Don Bishop 2017-09-30 04:49:16
Hurricanes named Harvey, Irma and Maria battered several states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands with wind and flooding within a month’s time. Reports of cellular telephone service interruptions became numerous: Marie’s effects disabled 1,360 of Puerto Rico’s 1,600 cell towers; flooding caused by Harvey in Harris County, Texas, which includes Houston, stopped 5 percent of cell towers there from working; and Irma’s wind and rain stopped 24 percent of towers in Florida’s Palm Beach County from working. West Palm Beach hosted the HetNet Forum this month. If you’re in the affected areas and you can take time away from recovery efforts, send us your photographs and stories of cell tower outages and repairs. Rural Shakeup Verison Wireless took steps to shed thousands of rural customers in 13 states in an effort to reduce roaming payments it makes to partners in its LTE in Rural America Program. A rural carrier representative told us that many rural customers sign up for Verizon Wireless service in offices distant from their homes, and then use roaming service almost constantly in their home area. “They knew what they were doing,” he said, referring to customers’ desire for unlimited data plans and wireless devices that some rural carriers are not prepared to offer. When Verizon’s payments to its partners for roaming service exceed what its customers pay Verizon, those customers are at risk for losing service through Verizon. Verizon extended an initial service cut-off date of Oct. 1 to Dec. 1, and it is allowing some customers to switch to limited data plans instead of losing Verizon service altogether. When a Cell Tower Is Not The Harris StingRay electronic device that simulates cell sites for the purpose of tracking cellphone users during criminal investigations serves various city, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies. They can be used as portable or mobile devices to take over wireless connections as though they were cell towers. On Sept. 21, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the cell tower emulator cannot be used by law enforcement agencies without first obtaining a warrant based on probable cause. Otherwise, use of the device violates Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches. Whether the restriction will extend beyond the District of Columbia will depend on a possible appeal or congressional action. We generally oppose warrantless covert searches, so the ruling sounds good to us. But when it comes to hidden cell towers, nothing beats a StingRay cellphone surveillance device. Don Bishop, Executive Editor email@example.com
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