Cruisers, beware

President Bush has proposed shutting down GPS systems in the event of a catastrophic terrorist attack.

President Bush has ordered plans for temporarily disabling the U.S. network of global positioning satellites during a national crisis to prevent terrorists from using the navigational technology, the White House said Wednesday.

Any shutdown of the network inside the United States would come under only the most remarkable circumstances, said a Bush administration official who spoke to a small group of reporters at the White House on condition of anonymity.

The GPS system is vital to commercial aviation and marine shipping.

The president also instructed the Defense Department to develop plans to disable, in certain areas, an enemy's access to the U.S. navigational satellites and to similar systems operated by others. The European Union is developing a $4.8 billion program, called Galileo.

I understand the reasoning--making it harder for terrorists to navigate--but this could just amplify a disaster to horrifying proportions, especially for those in the air at the time and on cruise ships. As Cory Doctorow says over at Boing Boing: "why not shut down the fire-departments, too, so that terrorists won't be able to survive fires started by careless smoking?"

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