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Tuesday, 20 September 2016

The limits of State 'warnings'?

There was absolutely nothing surprising in the facts as they emerged that the NYC terrorist bomber turned out to be an Afghan Islamist. The only cause of mild wonder was why the MSM didn't feel confident about calling it earlier - social media was straight on the button. 

No, the real story for me was the government alert sent to all owners of iPhones. Using the phones' location settings, alerts were sent to every iPhone in the NY area, presumably causing some surprise to Apple mobile owners who hadn't twigged that the gub'ment can address them directly. Presumably they can refine the phone locations down to New Jersey, or Manhatten, or even to just 5th Avenue; "Take shelter - poor black rioters approaching". Apple have included an option to turn the alerts off, but will that switch always be there? EU owners of iPhones will not be reassured that EU phones have the same alerts-receiving capacity, but no option to turn them off. Juncker is probably squirming in excitement. 

This isn't tinfoil hat territory. I'm perfectly happy with the danger warning sirens here in the valley, which scared the life out of me the first time I heard them tested (every Saturday at noon). It's also useful to know the code - three 5 second blasts to call the volunteer fire brigade out. If nothing else, everyone puts on their trousers in the middle of the night and goes outside to see whose barn is on fire. It's a sort of community event. 

And I remember rather fondly the public safety films that were broadcast last thing at night on the TV at 11pm, just before the closing-down rendition of the national anthem. "What to do if you catch fire" was one of my favourites; "Lay down, roll over and put it out" was the answer, which I have always remembered, though in almost six decades I've never actually caught fire. 

But the government sending me geo-focused alerts on my mobile? Maybe it's just age, but that's almost as creepy as having Islamist killers in our midst.


Poisonedchalice said...

OK, this begs two questions:

1) How did the gubmint get the telephone numbers of the iPhones in order to sens alerts; and because they are iPhones, did Apple collaborate? (maybe that's two questions) and

2) What about Andriod phones; are they and their owners somehow less worthy of "saving" by the gubmint?

You see any government says that they don't currently have such capabilities but would like to have them. It seems to me that the capabilities do in fact exists and that we've been lied to - again.

Now I don't mind such things as I see such usage as fair and useful (a public service!) but at least come clean about it.

JuliaM said...

The MSM didn't just hesitate over identifying the likely suspects - they actively colluded with idiots like DeBlasio in keeping Islam off the table...

Barnacle Bill said...

You will also have noticed how little coverage has been given concerning the other lone wolf terrorist attack across the Pond in Minnesota.

Especially the fact that the attacker was the only one to be killed and then by a concealed carry permit holder of a firearm. Admittedly he was an off duty policeman so he could be expected to be armed when in civies.

But at least he had the opportunity to be a "Good Shepherd" unlike over here where our government is scared to let us even have a cap gun in public let alone a real handgun.

Interesting how the New York attacks happened just as HRC's health questions were gaining momentum?

DeeDee99 said...

It's already known that terrorist teams plant an initial device that is intended to drive people towards other, larger ones - in order to cause panic and maximise casualties.

Neither the American nor British Government data systems are completely secure (remember the child benefit fiasco in the UK and the US systems are regularly hacked).

It would only need terrorist infiltrators to get hold of these iphone numbers and they could use them to great effect.

Anonymous said...

Barnacle Bill - "Interesting how the New York attacks happened just as HRC's health questions were gaining momentum?"

What a suspicious, untrusting and Machiavellian mind you have Bill. Glad there's two of us who are thinking that.

A sort of good day to bury bad news.

Anonymous said...

Surely 'government' doesn't need anyone's phone number to do this sort of thing?

The phone network operators know what active phones are in range of each 'tower', (that's how the systems work), it's just a matter of linking warning to tower and the willingness to do it. In principle it is no different to alerting people to a 'two-for-one meal deal' at a burger bar as they walk down the street.

As to where the safe place is: Many, many years ago I had a friendly exchange with a policeman who wanted me to move from the chain link fence marginally nearer Euston station to beneath the glass-windowed offices on the other side of the road.

Anonymous said...

It was IRA time. I worked in a building across the road from the Crown Court. The Court had blast curtains at each window - the nets that have a lot of spare material coiled on the window sill. Needless to say, we had nothing.

Anonymous said...

It was an 'American citizen born in Afghanistan' No, it was an Islamist nutter who they let in.

Dan said...

To be honest this sort of idea is nothing new. Remember the Royal Observer Corps bunkers that still exist all over the place? They were nuclear weapon observatories; in the event of the Cold War going hot, they would be manned by intrepid ROC bods who would map where nuclear weapons exploded, and send this information back to regional command centres.

This would be plotted, collated with weather reports and instructions issued to civilians in the path of nuclear fallout clouds on which way to run.

ROC bunkers came in two sorts; standard and local command. The standard ones reported by telephone lines (this is back in the days of pulse dialing and electro-mechanical exchanges, so the EMP of a nuke wouldn't burn much out at all), the command ones had an antenna port on the side of the entrance plinth and talked to regional command by radio.

This of course presupposes that the phone lines remained intact; presumably a corps of intrepid, soon-to-become corpse telephone line repair men buzzing around repairing downed phone lines in the aftermath of a nuclear war.

All in all, probably a very good thing the bunkers were never used. They still exist, or most of them do; there was a spate of ROC bunker-buying by mobile phone companies because each bunker had phone line access, and most still had the wayleave for phone (and power) lines to them, and were set in small areas of ground in prominent positions. Ideal phone mast territory, in other words.

Jim said...

"Interesting how the New York attacks happened just as HRC's health questions were gaining momentum?"

The last thing HRC wants is an Islamic nutter that the US govt let into the USA setting off bombs, or another going around stabbing people. Its Trumps dream come true, given his constant calls for curtailing Islamic immigration to the US. It may have stopped the interest in her health problems (for now) but that damage is done - everyone saw the footage of her being bundled into that van like a side of beef, that image won't go away in people's minds. Elections can tilt on very small things - I'd hazard a guess that one snapshot in itself may tilt things to Trump.

James Higham said...

Now doing everything possible to block these things. Google are now working out a way to filter out opinion it doesn't like.

Anonymous said...

Being able to identify people by their phone, is like a wet dream for government types, and as you say Raedwald is pretty creepy and not much different in tastelessness to the East German practise of maintaining rooms full of jam-jars, stuffed with soiled underpants.

As for FriendFace or FarceBook or whatever it is called...

But try to point out to people what they are doing to themselves, and they just do not see it...

Q: If I am doing nothing wrong, what have I got to hide?

A: Everything!


Anonymous said...

Raedwald said:

'There was absolutely nothing surprising in the facts as they emerged that the NYC terrorist bomber turned out to be an Afghan Islamist'

When I heard first about the bomb-in-a-bin at the New Jersey '5k fun run' on Saturday the imprecise phrase “not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims.” came to mind - come on, we've all become used to it and we make the assumption and 99 times out of a 100 it's the correct one.

Moving on to yesterday and the identity of the shot and wounded bomb-in-a-bin perp is problematic: he don't look Afghani to me. Ahmad Rahami looks Middle Eastern, Egypt or Saudi would be my guess. So for now I'm not buying it.


Cuffleyburgers said...

Timely reminder Radders that nowadays the govrnment knows where we all are, whom we are with and can read and eavesdrop all our comms, at all times.

Anonymous said...


I thought, my first impression was a picture image and I clicked "Iranian?" when, I first copped a look at the Afghani, er suspected bomber.

Afghanistan, as you will no doubt know, Afghanistan and its history is dominated by those vicissitudes and imperial past of Iran, consequently many related tribesmen have vague but extended links to their former 'countrymen' [Persian rulers] and Farsi is widely spoken across Afghanistan stretching from the Iranian heartland all the way and into Tajikistan.
Not mentioned but lets face it unlikely though it is, the Americanized "Afghan" may even be a Shia fundo Mentalist.

Edward Spalton said...

I am sure the public broadcasts would have said " lie down" not " lay down" in those days when grammatical standards were maintained.
If they had said " lay down" people would have wondered " Lay down what?"

It's probably a lost cause now, like the real meaning of "disinterested" not being " uninterested.

anon 2 said...

Thank you, Edward Spalton ... my very thoughts.

That's what we get for letting aliens run our country's education and media.

Raedwald said...

Edward'll have to forgive bits of Suffolk dialect from sneaking through from time to time ;)

Edward Spalton said...


Having travelled the rural parts of the British Isles for many years, I love the diversity
and picturesque forms of speech . Driving through the Norfolk years ago , I passed a house with a well-painted, official-looking sign on the gable. It read "Drive you steady, bor " !

Our firm sold baby calf food and we used to give talks to young farmers' groups. At one such event in Oxfordshire , my colleague Jerry Land (who was himself a farmer) emphasised the importance of calves receiving the first milk from the cow because of the resistance to infection which it confers. The audience looked a bit puzzled because he had used the Derbyshire word "biestings" to describe this. Then, one brighter member of the audience said "O, you mean cherrycuds" . After that we stuck to the word "colostrum" in every part of the

Raedwald said...

Ah, Edward, lovely!

When the railway first came to Hadleigh, the first scheduled service was due to run well into the working day. A non-working village lad was therefore tasked with watching the first train, and positioned himself above the cutting leading to a short tunnel. He gave his report to the men of the village in the pub that night;

"I saw that, that saw me. Then that wholly schruck and ran inter its burra"