October 22, 2013
Saturday night, around 8:30 Pacific Standard Time, Time/Warner Cable was knocked out in 3/4 of the state of California according to Cox Cable in San Diego. Before I called Cox Cable to confirm there was an outage, I checked my Macintosh’s laptop’s wireless network to see who else in the area was affected. To my surprise almost everyone (except for a few possible satellite dish Network routers and a few cell phones) had no signal, but amongst the names of devices was to my shock, “NSA Surveillance Network #1492.”
My first thought was that it was annoying that the NSA were beaming a signal from somewhere treating everyone like they were a criminal and violating our 4th Amendment right to not be searched without a warrant, but then I asked myself where is the NSA broadcasting their signal? Was it coming from a satellite, a van, a broadcast tower, or maybe even a drone?
Next, I had to wonder, “Was this something besides a normal outage or equipment failure or was it a test of the Internet Kill Switch?” Under the Department of Homeland Security’s “Emergency Wireless Protocols,” (Standard Operating Procedure 303 or “SOP 303), the federal agency claims the power to shut down all communications, including the Internet, in the event of a national crisis.
Was there a crisis then or was this a dry run of some sort? Not only was California affected, but East Coast Internet outages happened as well from New York to Philadelphia. According to a “report at the Wall Street Journal” the East Coast downtime was due to equipment failure at a hub. However, according to Time/Warner’s outage map outages occurred in almost every major city in the U.S. except the Northwest and most central states.