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Cell-Phone Wars 992

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the it-was-only-a-matter-of-time dept.
Makarand writes "According to this article in the Houston Chronicle people fed up with cell phone chatter have declared war against cell phones. They are arming themselves with detectors, jammers and other gizmos to defend privacy, security, sanity and blissful silence. Although jamming cell phones is not legal in the US, pocket-sized jammers are available online and even on eBay. Cell-phone jammers typically work by disrupting the communication between handsets and cellular towers by flooding an area with interference or selectively blocking signals by broadcasting on frequencies used by these phones. The FCC has received very few complaints about jammed cell phones and has never taken action against anyone for that violation."
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Cell-Phone Wars

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  • by AndroidCat (229562) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @12:55PM (#8286330) Homepage
    The FCC has received very few complaints about jammed cell phones

    They tried to call and complain, but ...

    • Jammers and Dampers (Score:3, Informative)

      by ldrhcp (748091)
      Though jamming a cell phone is illegal, it is legal to dampen the signal with certain materials. Strategies like this are already employed in some buildings such as theaters, and if this backlash continues we can expect to see damping in many more public places.
      • by tiger99 (725715) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @04:19PM (#8288089)
        Damping as you describe is basically screening, and is never entirely effective. A door or window is much bigger than the cellphone wavelength, the best you can expect is some attenuation, if the whole building is screened, which only makes the mobile and the base station turn up the power level, increasing the health hazard......

        True damping using absorbtion of the signal is well-nigh impossible, even stealth aircraft don't work very well and the process is expensive. It also needs quite a thickness of material at cellphone frequencies. AFAIK, on certain aircraft (where use of a cellphone, even switching it on, is a major safety hazard, and is illegal) there have been experiments with simulated base stations which transmit inside the aircraft (very minimal power required) and will command the phone to turn its transmit power down to minimum. That will of course prevent it frokm accessing any base station outside. A jammer based on that principle could be justified in certain circumstances, but would no doubt need the agreement of the cellular companies and the regulatory authorities. It would also be difficult to accurately control the boundary of its effective area.

        The vast majority of areas where cellphones are banned rely on people being fooled by the signs, and switching them off, because they imagine that they will not work. Still, it seems to work (usually). Fortunately, most of us who know about the probable limitations behave ourselves and switch off anyway.

        • by adolf (21054) <> on Sunday February 15, 2004 @10:45PM (#8290479) Journal
          Is it really that expensive or difficult?

          In my kitchen, I've got a 1.3 kilowatt transmitter. It operates at ~2.4GHz (which isn't very far removed from modern cellular frequencies). There is a screen on the front of the thing that seems to do a good job of keeping the RF from escaping (my nose hasn't gone necrotic from years of watching microwaves cook food) - and I can -see- through it! I can't possibly imagine that the screen contributed substantially to the cost of my microwave.

          Therefore, effective shielding is not only readily achievable, but is also relatively inexpensive and already in common use.

          Luckily, your short-sighted prose on the operation of stealth aircraft leaves little doubt that you're a dim-witted moron, and just spreading FUD. (RF fud, but FUD nonetheless.)

          I hope you haven't fooled too many people.

      • by ElNeo (166880) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @04:57PM (#8288363)
        I do really not see the point with jamming or materials for damping the signal - this is a social problem!

        In Norway, as in most of Europe, cell-phones is very common. You would need to look hard to find anyone beyond the age 13 that does not have one. In the beginning there was some problems with people talking everywere, kids sending SMS to each other in class and stuff, but this has been solved by other means then jamming!

        Nobody would ever recive, and take the call in a theater. Kids are not allowed to use cells at school. Trains have "Quiet-wagons", where you are not allowed to use your cell-phone. On the Subway, there are no quiet-wagons, but people would seldom take long conversations here - cells are usaually used for quick calls or SMS/WAP.
        • In the US (Score:5, Insightful)

          by jobugeek (466084) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @05:46PM (#8288680) Homepage
          Unfortunately, in the US people regard freedom as complete and that includes being rude and inconsiderate.

          I don't know if everyone has just decided they are more important than everyone else or if they just don't care, but it seems to get a little worse every year. From people talking on a cell phone in a theather to road rage.

  • by DarthAle (83736) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @12:57PM (#8286341)
    ...just wait until someone blocks a 911 call.
    • by jaiger (166690) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @01:02PM (#8286393) Homepage Journal
      If the 911 call doesn't go through, how will anyone know that it was blocked?

      Even the 911 caller would likely not distinguish a blocked/jammed call from a normal "no service" area. My assumption is that a jammed call appears as "no service" to the handset. After all, it can't communicate with the tower.

      This is an interesting point however.

    • ... or someone's homemade jammer (i.e. broadband, so doesn't only block cellphone frequencies) is found to be blocking emergency services/military/air traffic control transmissions.
    • by mugnyte (203225) * on Sunday February 15, 2004 @01:42PM (#8286797) Journal
      nice, second mod5 in the comments at the moment. but this theme gets kicked around every time the concept of blocking cell phones comes up: what about blocking emergency calls!?

      look, owning a cell phone is not an entitlement to communication through it, anywhere, anytime. if your cell phone doesn't work, and you feel it's blocked because of one of these tools, AND you are having an emergency, do what prior tech solved in sucessive order : find a stranger to help, find a payphone, run and get help. it's that simple.

      i've been in a few emergencies and having a cell phone may have gotten people there more quickly (moutaineering), but for the most part they are abused by scared newbies. i've waited immobilized for a few hours for the helicopters to arrive myself. anecdotes aside, i don't recall any evidence that more cell phone emergency calls are anything more than a conveinence. they don't really seem to make the difference between life and death. if they do, then relying on one is a foolish mistake akin to causing the accident in part.

      i've not seen any court cases where people sued a cell phone provider because they did not work adequately in a time of emergency. on the contrary, during large emergencies, cell phone networks seem to be the first to overload.

      • by Ralph Wiggam (22354) * on Sunday February 15, 2004 @01:59PM (#8286987) Homepage
        The biggest factor in determining whether someone will survive a major heart attack is how fast the paramedics arive. The 2 minutes it takes to get outside the jamming range or find a land line phone may be 2 minutes more than someone has.

        The good news is that they're putting automatic defibrilators in airports and malls, which are saving lives everyday.

      • by EvanED (569694) <evaned@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Sunday February 15, 2004 @03:24PM (#8287678)
        "look, owning a cell phone is not an entitlement to communication through it, anywhere, anytime."

        Um, seeing as I'm paying for service that uses public airwaves that everyone has the right to, I would say that I *do* have the right to not having my signal blocked. Completely ignoring the 911 issue, blocking someone's service is theft, plain and simple.
  • Telemetry (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lostchicken (226656) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @12:58PM (#8286351)
    Cellular Telephones aren't just used for idle chatter. Remember, a lot (not most, but not insignificant) of cellular traffic comes from telemetry systems. So, the next call you might jam could be some heart paitent's ECG telling his cardiologist that he's having a heart attack, or somebody's Saab saying that it's airbag has gone off in an accident, or perhaps it is just a cell call, and it's just the hospital trying to get their neurosurgeon in.
    • Re:Telemetry (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DrEldarion (114072) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @01:31PM (#8286689)
      Yes, but try to explain that to these people who think their temporary comfort is more important than the possible needs of anyone else around them.

      While I could understand a church or movie theater doing it (as long as they inform the people going there that they are), people that just carry around jammers so they don't have to listen to others talking on the phone while they ride the train need to be shot. The world does not revolve around you!
      • Re:Telemetry (Score:5, Insightful)

        by pla (258480) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @06:15PM (#8288909) Journal
        Yes, but try to explain that to these people who think their temporary comfort is more important than the possible needs of anyone else around them.

        Curious... I thought humans only came up with the telephone a mere century ago. How ever did we survive for all those millenia before then? No doubt a mystery for the archaeologists.

        people that just carry around jammers so they don't have to listen to others talking on the phone while they ride the train need to be shot. The world does not revolve around you!

        Funny, most of us feel the same way about all the asshats who can't even get off the damned phone to, for example, pay a cashier, place an order at a restaurant, or just plain drive.

        Personally, I would carry a cell jammer, have one at my house, and in both vehicles, regardless of legality, if they didn't cost a few hundred bucks. You can call me "inconsiderate" or "self-centered" all you want, but I have NEVER interrupted a play, or movie, or other public event, merely because I consider myself too important to miss a call. Phones have an "off" switch for a reason. If you don't consider that its default state, I guarantee that you annoy those around you.
    • Re:Telemetry (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Dun Malg (230075) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @01:51PM (#8286893) Homepage
      So, the next call you might jam could be some heart paitent's ECG telling his cardiologist that he's having a heart attack,

      If the cardiologist is far enough away to need telemetry via cellular to tell him about the heart attack, there's nothing he can do about it. Anyone close enough to help is going to see him clutch his left arm and keel over.

      or somebody's Saab saying that it's airbag has gone off in an accident

      Nobody installs a jammer in the middle of nowhere. The only place OnStar (or the like) really needs cellular to report an airbag deployment is the middle of nowhere. Any place you'd find a jammer, you'd find people.

      perhaps it is just a cell call, and it's just the hospital trying to get their neurosurgeon in.

      Hospitals nostly use pagers rather than cell phones to summon on-call physicians. Cell isn't reliable enough.

      • Re:Telemetry (Score:5, Interesting)

        by sphealey (2855) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @03:20PM (#8287647)
        f the cardiologist is far enough away to need telemetry via cellular to tell him about the heart attack, there's nothing he can do about it. Anyone close enough to help is going to see him clutch his left arm and keel over.
        Two weeks ago a private EMS service got off the elevator with a gurney in tow, walked through our office, grabbed one of our employees, and wheeled her out. Their explanation: "she is having a heart attack, although she doesn't know it yet". Pretty weird experience.

        So no, I don't think your rationalization is valid.


        • by toddestan (632714) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @04:27PM (#8288149)
          Two weeks ago a private EMS service got off the elevator with a gurney in tow, walked through our office, grabbed one of our employees, and wheeled her out. Their explanation: "she is having a heart attack, although she doesn't know it yet". Pretty weird experience.

          Sounds pretty scary to me. So did they arrive in black helicopters?
  • Cellphone Overuse (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lithiumfox (736891) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @12:59PM (#8286360) Homepage
    It is apparent that many people do use cell phones a lot. I mean, its convient then going to a payphone. Anyone can contact you anywhere in the world (if you have a good signal), but people use them too much. They should do more of a push to use SMS and it would solve the problem with people talking too much.
  • No action taken (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Peter Cooper (660482) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @12:59PM (#8286363) Homepage Journal
    The FCC has received very few complaints about jammed cell phones and has never taken action against anyone for that violation.

    How could they take action? The people with the jammers keep them in their pockets. And the only reason they're doing it is for the entertainment/proving a point aspect. It's not as if Wal*Mart is mass-installing jammers to stop shoppers talking while shopping, so how would the FCC catch anyone?

    Besides, with the way people move around, service would only appear to be patchy, dropping out as you walk past someone with a jammer, then coming back again. Cellphones do this anyway , so how you would you know what to complain about?

    This is pretty much a non story because it's hard to tell if you're being jammed or if you're just getting a crappy signal. Sure, you shouldn't be blocking cellphone signals, but I can't see how the FCC is going to catch you doing it.
    • by arkanes (521690) <arkanes AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday February 15, 2004 @01:04PM (#8286405) Homepage
      And to me it just makes them even more annoying - people yelling into thier phones and saying "can you hear me?" over and over again are far more obnoxious than people carrying on a normal conversation in a low tone of voice.
    • Re:No action taken (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Cynikal (513328) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @01:50PM (#8286882) Homepage
      yes but how long till they come up with jammer detectors?

      as a cell phone user myself who gets incredibly frustrated when i cant get a signal, i can easily see myself carrying a jammer detector and beating the piss out of anyone i find tampering with my service.

      it could even be prosecuted under the same laws as tcp/ip denial of service is, since in essence you ARE denying me a service that i'm paying for.

  • jammers (Score:5, Funny)

    by happystink (204158) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @12:59PM (#8286364)
    Wow, they sell jammers? That is terrible, so disruptive and bad, it's just wrong. Where do you buy those by the way?
  • by Roofus (15591) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @01:00PM (#8286370) Homepage
    With a swift kick to the nuts!
  • DIY plans? (Score:5, Funny)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @01:01PM (#8286374) Homepage Journal
    While 'warfare' may not be the right answer, Its about time people are fighing back.

    About the only thing i can think of that is more rude, is a SUV driver .. and thats why god made paint balls :)
    • by NineNine (235196) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @01:46PM (#8286828)
      I find children in public to be much, much more offensive than any cell phone could possibly be. I propose that children under the age of 18 not be allowed in public. Who's with me??
  • All is needed... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dabadab (126782) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @01:01PM (#8286382) just to learn some proper manners.
    Don't shout loudly if it bothers people and don't jam other people's cell phones.
  • Cones of silence (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Avihson (689950) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @01:03PM (#8286397)
    Jamming sounds like a great solution at first. but wouldn't Faraday cages be simpler? I drive past a theater that overpowers my FM radio along a few hundred ft stretch of roadway. If they lined the theater with copper foil, it would stop the cell phones and the interference the theater itself is producing.

    Tin foil may be an answer after all...
  • by ToadMan8 (521480) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @01:04PM (#8286409)
    Ah, first the war on drugs, the war on poverty then the war on terror.
    I see we've solved those issues to now have the time to wage war on those annoying annoying people on cellphones.

    I think those people who are complaining must be the people who don't get enough cell calls and feel left out. Amusing as it would be I'll break the fingers of the first person cellphone jamming I see.

    Why is it socially acceptable to talk to people but as soon as the person is separated by a bit of technology is it considered obnoxious and socially unacceptable?
    • by DoorFrame (22108) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @01:13PM (#8286523) Homepage
      Because people on cell phones invariably talk much louder than people having a face to face conversation (where you can accurately gauge an appropriate volume level for conversation based on your partners volume level). That's why.
    • by wideBlueSkies (618979) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @01:23PM (#8286615) Journal
      I see we've solved those issues to now have the time to wage war on those annoying annoying people on cellphones.

      You ever have a guy on a cell phone walk into and knock over your 2 year old daughter? And then yell at her like she did something wrong?

      So his right to use his phone included a right to hurt an innocent baby by not paying attention to where he was walking. And then to act like a big angry 180 pound bully.

      I don't think so. Vanessa's daddy is 6'1" and 250 pounds. The phone guy ended up taking a left jab to his chin and he fall on his ass. Then his phone shattered when it hit the wall between the Frye's and the cigar shop at 85MPH.

      And I got more than one smile and "right on" from passers by. :)

  • by TGK (262438) <KillfileNO@SPAMNephandus.Com> on Sunday February 15, 2004 @01:04PM (#8286410) Homepage Journal
    I've often wondered if this kind of technology might be employed in a legal manner by businesses and other establishments. If enough people take to using these devices the FCC may well bow to public pressure.

    It won't be much later that we'll see restaurants offering "cellular or non-cellular" seating and theaters (both cinematic and live) physically preventing the use of phones in their establishments.

    I welcome it. Cell phones have their uses but are frankly some of the most intrusive devices to penetrate the market as of late. There are barriers of common courtesy that need to remain in place. The person you're standing in front of simply needs to take precedence over the person calling you to let you know orange juice is on sale. The cashier has the right to expect you to pay attention to your purchase. And damnit, I have the right to a dinner in peace.

    • Dinner in peace? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by MorePower (581188) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @02:02PM (#8287016)
      If you want to have dinner in peace, I recomend you eat at home.

      Restaurants are noisy places by nature anyway, with the restaurant's music system playing, couples chatting with eachother, co-workers laughing and joking, single guys hitting on the waitresses, people at the bar cheering or booing at whatever sports thing is on the TV sets, etc.

      Where does this notion that restaurants are innapropriate places for cell-phones come from?
  • by eraser.cpp (711313) * on Sunday February 15, 2004 @01:05PM (#8286414) Homepage
    What we really need is a jammer that will only effect 13 to 17 year old girls.
  • Misleading article (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 15, 2004 @01:06PM (#8286423)
    The 'Safe Haven' system by Iceberg is not a camera phone jammer.

    It's basically a feature that needs to be built into the phone. When it receives a certain signal it disables the camera. Iceberg claim it could be used for laptops and PDA's but neglect to mention that disabling the technology would be trivial for any determined pervert.

    The complaints over camera phones are pretty idiotic anyway. The determined pervert could just use a tiny camera if they really wanted to take photo's anywhere.

    I'm not paying Nokia et al to integrate technology that selectively disables my phone. It reminds me the recent debacle about printers with built in mechanisms to defeat currency copying. I'd rather Nokia and HP spent their time working on useful new features than trying to nursemaid me.

    If you are worried about someone taking your photo in the locker room, that is your problem.
  • by froboy (580500) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @01:08PM (#8286457)
    when you have AT&T's GSM: its like having a legal cell phone jammer at all times!
  • Not cool (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ralph Wiggam (22354) * on Sunday February 15, 2004 @01:08PM (#8286459) Homepage
    My cell phone is on vibrate 24/7. Why should I get jammed? The only good solution is a bluetooth type technology that silences any phone in the area without disabling them.

    Sure some people are inconsiderate jerks. People talk to people sitting next to them in movies all the time. We don't duct tape everyone's mouthes shut on the way in.

    Actually they should have screened the line for Return of the King. If you didn't see the first two movies, you should not have been allowed in. There were people all around me having the first 6 hours of film described to them on the fly.

  • by hillct (230132) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @01:09PM (#8286474) Homepage Journal
    While cell phone jamming in public spaces is illegal, my research suggests that jamming on private property is not illegal. It appears this has never been challenged in court. The big question though is, whether or not it's a good practice.

    I finally relented and got a cell phone vary recently. I (like almsot every other slashdot reader) work in the tech sector 8 hours a day 5 days a week and have revused until recently to bring some of this technology into my home. I don't have cable TV, I don't have an answering machine and until a few weeks ago I didn't have a cell phone.

    I for one, would be in favor of movie theaters jamming cell phones inside the theaters themselves, and any other private institution (museums perhaps) who wish to, being able to legally jam cell frequencies at their discression, within their own premisis. It should be considered no different than banning smoking in facilities on private property. The owners should have discression here, And if cell phone users don't like it they can take their business elsewhere. This will cause the business owners to carefully consider the practice before enguaging in it.

    I do believe that signage should be requires when such jamming is in effect, so patrons would be aware they will be incomunicado while they are within the given facility, such that they can make an informed choice.

    • Being the primary service in the bands they are located, the cell phone providers are entitled to interference protection throughout their service contour, regardless of private property or not. By emitting a signal to purposely interfere, if someone complains, the FCC will likely fine the perpetrator and confiscate the equipment (if they can find him).

      What IS entirely legal however is to design your building such that cell phone signals are unable to penetrate it...For example, by making your building a
    • by LostCluster (625375) * on Sunday February 15, 2004 @01:17PM (#8286553)
      The act of jamming a cell phone is illegal no matter where you are, even on your own property. Simply put, it's transmitting on a licensed frequency without a license to do so.

      Cell phone companies hold the licenses to any frequency being used for cell phones, and that license extends to their subscribers for using the service only. If you're jamming, you don't have permission to transmit on that frequency, and that's where the FCC can come down on you.
  • by juuri (7678) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @01:09PM (#8286479) Homepage
    Jamming cellphones in an area greater than your personal space is incredibly fucking selfish. When you go out in public, you are subject to the social norms of the area you live in. If other people in your city think it is cool to be obnoxious on the cell phone, deal with it, try and change it through non passive-aggressive means or move.

    When I lived in San Francisco I would be amazed when people would get pissed at others for talking in normal tones on cellphones while on the bus. As I told this one old guy who was yelling, "Why don't you yell at the couple in front of her who are talking even louder?!". Personally I don't use my cellphone in crowded places and always keep my ringer off. I don't see why so many people who have vitriol for those who conduct themselves with decent manners.
  • Fun (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Z-MaxX (712880) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @01:10PM (#8286487) Journal
    A couple years ago, I was working in Santa Rosa for a company, developing cell-phone test equipment. There was a nice little Mexican restaurant where the my coworkers liked to eat lunch, across the street from a school.

    The first day I there with them, one of the hardware engineers pulled this thing that looks like a cell phone out of his pocket. He looked at me at said, "Watch this," and pointed toward a guy crossing the street, talking on a cell phone.

    My coworker then pressed a button on his "cell phone" and a second or two later, the man on the street took the phone away from his ear and looked at the display as if to see if the call had been dropped. He put it back to his ear, appeared to say something, and then repeated this sequence a couple of times before giving up.

    The device was a jammer that my coworker had built into a cell phone case to make it inconspicuous.

    It was pretty funny to see hordes of people rushing around, all looking at their phones trying to figure out what's going on.

    I could only imagine what they were saying: "Hello? Can you hear me now?"

    • Re:Fun (Score:5, Funny)

      by NineNine (235196) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @01:39PM (#8286767)
      Cut to the next scene:

      I see somebody using a cell phone jammer. I tell my friends "watch this". I take a normal looking boot that I happen to be wearing and get it lodged up that guy's ass. It's pretty funny to see the look on that guy's face as he's laying on the pavement in pain. I can only imagine the idiot saying, "What did I do?"
  • by lxt (724570) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @01:13PM (#8286524) Journal
    In the theatre industry we have to think of other creative ways of stopping cellphones even from being switched on (even on silent - as most tech people know, digital cellphones can badly interfere with electronic equipment). Thus, a company does produce a "cellphone detector", picking up cellphone radiation. An automated message can inform people to turn their phones off - failing that, in cases where phones MUST be turned off (live recordings etc) you can refuse to start until all phones are off.
  • by RandBlade (749321) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @01:14PM (#8286530)
    For most people on mobile phones (cell phones) they're used properly, no shouting and no louder than if you're talking with someone who's next to you. I use my mobile regularly and always try to make sure I'm not being disruptive, not in the wrong places (eg libraries) and no shouting. Just because a few people abuse them, does not mean most people do.

    Someone carrying a jammer is being deliberately and obnoxiously selfish. They're worse than the ignorant fools who talk to loudly.
  • by Coolmoe (416032) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @01:15PM (#8286535)
    then this would not be a problem. Society has functioned for many years without cellular technology. If you have an area such as a movie theatre or a classy restaraunt you should be expected to use some judgement and turn it to vibrate or off to go to VM. This is the ideal, but people have shown time and again that this is not in line with reality. I am all for business owners jamming these devices. I think that there ought to be a large sign stating that the devices will not work and to use a land line if you need to make emergency calls. I have seen so many times that people will take calls anywhere and talk completely disregarding your feelings to have a peaceful dinner or watch a movie without hearing about somebodys personal crap. This could be a great niche market for people that want have a peaceful shopping or viewing experience that is uninterupted. I pay money to get away from pagers, cellphones and others screaming kids and I expect that this will not be a problem. If I want the noise of everyday life I will go home or to work. There ought to be a place to get away from this stuff.
  • by cprincipe (100684) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @01:19PM (#8286560) Homepage
    In the West we have now taken the concept of individual freedom to the level of infringing on other people's individual freedoms. It boils down to "My rights are more important than your rights. What I want is more important than what you want."

    Thus we have people jamming cell phones because they think their hate of people talking on cell phones is more important than the need of other people to talk on cell phones.

    However, this hate is created by people who think their right to talk on their cell phones in an inappropriate manner (ie bellowing at a restaurant or talking during a movie) is more important than other people's rights to an enjoyable experience.
  • Legal Way (Score:5, Insightful)

    by silas_moeckel (234313) <silas@dsminc-[ ] ['cor' in gap]> on Sunday February 15, 2004 @01:19PM (#8286568) Homepage
    It's not legal to activly jam Cell phones because your not supposed to be broadcasting on that piece of spectrum. Now anybody that has ever had eletronics 101 should remember a faraday cage and how easy they are to build but let me elaborate:

    Your a Movie Theater and you dont want cell phones or other wireless devices to work so as to not have people gabbing on them during the movie.

    When you build or do any extensive renovation your prbably going to use a lot of drywall if you install a few layers of chicken fence or other suitable fine grid or wire. Make sure the doors are metal (fire code I would think) and that they maintain a good contact to the grid etc etc etc. When the doors are closed yours not going to see an increadable ammount of attenuation to any RF signals with a wavelength longer than the mesh pitch and a good attenuation to most everything else. [] Gives and overview and a link to tempest the DOD's solution to RF leakeage.

    Now you have a movie theater that cell phones dont work in. It would be nice if we could clasify transmision types say via bluetooth since thats a hot new thing on cell phones and have the possibility to ask the phone to switch to silent mode while not affecting paging functions for doctors and other on call critical people that can be assumed to be more responcible than a 15 year old with and "emergency" call.
  • In other news... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by po8 (187055) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @01:21PM (#8286593)

    According to a story in Modern Luddite [] , folks annoyed with the constant noise, danger, pollution and clutter of those damned horseless carriages are arming themselves with sugar for gas tanks, spike strips, and similar means of improving their lot in life.

    Also, moving beyond the portable, folks annoyed with the whirring and buzzing, bright lights, heat and refrigeration of electrical devices in general are using wire cutters, shorting busbars, and plowing cars into power poles in an attempt to regain the peace, sanity, and universal happiness of a pre-electrical world.

    Jerks like this should go live in Colonial Williamsburg []. Let the rest of us get on with the 21st Century, where we can talk to our friends and business associates anytime with just the push of a button. Not that it's a Utopia [] or anything, but...well, yeah, in at least this one aspect it kind of is.

  • by Mr. Darl McBride (704524) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @01:22PM (#8286603)
    Public schools in Hoffman Estates, IL use jammers to keep students off of phones and undistracted during school hours. Houses next to schools can't use cell phones for much of the day, but despite a few complaints, the policy continues. In one case, students parents actually offered to pay for a land line for an affected party.

    If it's illegal, there seems to be an exception when government institutions are doing it.

  • I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ajagci (737734) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @01:49PM (#8286869)
    First of all, I should say that I don't actually use my cell phone in restaurants or close to other people just because it is so disapproved of.

    But, frankly, I think this dislike of cell phones is irrational and itself annoying. People talk to other people everywhere, often in loud or annoying voices. It makes no difference to me whether someone talks into a cell phone or to someone across from them; at least, when they talk into a cell phone, I don't need to hear the responses.

    I'm beginning to suspect that what really annoys people about public cell phone usage is that they are missing out on half of conversation that they would really like to listen in on in its entirety.
    • Re:I don't get it (Score:4, Insightful)

      by misterpies (632880) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @03:51PM (#8287893)

      Something else I find very rude is the way a phone call gets priority over anything else competing for the recipient's attention. Such as a conversation with me, for instance.

      Say you're talking to a friend. Wouldn't you think it was incredibly rude if someone else, who you don't even know, came along, butted in and started his own new conversation, expecting you to wait? Wouldn't you think your friend pretty rude for cutting you out, too? But that's how it always is with phone calls. I think that if you're talking to someone and the phone rings, you shouldn't answer it (unless you're expecting a call). Everyone now has caller id and/or voicemail so there's no worry about missing the message.

      Of course this is a gripe about the way we use phones in general, not just cellphones, but the problem is made much worse. Now you can't even go for a walk/drive with someone without an invisible intruder turning up - you can even have a guest at your own home cut you out!

      Somehow though I have difficulty getting other people to sympathise with me. Last month,when I was with a group of 5 friends on a train, I tried to explain my point of view after one person made the rest of us shut up for 10 minutes so he could hear what is phone-friend was saying. Somehow no-one else thought it was rude (and I was only suggesting that maybe he should go and stand further from us while on the phone so we could get on with what we were talking about before).

      Until most folk improve their manners a lot, I can see why people might want a jammer, though I wouldn't buy one myself.
  • by Gray (5042) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @02:10PM (#8287096)
    It's do what you want nation, but no loud talking.

    In the rest of the world, where cell phones adoption is way higher, this issue is so 1995. Cope and move on, it's progress sucker.
  • by innerweb (721995) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @02:43PM (#8287365)
    My biggest concern with cell phone users are those who insist on carrying on conversations on them while driving (I have the same issues with those who eat, smoke, apply makeup, sleep or anything else that interferes with driving - heck in the Cinci commute, I used to see people getting dressed while driving).

    Most people I know do pull over to use the cell phone when driving. But, there are those idiots out there who think that multi-tasking while driving is a good thing. They should have to commute through the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky bridges on a daily basis, see all the accidents that happen. Maybe witnessing a few deaths will help instill the true meaning of distracted driver.

    Beyond the drivers who use them at the wrong time, the rest are just irritating jerks. I always take my conversation away from those who might be interrupted by it. That is outside, down the hall, private room. It is called being polite. That aside though, I would be pissed if someone were jamming my cell phone. I think the appropriate action is to ask politely (first time) for a rude cell phone owner to take it elsewhere. If that does not work, we have done everything from turning our own volume up to the point where said arse had to leave to hear to pointedly telling the individual we were not going to put up with their rude interruptions anymore (to which we have actually received applause from those around us). Honestly, such drastic measures are rarely needed, as almost everyone once asked has been polite.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 15, 2004 @03:45PM (#8287851)
    A couple of years ago I was visiting the North rim of the Grand Canyon, when I encountered some prick sitting on a bench in one of the little tourist areas. He was telling some poor gullible woman on the other end of the conversation that he was sitting alone on top of one of those spires in the canyon which he had just finished climbing (not remotely true.)
    He proceeded to tell the woman (I assume it was a woman from his lothario manner, tone, etc,) that the view of the canyon was so beautiful from where he had climbed, that he just had to call and share the experience with her.

    Myself , and others around me heard this bald-faced lie, and we all looked at him and then each other - keep in mind that none of us there knew each other, then we all spontaniously started making background sounds to illustrate to the woman on the other end that this loser was not where he claimed he was. I said something like: "Sir, you're gonna haveta move your car!" Others made similar noise.

    The look he gave us was wonderful. Then he started to explain to the woman that there must be cellphone interference happening.

  • by X86Daddy (446356) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @06:40PM (#8289069) Journal
    ... Yes, there are annoying people who speak very loudly on their cell-phones in restaurants and the like. There are people who answer them in theaters, classes and other "non-talking" environments. There are people who talk on the phone (or to passengers) while driving, and give their talking process a higher attention priority than the driving process.

    However, these are the ones that get noticed. The ones who speak quietly while dining alone in a restaurant or on the subway; the ones who speak on a phone or to other passengers safely while driving; the ones who set the phone to vibe and then surreptitiosly look at the caller ID during a film, class, meeting, etc... these people are not noticed and probably outnumber the annoying ones by far.

    If you jam cellular frequencies, not only are you screwing with all the safety devices already mentioned, but you're screwing with people who are behaving politely and reasonably.

    Would you start spraying febreeze at everyone entering a store because occaisonal patrons come in without having bathed recently? It might help with them, while pissing off people who do behave properly. Jamming makes You the nuisance who should be removed.
  • CDMA can't be jammed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ChrisCampbell47 (181542) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @06:45PM (#8289095)
    [Oh goody, another cell-phone-jamming story that I get to fruitless post this to]

    600+ comments on this story and not a single one mentioning that you can't jam CDMA, which is what SprintPCS and Verizon are. TDMA systems like GSM and AT&T and Cingular? Sure they can be jammed, but not CDMA, and not any of the 3G systems, which are ALL CDMA based.

    CDMA was originally researched and refined by the military for precisely this reason. Because it uses a spread spectrum, a single carrier (or several) can't jam it. You'd need to jam the entire BAND, at a high enough power level, and that is physically impossible. Well, it might be possible with military grade gear, but we're talking huge amounts of power here. You'd need an entire destroyer to carry and power it.

The meat is rotten, but the booze is holding out. Computer translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."