Hours following the blasts at the Boston Marathon finish line Monday (April 15), cellular networks buckled under the pressure of tens of thousands of people using their phones to call loved ones. Soon to follow were news reports that cellphone service was shut down intentionally to prevent possible remote detonations of further bombs using cellphones.

CellPhone_No_Data_Boston_Marathon

Boston Twitter user @BitsByBike tweeted what appears to be a screenshot of his smartphone just after the bomb blast in Boston showing his data service is blocked.

These reports were quickly debunked by wireless carriers AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon, which countered that cellphone networks were strained from congestion but were never shut down. Boston law enforcement officials did not return our multiple calls asking whether cellular networks were intentionally disrupted on Monday.

Verizon issued the statement: “Verizon Wireless has not been asked by any government agency to turn down its wireless service.” However, both Verizon and AT&T representatives said they had no comment when we asked if they ever have in the past or ever would in the future shut down cellular service based on a law-enforcement request.

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