9/11! Terrorism!

9/11! Terrorism!

Five years ago, I was not yet a college graduate. Now I’m beginning my fourth year of graduate school. I have a masters degree in physics, I’m on my way to a PhD, I’m more or less self sufficient and I am in a stable relationship. I can safely say that I’ve learned much in the last five years.

This cannot be said for the DHS. It is run by a bunch of morons. Take this news peice from today: “Cell phone makers fight resales”. People are buying cheap handsets meant for by-the-minute cell plans and shipping them to foreign countries for resale at higher prices. The US is one of the few places in the world where cell phone companies subsidise the cost of the handset, hoping (rightly) to recoup the cost in the monthly service charges. However, because these phones are sold without a contract, and are not yet activated, there’s no assurance that the person buying the phone will have to make monthly payments. Clearly, and logically, the phone companies are bothered by this.

So why does the DHS care about this? Why, terrorism, of course! 9/11! Terrorism! All these phones could be used for remote detonation devices. Yeah, and so could a Dale Earnhardt Jr. NASCAR® Radio Controlled Car for $9.95 at Radioshack. Seriously folks, if a terrorist wanted a cell phone to detonate a bomb, does he need to buy dozens at once from one store? No. Terrorists want to act on the down low, which means buying perhaps one or two at any one time. They don’t want to attract attention because they’re doing illegal things. The people buying 20 phones at once don’t care about seeming out of the ordinary because they are breaking no laws. It seems the en vogue thing to do that if your business model is in jeopardy, cry “terrorism!” and hope the DHS and their bad logic comes to the rescue. In this case, the DHS proves once again, they are unable to recognize legitimate threats.

2 thoughts on “9/11! Terrorism!

  1. The above is very much a similar phenomenon as the reason why I still have not bought a fancy new high-tech Korean cellphone. While in this case legallity was clearly lacking, foreigners had been coming to Korea, buying subsidised cellphones with long contracts, then just leaving the country – often, I imagine, to resell them. So now, a foreigner cannot buy a cellphone without a substantial deposit, to be returned at the end of the contract. Unless that foreigner has an alien registration card. Since the acquisition of my registration card is moving like LA traffic… still I wait. At least here they blatantly don’t want to lose money, rather than screaming “terrorism!” Anyway, big brother, I don’t think you love freedom with an attitude such as the above. I think you’re letting the terrorists win.

  2. I say that cellphones are a different market than cellphone service, and if we had a Justice Dept worth a crap they’d apply the antitrust laws long on the books and ban all the bizzare cross-subsidization. See for example the bailing machine/bailing wire cases (baling machine mfgs said, buy our machine, you must agree to buy our wire forever). See also Carterphone which ended the AT&T practice of forbidding the use of phones made by anyone other than AT&T. And so on.

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