While it’s not a brand new use of SMS text messages to cell phones, it is novel, and it’s suddenly in the front pages of the news: the use of SMS text messages sent to civilians in enemy territory to warn them of an impending attack.
While much of the world yesterday heard or read about the results of the U.N. probe into the conflict in Gaza, and how the U.N. has proclaimed that both Israel and Hamas are guilty of war crimes, an interesting technological fact was offered by Israel in defense of the allegations: in response to the claim that Israel bombed suspected Palestinian strongholds without regard for civilian life, an Israeli spokesperson pointed out that Israel had warned residents of Gaza by sending them SMS messages warning of the impending attacks.
To complicate matters further, there are allegations that on several occasions, the text message warnings were not followed by any actual attacks, leading recipients of the messages to believe that the messages were unreliable.
Whether or not this is true, it raises some interesting points. If you received a text message on your cell phone warning you that your town was about to be bombed, what would you do? Would you believe it?
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