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Feds Grilled on Network Shutdown Procedures

WASHINGTON (CN) - A government watchdog group will get its hands on documents that map out the protocol for shutting down wireless networks in the event of a national crisis.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg ruled that Homeland Security improperly withheld the bulk of its standard operating procedure that governs the shutdown of wireless networks in emergencies to prevent the remote detonation of explosive devices.

The ruling comes in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

Though the judge ordered the release of the protocol with minimal redactions, the prospect of the Department's Standard Operating Procedure 303 falling into the wrong hands did not escape him.

"In reaching its conclusion, the court is not unaware of the potential adverse use to which this information could be put," Boasberg wrote. "Its ruling, furthermore, is no judgment on whether it is in the national interest for SOP 303 to be disclosed. If, in fact, the Government believes release will cause significant harm, it has other options to pursue."

The government's only hope to keep this information under wraps is through congressional action, the judge added.

Boasberg ordered the release of the protocol within 30 days.

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