It was embarrassing watching the cell phone industry shoot itself in the foot yesterday. The scene was a public hearing at the New York City Council in downtown Manhattan on a proposal to maintain and make available a list of all new cell phone antenna sites. Predictably, the mobile phone operators oppose the bill (Intro. No.149-A) and the citizen groups are backing it.
Jane Builder, a manager at T-Mobile, called the proposal “anti-business” and “anti-technology,” but there was another reason she did not even want to discuss in a public forum —the security issue. Though Builder kept mum, she had brought along Kathryn Condello who had no problem raising the specter of a terrorist attack on the city’s critical infrastructure. “Since September 11, 2001, we live in a different world,” said Condello. If the bill becomes law, she warned, it would provide “a blueprint for sabotage” with the potential of devastating the City of New York’s telecommunications. Condello was also issuing this overly dramatic —and spurious— warning on behalf of Cingular, Nextel and Sprint.