Thursday, November 10, 2005

Get out your tin foil hats! Is the government jamming garage door openers?

Recently Boing Boing pointed out that garage door openers have not been working in Ottawa due to a mysterious radio jamming signal. This is a topic new and dear to my heart because I am certainly not going to get out of may car to open my garage door. It's un-American (uh, un-Canadian). It's also a great story that combines paranoia about radio signals and government control of the basic niceties of our lives (open, garage door, open!) with incomplete journalism.

The CBC article points out that the garage doors work on a similar frequency to some US military systems.
The signal was being transmitted at 390 megahertz, a U.S. military frequency used by the Pentagon's new Land Mobile Radio System. The same frequency is used by garage doors openers, which started to malfunction around the city about almost two weeks ago. A similar problem has popped up around military bases in the States.
By the time anyone could get to the area to track the signal it was gone, but mysteriously:
The powerful radio signal causing the problem stopped transmitting on Thursday afternoon, around the time CBC News contacted the U.S. Embassy to ask if it knew anything about it.
Correlation is not causation. I do like to write that, but in this case I can believe the interference is actually causing the failure. The issue is that this article and an earlier news article more than hints that it was the embassy broadcasting and that it stopped when people complained, without any evidence, but with the required government denial of activity.
The U.S. Embassy denies any transmissions on that frequency. So does the Canadian military.
These modern times have taught us that denial is admission, but couldn't the paper have found someone who actually has evidence of the broadcast location or done a little more than report accusations and innuendo. I do love a good conspiracy theory combined with lazy reporting.

Speaking of conspiracy theories, my tin foil hat keeps out their transmissions but it is so crinkly and loud when I try to lay down to sleep.

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