document).

      • Oh, don't be an ass. (Score:4, Informative)

        by ghjm ( 8918 ) on Saturday June 22, 2002 @06:23PM (#3750464) Homepage
        The Canadian constitutional equivalent to the U.S. Bill of Rights is the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which reads in part:
        2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

        (a) freedom of conscience and religion
        (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other means of communication.
        (c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
        (d) freedom of association.

        If Canadian officials are willfully disregarding the provisions of their own constitution, who are you to throw rocks? You[r supreme court] elected George W., thus creating the least constitutionally responsible executive branch in the past hundred years...

        • by SerpentMage ( 13390 ) on Saturday June 22, 2002 @06:41PM (#3750517)
          (As a Canadian) that section is not the same as the American counterpart.

          Specifically, the constitution can be NULL and void as per the following part:

          1. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

          This basically says there are limits. This was there because without this clause it is not possible to prosecut hate literature folks.

          And this is where I have to say that as a European and Canadian citizen the Americans got it right and the rest of the world not.

          Freedom of speech is a double edged sword, but by ensuring that everyone has it under all circumstances ensures that we do have a free society.

          My example is the EU prosecuting Haider in Austria. The man is a loon much like Buchanen. And Haider has done nothing other than say stupid things, but yet the EU slapped sactions, etc on Austria.

          What gets me in this is that while I agree Haider is an idiot the communists in Europe are just as big idiots. So if you ban Haider, ban the communists, fair is fair. And remember that Stalin was just as gruesome as Hitler.

          So as a Non-American I have to say that NOBODY has the same rights as an American, POINT BLANK!
          • from godwinslaw.com [godwinslaw.com]:
            Godwin's Law
            As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.

            Corollary of Practicality
            There is a tradition in many groups that, once this occurs, the thread is over, and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress. Godwin's Law thus practically guarantees the existence of an upper bound on thread length in those groups.

        • The least constitutionally responsible executive branch was probably FDR, well within your 100 years. He actually sought dominance over one of the other checks and balances by attempting to stack the supreme court, and nearly succeeded. But he was still a great president. He was as great as the republicans think reagan was.
  • Here are some details [milspec.ca].

    Jam this!
  • Uh..well...gee... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by xeniten ( 550128 )
    If my cell phone was ever jammed and I really had to call 911 then that would mean I'd have to rely on a regular old fashioned telephone.

    Anybody got a quarter?

    • in a disaster? The phone service.

      Vital communication would be jammed exactly when it was most needed by the very people who would need it most. Set off a bomb in a crowded mall NEAR the center of the action and the emergency services might not hear of it until somebody drove over and told them.

      All of downtown New York was without land phone service for days, weeks and my old neighborhood (Battery Park City,) was affected for months after the attack on the WTC.

      Cell phones were dead too because there was no power available to the repeaters but those were reestablished within hours or days with mobile power units and mobile repeaters driven in on trucks.

      This is yet another example of bureaucratic thinking at its best: Cutting off your nose to spite your face.

      I would want the badge number of the fool who thought that one up. And I would hold him/her and the judge who is allowing this stupidity so we can hold them responsible for any deaths due to the inability of the authorities to respond.

      • I was at an emerency preparedness presentation in Edmonton today. Seems that the cell phone system during the Pine Lake tornado [rcmp-grc.gc.ca] was crashed by a bunch of media reporters. I suspect they are the real target of this jamming.

        During Pine Lake, "individuals" decided that they needed to use the 12 available Cell channels in the remote town to do Live reports back to the Big Cities... so they grabbed the cell frequencies and NEVER HUNG UP! These press people are not terribly popular when they hogged resources that ambulance and SAR people might also want to use!

        Fortunately there are a lot of HAM operators in Alberta and they were able to provide radio relays to the SAR people and bypass the phone service.


  • Unilateral jamming (Score:3, Insightful)

    by neksys ( 87486 ) <grphillips AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday June 22, 2002 @04:28PM (#3749984)
    The difficulty with jamming all radio signals is that even the police lose the ability to contact and communicate with eachother. How can they be an effective security force if they can't talk to eachother?
  • Jamming 911 calls (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BlueOtto ( 519047 ) on Saturday June 22, 2002 @04:28PM (#3749988)
    "And if this action manages to block wireless 911 calls, and someone dies because of that, who's going to be willing to step up to the plate and take the blame?"

    Our country lived without cell phones for 200 years; I think people will survive for another 12 days without them in that area. They are going to be in a populated area; landline phones will be nearby. People don't die from lack of cell phones.
    • by isomeme ( 177414 ) <cdberry@gmail.com> on Saturday June 22, 2002 @07:30PM (#3750690) Homepage Journal
      Yes, they do. Deaths occur due to lack of prompt emergency medical intervention, and in many such cases availability of a phone (cell or otherwise) would have allowed faster EMS response. Given that we're all always four minutes away from death by anoxia, the difference between an immediate and a slightly delayed EMS response can be literally a matter of life and death.

      Before phones, EMS response to time-critical injuries and illnesses was more or less impossible. As phones became more pervasive, a victim's chance of surviving thanks to prompt intervention rose. Cell phones have continued this trend.

      So yes, a jammed cell phone might well cost someone his or her life. The fact that the victim would also have died in 1970 is irrelevant.

    • by Loki_1929 ( 550940 ) on Saturday June 22, 2002 @07:33PM (#3750700) Journal
      "Our country lived without cell phones for 200 years; I think people will survive for another 12 days without them in that area."

      200 years ago, no one was dependant on them. Aside from the fact that this is an incredible inconvenience, there are several other problems here. First of all, is the government going to reimburse its cell-phone carrying citizens for their lost money during the blackout period? 12 days is nearly half a month, so the folks paying $70 and $80/mo are getting screwed out of about $40 every time they decide to do this.

      Next we have the woman jogging in the park who is suddenly being chased by a man. She reaches for her cell phone to dial 911, but no signal. Why? HER government, the one that is supposed to be protecting her, has decided to jam the signal. She then has no way to call for help, and if no one hears here cries for help, she might be raped and/or killed by her attacker. Seem far-fetched? Call your nearest city's police and ask how many cell-phone 911 calls they receive in a month, then ask how many of those calls probably saved a life. I doubt the woman in this example could stop at a payphone, pick up the reciver, and dial 911, then talk to the person at 911 before her attacker reached her. People don't die from lack of cell phones, but you cannot possibly argue that cell phones don't save lives that would otherwise be lost.

      Just yet another example of a government doing part of its job much worse (protecting the rights of citizens) to try to make up for where it's been lacking (protecting the security of its citizens.) The destruction and terror wrought by Al Qaida pales in comparison to that caused by politicians. To save life at the expense of liberty is the same as ending poverty by killing those who are impoverished.

      Just in case anyone hasn't noticed, Israel has been a case study in how less freedom, less liberty, more laws, more soldiers, more guns, more walls, and more surveillance does *NOT* make you more secure. Freedom and security go hand in hand. Laws don't make you more secure, nor do guns; freedom does. Didn't anyone else feel a sense of pride at the shouting of the phrase, "They may take our lives, but they will never take our freedom!" ? Think about that phrase for a while.

  • Oops (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Oily Tuna ( 542581 )
    "It could be used, for example, if there was threat of a detonation of some type of a remote-controlled device. We could jam the frequencies to make sure nobody could send a signal to that bomb."

    Jamming is achieved by making sure your signal is stronger than anyone elses', I hope the hypothetical detonation device doesn't simply look for a signal of a significant strength.

    There will be more than "blocking 911" to worry about then.
  • "It could be used, for example, if there was threat of a detonation of some type of a remote-controlled device. We could jam the frequencies to make sure nobody could send a signal to that bomb."

    He did not know, however, how the jamming would affect cell phones or commercial radio transmissions

    It specifies that "every reasonable effort shall be made to confine or restrict to the extent possible interference with or obstruction of a radiocommunication . . . to the smallest physical area, the fewest number of frequencies and the minimum duration required to accomplish the objectives of the interference or obstruction."

    and most interesting

    Jamming devices are also illegal in the United States, but there is a growing underground market for the devices, which can be bought for about $2,200. A survey of 2,000 people last year by Decima Research found about 50 per cent support for jammers in public places.

    Imagine no more cell phones going off in movie theatres.

    Besides, if it's a public place, there should be a public phone nearby. It's not like these people are on a highway in the middle of nowhere.
    • I'd find it quite amusing if the jamming intended to stop remotely-triggered explosive devices triggered those devices.

      But Schadenfreude is my favorite passtime.
      • I'd find it quite amusing if the jamming intended to stop remotely-triggered explosive devices triggered those devices.

        Though it does deny the attacker control over the timing. A detonation on a deserted street/building at 3 AM is better than a detonation when it's busy.

        I still think the jamming is a lame idea.

    • Imagine no more cell phones going off in movie theatres.

      That's pretty easy - surround the structure with grounded mesh 1/2 the wavelength of the stuff you're blocking.

    • FWIW:
      As cell phone usage has increased, the number of working pay phones has decreased. This is understandable, even if it does result in the ability to communicate being tilted so that only those who can afford to, have the ability to.

      However, if you take out the cell phones, don't count on a pay phone being available. Not unless you know the area.

      (This is a comment based on the US experience. Canada may be different.)

  • by AgTiger ( 458268 ) on Saturday June 22, 2002 @04:32PM (#3750011) Homepage
    Let's see...

    1. If you jam radio frequencies, you deny yourself information you might otherwise be able to use to your advantage. Not real smart.

    2. This does NOTHING to block visual signalling methods, or hard-line transmission methods that do not rely on radio frequency communication.

    3. Remote control explosive devices that could be set off by the intended transmission could also be set off by the jamming, which is _also_ a transmission of considerable strength on multiple frequencies. Explosive crews use those "Turn off Transmitter next X miles" signs for a reason.

    4. If you only block selective frequencies, you'll probably miss blocking transmissions in other alternate bands/frequencies you didn't expect "the forces of darkness" to use.

    5. The methods they intend to use are akin to killing a fly with a sledgehammer.

    And that's just off the top of my head!

    • Just slightly off topic here, but interesting nonetheless.

      The reason that explosive crews use "Turn off Transmitter next X miles" is not because they use radio detonation (its dangerous, expensive, and unneccesary unless you are trying to be covert), but because squibs and blasting caps can actually set off by the small amount of current generated through the inductance caused by nearby radio transmissions.

      It sounds implausible, and like it would never happen, but there were a couple guys who did some tests a few years ago and found that while unlikely, it was indeed possible. While it seems their site is currently down, there is a google cache of it here. []

      All of that said and done though, your points are still valid. :-)
    • You have no idea what their methods of dealing with potential terrorism will be. In this case they merely cleared the way for the option by obtaining permission : They aren't saying "We're going to turn the jammers to 11 all week long and we'll be safe". Because Canada is a free country (yeah yeah...like all Western countries freedom is balanced with civic safety) they had to obtain permission publicly, which is why you hear about this, but they're hardly yelling out their plans.
  • Easy excuse... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by forged ( 206127 ) on Saturday June 22, 2002 @04:44PM (#3750069) Homepage Journal
    • "...if this action manages to block wireless 911 calls, and someone dies because of that, who's going to be willing to step up to the plate and take the blame?"

    What if the jamming effectively ruins some terrorists plans, and prevents a disaster and saves hundreds of lives? But I guess that we'll never know for sure.

    I am personally convinced that the various intelligence agencies prevent dozens of terrorist attacks per months, some of them probably of the 9/11 magnitude, without the public realizing simply because the government wants to keep those quiet (no need to shout wolf once the threat is defused).

    • What if the jamming effectively ruins some terrorists plans, and prevents a disaster and saves hundreds of lives? But I guess that we'll never know for sure.

      Granted, it could, however i'm not convinced this would stop a determined modern-day "terrorist". 9/11, and the string of attacks by palestinian bombers shows that people aren't afraid to die for a cause -- especially one that involves religion or faith.

    • I am personally convinced that the various intelligence agencies prevent dozens of terrorist attacks per months, some of them probably of the 9/11 magnitude, without the public realizing simply because the government wants to keep those quiet (no need to shout wolf once the threat is defused).

      Then why is it that the best Bush could do to "wag the dog" during the congressional inquiry over who knew what when about 9/11 was to trot out Jose Pedilla? A man who could barely hold a job at Taco Bell, a man who even Ashcroft has now admitted didn't even have the faintest chance of ever pulling off any sort of terrorism, much less one as complex as exploding a dirty bomb?

      If pea-brain Pedilla is the best example they've got of who they are catching, or even just a run-of-the-mill example, then they really are either entirely incompetent or the threat has been just a little, wee-bit over exagerated.
  • (Guessing that 911 is the Canadian emergency number.)

    In interesting parts of the world where there are no fixed line phones (Kings Canyon comes to mind) there are sometimes notices warning you that radio emergency phones are provided, and you're welcome to try to use them, but no such radio system can be relied on so you should have some fallback strategy in case the phones don't work.

    In boring parts of the world, like Canadian cities, there are landline phones all over the place, so you're never more than a few seconds away from one in an emergency.

    In any case if there's a major event on with lots of people milling around it's quite possible that the cellphone system will fall apart under the load anyway - sure, operators move in temporary cells in trucks but they can get their guesses wrong as to the demand.

    So, whilst it might sometimes be useful to use a radio phone to make an emergency call it's really never something you should rely on.
  • Even worse... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by aengblom ( 123492 ) on Saturday June 22, 2002 @05:03PM (#3750148) Homepage
    Perhaps even more dangerous. Doctors and other emergency workers need to be accesible by cellphone. (And any other person who has an "on call" type of job. Howdy IT folks ;-) )

    A major reason you don't see jammers etc. in movie theatres for a bit is some people need their phones to work. Hopefully at somepoint we'll have smart phones that can be set to ring only for doctors etc. if desperately needed. If not, only allow phones to vibrate.
    • It's only "more dangerous" because doctors and emergency workers are more careless about what they can do because they've got technology that "unwires" them. How did doctors get by without cell phones and beepers before those things existed? If they were on call, they stayed in places where they could get phone calls or messages!

      If movie theatres start using jamming technology, then doctors just won't go to movies when they're on call. (Or they will, and will be rightfully sued when something bad happens.) Since I'm not a doctor, and I hate when cell phones ring in movie theatres, I say big *##!#@#ing deal. If the movie theatres want to pay for some kind of smart-vibrate feature on cell phones, then they can pay for it. Can you say "emergency dependability surcharge" on your cellphone bill?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...sure beats the old method of posting "No Terrorism" signs all over the place.
  • Yup, the emergency procedure in the UK involves disabling wired phones as well. Supposedly several phones are supposed to be registered and they are supposed to be preserved. However sometimes the various services forget to register some of the phones and then it gets a bit farsical.

    It's been used a few times (not terribly appropriately IRC), most of which included comical images of the bomb squad desperately trying to remember their semaphore signals.

    However, they do leave the public telephones running, so that's something.

  • The protestors will be protesting right down the street from me.

    "...if this action manages to block wireless 911 calls, and someone dies because of that, who's going to be willing to step up to the plate and take the blame?"

    This is in the middle of the capital city of Canada. There will be plenty of landlines everywhere. There's a large task force of emergency personnel. I cannot see this as a problem.
  • Since the Pope's involved, They can say:
    "We're jammin' in the name of the Lord!!!"
  • by linuxbert ( 78156 ) on Saturday June 22, 2002 @05:35PM (#3750276) Homepage Journal
    i love my freedoms as a Canadian, and i love my cell phone, and i fully support peoples rights to peacefull demonstration.

    I live in Ottawa. during the g8 conference a group of protesters has vowed to disrupt life in the city, and refused to talk to police, or make statements to discourage violence, infact they have encouraged it. Business are boarding up, and citizens are scared.

    I do not like when people come to my home and destroy it for there own political goals. I understand the reasons not to block trafic, however, anything that can be done to keep my home from being destroyed by these protestors MUST be done.

    civil disobediance is onething (gandhi practiced it, and never once struck out at anyone) wantan distruction of property is another.

    before you comment, to this article about how your liberties and freedoms are being taken away by the authorities, think about what you would want if your home town was suddenly faced with thousands of violent protestors.
    • by SuiteSisterMary ( 123932 ) <slebrun.gmail@com> on Saturday June 22, 2002 @05:39PM (#3750309) Journal
      Exactly. Peaceful protestors don't need balaclavas and backpacks full of bricks and bottles. Peaceful protestors don't say "We're going to block traffic, and if the Police try to move us, well, they're the ones starting the violence." And so on.
    • These people are meeting so as to try and take food off of our tables. It is no surprise that there are a lot of people unhappy about this. G8 has brought it upon itself. They are making decisions about how the world should be run with next to no public input. People should not be surprised that many people are unhappy about this, I'm more surprised that more people are not unhappy about this.

      Being in IT worker who works with lots of programmers and administrators, I have to say that a lot of the stereotypes about IT dorks are true. Too many of my co-workers are fat, bearded, pasty white, socially retarted, Farscape watching dorks with glasses, who have no social life, no girlfriend and if they do they're usually socially retarted as well and so forth. I guess in such a socially retarted community with yuppie aspirations (which high H1-B caps, FLSA, section 1706 and things like G8 will do much to crush), it's unsurprising to find people so cut off from society and their community to follow the same route on things such as these, and who side with the plutocrats carving up the world over the average man on the street. The only time these losers ever interact in a social manner with a working class human being is when they go down to San Francisco's Tenderloin district and pay some girl $400 to give them a hand job, since they're so socially alienated from the community, they're unable to find a romantic companion. Having to work amidst people like this, who obviously are reflexively sycophantic to the G8 plutocrats, forgive me if you make me want to puke.

      Thus, it's normal that these socially retarted and alienated people, who get their news from wherever yuppies get their news, would buy into the G8 plutocrats line that anyone against them is trying to "destroy your home"? Huh, the protestors are coming to your particular house and address to burn it down? If you mean your home is Ottawa, your nomenclature is funny. You never say G8 is coming to your home, although most of the people from G8 are foreigners. Yes, it's always the protestors who are coming from somewhere else, I guess there must be some town somewhere that all these foreign agitators come from. God forbid that there are some people who live in Ottawa [indymedia.ca], Ontario, or Canada who are unhappy about this! Yes, the G8 plutocrats from the US, France, Germany etc. are your "local" people to protect, and the local community groups protesting this are the "foreign" agitators. In the corporate media, this kind of deception goes through unchallenged all the time, fortunately, at least here it can be challenged.

      And wow, these protestors are "violent" before they even get to Ottawa. What foresight you must have, you can already see the future! We just had the WEF in New York City in February, thousands showed up to protest, and there were only a handful of arrests, and no cases of physical violence or property damage. The supposedly massively violent Seattle protests had a handful of kids break the windows of Starbucks and the Gap before some middle-aged union guys came over and ran them away before the cops came. The Gap sells clothes made by 9 year olds in Indonesia factories who work 12 hour days, 7 days a week, and who are often beaten at their factories. Who are the real criminals?

      I see us as on the winning side. There are enough blind people like you so that the problems addressed by the protestors are ignored, and things will get worse and worse and worse and worse. Soon you will be praying for the days of relatively peaceful days of demonstrations like the upcoming G8 one will be. In a few years, when all IT work moves to India and Romania, and the remaining American workers are all H1-Bs who are treated like blue collar workers, combined with 1706, FLSA and so forth, I think we will start seeing more disgruntled IT workers coming to things like these. In fact, it is starting to happen already, you'd be surprised how many people coming to them have had their salaries drop like ComputerWorld pointed out recently (that IT industry salaries have dropped while productivity and the level of services remain, e.g. workers are giving more or the same for less), and how well they know Java and C++ and how to create stored procedures in Oracle. The protestor groups would not be able to have as much of an Internet presence as they do without the freely donated time and resources of programmers and administrators who are unhappy about how their communities are being shitted on by these G8 plutocrats, are unhappy about how their wages are being driven down while they're the ones who do the work and create the wealth that fills their shareholders and CEO's pockets, are unhappy with working 60 hour weeks, being oncall 24/7 and having their workplace trying to destroy their social life, a social life made more difficult to attain since these types of economic and social changes have been destroying the social life of communities which existed decades ago. These sycophantic dorks are not people, they are people without a social life, they are robots attached to machines and bureaucracies who have no desire for a social life and social interactions. It's almost like a science fiction tale where networks of robots and computers are battling the humans who have not been devastated by this cold, impersonal network, with about as much charm as a data center at 4 in the morning. I'll cast my lot with the human communities instead of these bureaucracies that are trying to turn humans into robots, even if we lose in the end, they're a much more fun group to hang out with then dorks whose fun idea of a Saturday night is -
      Watching a MST3K marathon with other dorks
      Perusing the SF Red Book for which prostitute they will have a so-called date with tonight
      Shopping at Fry's for a graphics card because they have a Quake tournament to play at that night
      and of course we can't forget
      Spending Saturday night at the office working!

      No thanks...I spend enough time working and being around these people to keep a roof over my head. I don't need it to BE my life.

      • Three points:

        1. The method in which you fight your battles reflects on not only you, but your cause as well.

        2. Two wrongs do not make a right.

        3. Violence will never solve anything in a positive way.

        Now, to apply those three messages to your post:

        1. You come off a demeaning, judgemental jackass who has a thing against anyone who disagrees with him and frowns on nerds. This affects your cause. Before I finished reading your first paragraph I discredited the merit of your argument and what you believe simply because of your style.

        2. I don't shop at Gap or other major clothing retailers because I disapprove of their labor practices. I believe what they do is criminal and inhuman. I also believe that throwing bricks, bottles, breaking things, blocking traffic, and being disorderly is also criminal. It is possible to have those two views - they are not mutally exclusive. See how that works? It is a not a choice between the Gap being criminal or the violent protestors being criminal. They are both criminal. You try to induce the readers into choosing one side or the other as criminal. Again, that causes your argument to go directly into the trash can. Ooops.

        3. The rest of society ignores you because are violent. Period. It doesn't matter if you are right, correct, represent the right ideas or not. If 1 out of 10,000 of you is violent then it discredits your entire cause. Forever. You must be perfectly peaceful. And please, save your breath about the cops. The rest of society is distrustful of cops to begin with. Again, the rest of can see both violent cops and violent protestors as evil, and we do. We do not have to choose a side.

        Conclusion: your cause will never achieve critical mass unless and until you are perfectly peaceful. That may not happen because a subset of your group appears to be bent on violence at all costs. With a historical perspective this proves to a bad thing. MLK Jr is an unmatched hero of activism; the Black Panthers are relegated to quasi-terrorist status.

        If you want to make a real statement, go to these protests with 10, 20, or 30 thousand people. Don't break any windows, don't break any heads, and don't be violence.
    • by Ian Bicking ( 980 ) <ianb@nOSPaM.colorstudy.com> on Sunday June 23, 2002 @02:17AM (#3751703) Homepage
      So what should they do? Have candlelight vigils? Send letters to their representatives?

      I've been to nice, peaceful protests, and they are a joke. You get a permit to stand in some park cut off from anyone and the only way you inconvenience the system is that they have to pay extra for all the police they get to cordon you off. It's a big waste of time. But it's peaceful and doesn't get in anyone's way.

      In my experience the protesters usually do not start the violence. But the protesters are confrontational. You must be confrontational in some way if you want to have a real protest -- that's what it means to have a protest. Otherwise it's just a parade. Civil rights protesters did not ask the government for a permit to do a sit in. Gandhi did not cooperate with the police. The protesters in these cases may have been nonviolent, but the protests themselves were often very violent.

      I know you would rather people not protest -- if it's a real protest it will likely disrupt your life. But stop being a fucking whiner! These issues are bigger than your fucking day to day life. These issues are more important than a few windows that might get broken in the chaos. This is what protest looks like, and either say you are against protest altogether, or accept that it has to come to your town eventually.

      I'm sorry if I'm attacking you, but at a certain point it really pisses me off when people are so petty. This isn't a soccer match, the protests are about real things. And these protests have meant something -- for one, it's meant that the leaders of the 8 most important countries are having a clandestine meeting in the wilderness. That doesn't happen because of a letter-writing campaign.

      • by Sentry21 ( 8183 ) on Sunday June 23, 2002 @10:49AM (#3752350) Journal
        What an absurdly inane comment.

        You're telling the poster that he should stop whining about millions of dollars in property damage because people need to be heard? I'm sorry, you don't need to smash storefront windows to be heard. You don't need to attack police to be heard. You don't need to start riots to be heard.

        Get a clue. Democracy is by election. What you're supporting is vigilante democracy. What you're supporting is business getting destroyed because people have no sense of responsibility. There is no excuse whatsoever for the kind of garbage that happens at these meetings and summits and so on.

        Yes, the leaders of 8 countries are meeting in the wilderness. And it's not happening because of a letter writing campaign. It's happening because people use violent means towards political ends.

        If protest means I'm afraid to leave my house, if protest means my favourite stores are closed half the month, if protest means damage and destruction, fires, looting, and hundreds of people hospitalized because some jerks feel like they have the right, then no, I don't support protesting. But that's not protesting, that's vandalism and mob rule, and I don't support that at all.

        • by Our Man In Redmond ( 63094 ) on Sunday June 23, 2002 @11:45AM (#3752496)
          Thank you. I was trying to figure out how to say this and hadn't gotten the words right.

          I grew up in the Sixties. Protest is as much a part of my upbringing as The Beverly Hillbillies and bad rock & roll. But when I think of the protests that meant anything, I think more of the people like Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Phil Ochs, Bob Dylan, the Smothers Brothers and all those who wrote songs people would listen to that got the message across. I think of the anonymous individuals teaching others just how bad an idea the war was. I think of the ubiquitous posters saying things like "It will be a great day when the schools have all the money they need and the Air Force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber." None of those get in anybody's face but the cumulative effect was to sway public opinion enough to where the government had no choice but to withdraw from Vietnam.

          In my mind if you're going to change people's minds about an issue, trying to do it through smashing things doesn't work ("You can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar"). The WTO protesters in Seattle, in my mind, did NOT succeed in their mission, unless their mission was to drive WTO and G8 and similar meetings undergrond to places like the United Arab Emirates and the Canadian wilderness, and to have their legacy from Seattle be "those anarchists who just busted a lot of windows and looted some stores." rather than "the people who got me started thinking what a bad idea globalization is."

  • Just a little something for your noodle...

    http://www.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/europe/06/22/spain .b last/index.html

    I understand the ire of WTO protestors and people who feel similarly... I feel for them. But the world has changed a lot since Seattle. Especially in the matters of protest outside the Americas. Matter of fact, a LOT of protestors have been killed across the world since Seattle. Every time there seems to be a world anything anymore, there is activity of the Serious Bad Kind (TM). Just in the last few days, the ante has been upped for psychotic, killing activity. The psychos have really been rallying since the WTC attack.

    I am pretty sure that these countermeasures are done to stop a little more than the drum circles and the occasional Starbucks window attack. The police are not as concerned about the dreadlock kids as many would think they are. Not after the mess in Spain.

    If anyone is in Spain, please tell us about what is going on over their in your words... I think the /. crowd could use a spokesperson to pop up and tell us what it all means.
  • I doubt they need this for the G8 summit. The jamming of cell phone frequencies seems a little overkill because:

    (1) the G8 meeting is held in a park called Kananaskis [gov.ab.ca]. It's in the foothills and Canadian Rockies, located in the province of Alberta. Anyway, the place the summit is located (the Rocky Mountain Lodge) is fairly isolated. Cell phone coverage is good in the area (so says my wife who has been there recently) but I'm guessing it's only available in populated areas or along the major roads.

    (2) The place is being secured mostly by the Canadian military, with the RCMP in town or along the roads. The military presence is huge (the soldiers are fully armed), their primary role is to secure the outlying areas and they have permission to use deadly force. The air space will be closely monitored (they have mobile radar stations up) and jets can be called up or will be patrolling the area (I think there's a no-fly-zone in effect).

    While there is a possibility of terrorists, protestors are probably an equal target of cell phone jamming. Protesters (good & bad) use cell phones as a means of organizing groups of people.

    Let's just hope the RCMP doesn't fuck up and, say, jam emergency frequencies or that used by commercial aviation.
  • by GLX ( 514482 )
    Watches and other methods of keeping time have also been outlawed at this event, because the chance of a group of people synchronizing their watches and deciding to cause a disturbance at the same time is way too high.
  • .... for two reasons

    1) They are making us fully aware of what is going on, there is no loss of privacy

    2) They are not allowing communication and monitoring it. That would be an invasion of privacy.

    I applaud the gov't for coming up with an alternate solution that doesn't infringe on peoples privacy.
  • Suicide bombers don't usually need to tell other people when they're gonna blow themselves up.

    All this will do is annoy law abiding citizens who want to use their own phones.

    Anyone with "an agenda" is already making other plans to deal with the problem since it was so conveniantly announced in the press.

    Typical Canadian government - goose-stepping all over Canadian rights. Somehow I know that Jean Poutine is behind all of it :)

    It's a police-state in the making...
  • easy solution (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mashy ( 135839 )

    cancel the summit and hold it via wireless video conferencing

MESSAGE ACKNOWLEDGED -- The Pershing II missiles have been launched.