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Would police be able to use kill switches to limit public protests?

Would police authorities utilize kill switch legislation to shut off devices during police protests, or are people being a bit too paranoid?

Michael Hatamoto | Aug 19, 2014 at 06:30 pm CDT (0 mins, 48 secs reading time)

The current protests in Ferguson, Missouri, related to the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown, has led to a rather curious debate: could kill switches help police authorities limit journalists and protesters to stop recording video using their smartphones and tablets?

Would police be able to use kill switches to limit public protests? | TweakTown.com

"If the California bill were in place in Missouri, these officers might deploy the government kill switch alongside tear gas and rubber bullets, using the mandated technology to stop coordination between protesters, cut off access to outside information, and shut down video recordings that can deter police misconduct," said Jake Laperruque, Center for Democracy & Technology fellow, in a statement to the media.

It remains unknown if the police would have a realistic ability to turn off smartphones, as the authorities would essentially need to hack the phones. Instead, it's more likely the police would temporarily turn off wireless service in select areas, which is what the police did during protests in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2011.

Michael Hatamoto

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Michael Hatamoto

An experienced tech journalist and marketing specialist, Michael joins TweakTown looking to cover everything from consumer electronics to enterprise cloud technology. A former Staff Writer at DailyTech, Michael is now the West Coast News Editor and will contribute news stories on a daily basis. In addition to contributing here, Michael also runs his own tech blog, AlamedaTech.com, while he looks to remain busy in the tech world.

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