20 July 2015
I praised the TRCSL approach to shutting down mobile networks at specified times within the wildlife sanctuary of Yala. Possibly because of my previous writing critical of the shutting down of mobile networks, Nalaka Goonawardene has challenged my position on Twitter, saying it creates a bad precedent. This has set off a whole lot of Tweets with people asking whether it is justifiable to shut down networks during peak traffic times to avoid accidents and so on.
First, I have to ask Nalaka and others to actually read the post. The post praised the TRCSL approach, not the action of shutting down the networks. The action was one of experimentation with a decision to be taken on the basis of evidence. I stand by that.
Having got that out of the way, let us deal with the substantive question of whether mobile networks can be shut down at any time for any reason. The US FCC initiated a proceeding to define the circumstances under which networks could be shut down. I blogged about it but did not follow up to see the outcome. Perhaps this could be a useful thing for the critics to do. Not only the FCC but other countries that periodically shut down mobile networks including the self-proclaimed guardian of democratic values, the UK.