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Away From Home

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Cellphone jamming devices are still illegal

From the Telecommunications Reports daily newsletter:


The FCC clarified [yesterday] that the sale or operation of transmitters that are designed to jam mobile phones is illegal. The agency said it issued a public notice on the issue "in response to multiple inquires." "Anyone involved with such activities may be subject to forfeitures, fines, or even criminal prosecution," the Commission said. It said it has seen advertisements for mobile phone "jammers" that are touted as capable of blocking signals in public places such as commuter trains, theaters, hotels, and restaurants. "Inquires about the use of cellular jammers are often accompanied by comments that the use of wireless phones in public places is disruptive and annoying," the Commission said.


True, this isn't actually news -- the devices have been illegal for a long time. I see that as a good thing. People shouldn't have their cell phones jammed in public places.

2 Comments:

  • I don't know that I agree with that. I think places like government buildings and movie theatres should be able to, since cell phones can be used to take pictures and are disruptive. Also, it won't be long before phones can tape and transmit an entire movie to a remote location, making piracy that much more of a worry. I also think libraries should be allowed to block cell phones because of their disruptive nature. Businesses that have to worry about intellectual property rights are also prime candidates for these sorts of devices, as are health clubs with locker rooms. It all depends on how you look at it. Is a person's right to receive a cell phone call in a crowded theatre or busy library more important than someone else's right to watch the film without interruption or to study? I don't think so. You choose to have a cell phone; you cannot choose to be undisrupted by someone else's phone. The only people I believe have the right to carry cell phones without being jammed are doctors, firemen, and policemen, for obvious reasons.

    By Blogger Mela, at 6/28/2005 08:33:00 PM  

  • Cell phone jamming only blocks communications with the tower. It does not prevent phones from taking pictures or videos.

    At what point do restrictions on what you can and can't do in a public place become heavyhanded? Particularly in government buildings.

    The only comparable restrictions that I can think of offhand are smoking bans. However, those are quickly distinguished. The act of smoking is inherently dangerous to those around you. The act of using a cell phone is not. There's a big difference between "irritating" and "hazardous to your health." Also, it's quite possible to use a cell phone in a public place without bothering anybody -- i.e. text messaging, checking voicemail, or leaving your phone on silent. All of these uses would be barred by a draconian all-out ban on cell use.

    The "it's private property" argument doesn't hold, either, because the property is open for public use. Restrictions already apply that state that a private property owner cannot refuse service on discriminatory grounds. The ban on cell phone jammers is therefore not a novel concept.

    The only people I believe have the right to carry cell phones without being jammed are doctors, firemen, and policemen, for obvious reasons.

    Not feasible to do. While technically possible (do you really want me to get into tech specs?), it would be effectively impossible to implement in practice.

    By Blogger Scott, at 6/29/2005 12:14:00 AM  

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