Well-meaning proposals sometimes have a way of raising troubling questions. Case in point: A team of wireless researchers in Germany proposed a way to improve the communications abilities of first responders, the brave people who rush into burning houses to save trapped residents or any other disastrous situation you can think of.
But the proposal hinges on something many private citizens and privacy or security advocates will likely find uncomfortable: creating an “emergency switch” that lets government employees disable the security mechanisms in the wireless routers people have set up in their own homes. This would allow first responders to use all the routers within range to enhance the capabilities of the mesh networks that allow them to communicate with each other. In a mesh network, each node or device can route traffic to the other devices on the network through a series of hops. Adding devices (in this case wireless routers) thus improves the network's stability and performance.