Sunday, October 30, 2005

Community Wireless Emergency Response -- Updates on Our Work & the Lessons Learned. | Katrina: lessons learned

A volunteer community wireless brigade reports from New Orleans

# The rigidity of the 'official' disaster response continues to hamper core mission objectives -- even today. For example, the only supported browser disaster survivors can use to apply for FEMA assistance is IE 6.0 (in violation of the government's own Section 508 accessibility rules)-- you can check out this out for yourself at: FEMA was aware of this problem by September 8th, but has still not fixed the problem -- meaning that Mac users as well as Linux and other OS users will have trouble even gaining access to disaster aid.

# Ad-hoc (wireless) networks were often the first telecommunications infrastructure made available to evacuees, beating out the major providers by days (and often weeks).

# Had a diverse array of telecommunications infrastructures been in place, the cataclysmic failure may have been avoided. In addition, networks that are set up to 'phone home' to central locations/servers are prone to failure when most needed.

# The telecom incumbents are spending a ton of time & energy to obfuscate these issues and are conducting extensive lobbying efforts to spin this tragedy to their own advantage. Especially important to them are preventing the growth of unlicensed spectrum, ad-hoc networking technologies, and bandwidth-sharing infrastructures."

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