Cellphones and conflict

Came across an interesting post on Lirneasia on the use of mobiles in conflict zones.

I doubt that the Sri Lankan government will allow cellular service to be available any time soon in the North. But at least it gives the security agencies some food for thought. The Indian government was similarly reluctant to have cellular service in Kashmir, but the Indian security agencies are their biggest proponents now.

3 thoughts on “Cellphones and conflict

  1. Until the ceasefire agreement of January 2002, mobiles were not allowed in the North and East. Within six weeks of the CFA, Dialog started offering services. It is estimated that over 150,000 connections were given in the North and East in 2003 alone. The question is not whether mobiles will be available in the North, but whether the hotting up of Eeelam War IV will result in the shutting down of the already heavily used services. For details see: http://www.lirneasia.net/2006/02/news-release-jaffnaites-spend-up-to-12-of-their-monthly-regular-income-on-telecommunications/

  2. One could argue that in our information age, an intelligent government would keep mobile phone services alive (albeit with a degree surveillance) if only to reach the populations that have access to them. If the mobilisation of popular opinion is necessary in a non-military war to win the hearts and minds of those in the North and the East, SMS / MMS and innovative voice mail services can bring government closer to those who already feel alienated from governance mechanisms. The denial or withdrawal of such services, I fear, will only serve to strengthen the animosity towards the central government.

  3. Another example of ICT and conflict in east timor

    “There has been also a new phenomena of how the telephone, the mobile phone, so effectively used with text messages to scare people to leave the city,” he said.

    “For instance, yesterday, thousands and thousands left the town because of rumours that, with FDTL (East Timor Defence Force) withdrawing from the city, there is going to be a slaughter of people from the eastern region.”

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