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FCC Issues Forfeiture Notices to Two Business for Jamming Cellular Frequencies

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the don't-mess-with-the-fcc dept.

Wireless Networking 350

An anonymous reader writes "The FCC, responding to anonymous complaints that cell phone jamming was occurring at two businesses, investigated and issued each a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture and Order (NAL). You can read the details of the investigation and calculation of the apparent liability in each notice below. Businesses engaged in similar illegal activity should note the public safety concerns and associated fines. From the article: 'The FCC issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture and Order to each business: The Supply Room received an NAL in the amount of $144,000 (FCC No. 13-47), while Taylor Oilfield Manufacturing received an NAL in the amount of $126,000 (FCC No, 13-46).'"

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Tip of the iceberg (3, Interesting)

johnny5555 (2843249) | about a year ago | (#43457883)

Seems like a LOT of businesses do this, unless it's a coincidence that I lose service right after stepping inside tons of different stores.

Re:Tip of the iceberg (5, Insightful)

jamiedolan (1743242) | about a year ago | (#43457927)

Many commercial buildings have a lot of steal in the structure / roof which is very difficult for higher frequency radio waves to penetrate. (Concrete and block are also difficult for many signals to penetrate) I highly doubt most stores are actively blocking your signal, however many are very likely "passively blocking" phone signals due to the commonly used construction materials in commercial buildings.

Re:Tip of the iceberg (1, Insightful)

johnny5555 (2843249) | about a year ago | (#43457947)

I'm sure that's true in many cases -- but I still think there are a lot more businesses out there jamming signals than we realize.

Re:Tip of the iceberg (5, Interesting)

mcmonkey (96054) | about a year ago | (#43458329)

And yet none of those businesses are theaters.

You really think jamming is widespread, except in places where you'd want it?

Re:Tip of the iceberg (4, Insightful)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | about a year ago | (#43458367)

Using a cell phone in a movie theater annoys customers who have already paid. Using a cell phone in a department store may convince you that you should spend your money elsewhere.

Guess who is going to spend money jamming.

Re:Tip of the iceberg (2)

johnny5555 (2843249) | about a year ago | (#43458399)

Exactly. Especially with smartphone features like the Amazon.com app, where you can scan a UPC or take a picture of a product, and it shows you Amazon's (almost definitely lower) price for the same product.

Re:Tip of the iceberg (2)

cheater512 (783349) | about a year ago | (#43458511)

In Australia I know of one theatre which I swear must be blocking.

It is between the food court and a exit.
At the exit you get full signal, in the food court you also get full signal.
Walk a couple of metres in to the theatre and you are suddenly down to 1 bar - on multiple frequencies too! (both 2G and 3G)
I did some basic triangulation and figured out roughly where the jammer was. You'd need a frequency analyser to prove it though.

Re:Tip of the iceberg (4, Funny)

DavidRawling (864446) | about a year ago | (#43458153)

Many commercial buildings have a lot of steal in the structure / roof ...

Ah, so that's why I can never figure out where all my money goes!

Re:Tip of the iceberg (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#43458427)

"Ah, so that's why I can never figure out where all my money goes!"

Yep. That's why they jam the cell phones. Makes the steal that much easier.

Re:Tip of the iceberg (2)

Sipper (462582) | about a year ago | (#43458287)

...however many are very likely "passively blocking" phone signals due to the commonly used construction materials in commercial buildings.

Instead of "passively blocking", I think you mean "shielding". As in a " Faraday cage". This doesn't hamper signals outside of the structure.

Re:Tip of the iceberg (4, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#43458457)

"Instead of "passively blocking", I think you mean "shielding". As in a " Faraday cage". This doesn't hamper signals outside of the structure."

It's mostly due to bad reflections, interference, and simple attenuation. Unless a building is entirely steel clad, modern buildings make terrible Faraday cages.

Even with steel studs at 18" centers, that's more than 3 times the wavelength of 2GHz signals. Aside from studs, beams and girders and the like, even in a building with a lot of them, are nowhere near close enough to make a Faraday cage at those wavelengths.

Re:Tip of the iceberg (5, Insightful)

verifine (685231) | about a year ago | (#43457945)

If your business has a steel roof, that's what's doing the jamming. I have no problem if there's a legitimate reason to SCREEN cell phone emissions. You do that by lining your walls with some kind of "chicken wire" appropriate for the frequency the offenders are trying to transmit on.

Funny how this transfers the cost of cell phone use denial to the business that wishes to deny it, and how appropriate. The idea of employing jammers, simply ridiculous. I hear it as the cheapest way to deal with a perceived problem. If you can't motivate your employees, that's not MY problem (should I unwittingly venture onto your property.) Seems to me that denial of 911 access alone would put any of these guardians of all freedom into a painful legal situation.

A-holes on cell phones are the same a-holes that have plagued society since time immemorial. Trying to counter a perceived RF threat with more RF is a strategy destined to failure.

Re:Tip of the iceberg (5, Interesting)

KGIII (973947) | about a year ago | (#43458461)

All of what you said is true but it made me think...

Should you have a right to use a radio on my property?

I don't own the spectrum, I don't own the device, I simply own the land. Should I be allowed to block RF (regardless of how beneficial this plan may be, no matter how ineffective, etc - we're simply concerned with rights and not efficacy) on my land?

This is different than a place of employment and I'm not speaking of places generally open to the public. I'm strictly speaking about my property - we can even limit it specifically to an area centralized around my living quarters so as to avoid any blocking from overlapping onto neighboring property. There is no situation where ones blocking should be allowed to impact neighboring property.

Now, I can't think of a legitimate reason to block RF on my land or anything like that - but that's not the point. It seems that I tend to take a rather heavy handed approach when it comes to personal freedom and property rights.

I'm not attempting to be negative nor am I attempting to start an argument. I am unsure of what to think and thus my question - I really don't know. As the spectrum is considered communal property and is regulated as such there is the argument that restricting someone's right to their property (the spectrum they're allowed to use legally) is wrong. Yet, for some unknown reason, one may wish to prevent people from using a ham radio, CB, etc on their property and actively seek to block it. Should they be allowed to do so? Should they be allowed the right to prohibit radio communication from their property?

I don't really know - I am leaning towards a, "Yes, they should be allowed to block it on their own private property while assuring that none of their blocking methods impact any portion of neighboring property." Again, I can't think of any logical reason why someone would want to block that so I'm mostly curious as to your (and other people's) opinion on where the line should be drawn.

In fact, all I can picture is some hillbilly drawling out that he "doesn't want none of your radio frequency being utilized on this here property." It's ridiculous at face value but the question remains the same where freedoms are concerned.

Also... We already have national radio quiet zones where anything of the sort is expressly forbidden but I don't think that the reasons they are allowed to enact such regulations apply to private property very well and they aren't actually blocking RF so the two aren't really related. *just wanted to cover that to avoid potential confusion*

Anyhow, yeah - it made me think. I'm unsure and I'm sure I haven't considered everything. Thoughts?

Re:Tip of the iceberg (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#43458471)

Passive reflection and "screening", as you put it, are not even close to the same as "jamming". They're just not the same things. Jamming is something you pretty much have to do actively and on purpose.

It should be legal (1, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#43457891)

I think cell phone jamming should be legal. Companies should be allowed to apply for permits to have them and use them reasonably. Theaters are the obvious place, and jails are a second good place. Using a cell phone jammer as a tester is extremely useful as well, and much easier to use than a faraday cage.

And before you talk about doctors or someone who needs a constant connection, well, there are buildings I know of that don't receive cell signals because of their construction. They've been that way for decades, and doctors have learned to cope. They can deal with theaters, too.

Re:It should be legal (5, Insightful)

ADRA (37398) | about a year ago | (#43457961)

Waits for the first 911 blocked lawsuit to happen in 5, 4, 3 ...

Re:It should be legal (2)

ThomasBHardy (827616) | about a year ago | (#43458009)

There are devices on the market that block cell traffic except for 911 calls.

Re:It should be legal (5, Informative)

chromaexcursion (2047080) | about a year ago | (#43458109)

Not that any business could buy.
They are part of the cellular infrastructure.

Re:It should be legal (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43458261)

I'm an RF engineer. The device that can decode 2G (GSM and CDMA) , 3G, and LTE signals, understand which are 911 and block the rest, is called a celltower.

The radios and brains to do all three consistently correctly for the full bandwidth of available spectrum would be a toy with a price tag comfortably into the 5 digit range.

Re:It should be legal (1)

KGIII (973947) | about a year ago | (#43458507)

A couple of points to play the Devil's Advocate...

5 digits isn't that much as a rare business expense. The benefit (say a theater) in providing the service may well pay for itself.

As time goes by and as more companies bought these devices the price could drop due to manufacturing scale.

Re:It should be legal (0, Troll)

ArchieBunker (132337) | about a year ago | (#43458169)

What happened before cell phones were invented?

Re:It should be legal (5, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | about a year ago | (#43458231)

What happened before modern medicine was invented?

If someone dies you can't say "Well, once upon a time they would have died anyways so its not a problem."

Re:It should be legal (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43458347)

I'll tell you what... I could, as a 15 year old, walk suburban streets with a .22 rifle to go target shooting in the hills without fear of being shot by the cops or having my parents hauled away for child neglect.

Things have changed (but not really)... and when it this current civilization collapses, as many have in the past, there will be a period of time, in the future when things are fine again... until the next round.

Re:It should be legal (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43458417)

lol tea bagger i presume

Re:It should be legal (1)

Skynyrd (25155) | about a year ago | (#43458383)

We would never have sensible laws, but I would love to see a voluntary "cell signal ban" at various locations & put up a sign that makes it clear that your electronics won't work.

1) Pass a law that makes it legal.
2) Pass a law that if a posted sign meets certain criteria, no lawsuits can file.
3) Rid the gene pool of anybody who sues.

Re:It should be legal (3, Insightful)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | about a year ago | (#43457981)

In the U.S., you can apply for a permit from the FCC to use jammers. The issue here is that these companies did not, but were jamming anyways.

Re:It should be legal (2)

speedlaw (878924) | about a year ago | (#43458019)

Sure, but you have to be the CIA to get one.

Re:It should be legal (4, Informative)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year ago | (#43458029)

Are you sure? I did a little research and found this:

http://transition.fcc.gov/eb/jammerenforcement/jamfaq.pdf [fcc.gov]

"Jamming devices, however, are ineligible to receive a grant of equipment authorization
from the FCC or an FCC ID. (The FCCâ(TM)s Office of Engineering and Technology oversees
the authorization of non-jamming equipment that uses the radio frequency spectrum.
More information is available at http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/equipmentauthorization. [fcc.gov] ) "

Re:It should be legal (1)

chromaexcursion (2047080) | about a year ago | (#43458095)

No you can't.
but you can get on illegally.
Big difference

Re:It should be legal (2)

BrokenHalo (565198) | about a year ago | (#43458467)

By way of an alternative that won't get you into trouble, I was told once by a Telstra RF tech that one of the most intractable problems he had encountered with cellphone reception had been in a small pine forest. Apparently (he supposed) the pine needles form some sort of diffraction grating that make reception really difficult.

Re:It should be legal (2)

bl968 (190792) | about a year ago | (#43458209)

The problem is the jamming doesn't stop at their walls and can negatively affect people who have the right to use their cellphones. Under the part 15 requirements issued by the FCC, (1) this device may not cause harmful interference, and (2) this device must accept any interference received, including interference that may cause undesired operation.

Re:It should be legal (1)

KGIII (973947) | about a year ago | (#43458525)

Do you have a right to use your cellphone everywhere you wish?

Should you?

I don't really know but I think it is a question that should be discussed.

Re:It should be legal (3, Insightful)

jklovanc (1603149) | about a year ago | (#43458221)

The issue is that jammer signals are not restricted to the building they are in. Radio waves will spill out and cause interference with cell phones of people who have nothing to do with the business owning the jammers.

Re:It should be legal (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#43458397)

Then let someone outside the premise lodge the complaint. From what I could see, he complaints were only from those within the business.

Re:It should be legal (1)

PhotoJim (813785) | about a year ago | (#43458267)

As long as their jamming signal doesn't leave their building and bleed into other properties, I don't have a problem with it either. The problem is that that is very hard to guarantee.

Re:It should be legal (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#43458407)

You can never "guarantee" anything. You can set up a transmitter to have a low likelihood of negative effects, but that's not the same thing.

Re:It should be legal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43458309)

So you think you should have the right to broadcast on any frequency you choose. Sounds like a recipe for a breakdown of all wireless communication.

Re:It should be legal (1)

GumphMaster (772693) | about a year ago | (#43458317)

... and jails are a second good place.

Seems you and the Australian authorities are on the same wavelength (or perhaps not): Phone jamming trial to start in Lithgow [abc.net.au] .

Re:It should be legal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43458341)

No, no, no, no. no! Jamming cell phone signals should be illegal under ALL circumstances unless the phone's signal itself can interfere with devices such as heart-lung machines in a hospital. That is a special case, and should be clearly announced with significant signage.

So, what happens when a doctor or law enforcement agent is in one of these establishments and they lose coverage when an emergency requiring their IMMEDIATE response occurs? People die, crimes get committed, the public is hurt. As noted, there are places where cell phones should be shut off, but NOT in normal places of commerce, offices, theaters, etc.

Re:It should be legal (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#43458425)

Why isn't the solution to be having jamming be legal, and require signs indicating the jamming and zones jammed so that a doctor could elect to not enter the jamming zone, if they so chose? Or have the jammers be set up on exact frequencies, rather than wide-band. Wide-band are used primarily because they are illegal, so why play nice? Legal ones would use narrow jamming, so that pagers and police radio would be unaffected.

Re:It should be legal (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#43458429)

Sorry dude, there are already buildings that block cell signal because of their construction materials. It's totally legal and doctors somehow have learned to deal with it.

Re:It should be legal (1)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | about a year ago | (#43458377)

I think cell phone jamming should be legal. Companies should be allowed to apply for permits to have them and use them reasonably

As long as I get to decide what's reasonable.

Re:It should be legal (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#43458413)

I don't know who you are to personally decide what is reasonable, but that is what the FCC is for. They can come up with conservative rules for limiting bleed over into neighboring properties. This should be especially easy to do for prisons, who have a distance to their neighbors anyway.

Also, there have been times I would have been willing to go into the wilderness if it meant I could use a jammer for testing.

Re:It should be legal (1)

The Cisco Kid (31490) | about a year ago | (#43458385)

Yes, because if theres a fire in the theater, or someone's having a heart attack, we wouldnt want anyone to be able to call 911.

How about this - about the theaters just kick any individuals that are disturbing other movies goers?

And as far as jails, I say the jail should have a special cell/tower that they can monitor. Prisoners should be physically denied possesion of cellphones. Those caught with them would be subject to appropriate penalties.

Take action against the INDIVIDUAL that is causing a problem, don't punish everyone for the transgressions of the few.

Re:It should be legal (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about a year ago | (#43458391)

Cell phone jamming, is the active act of transmitting a signal on a bandwidth that you did not pay for and have no right to. This is completely different to cell phone transmission blocking. Glass windows are the biggest culprit for allowing signals through so mesh over windows. Roofs are arbitrary due to alignment to signal, excluding of course step pitched roofs. External walls require a suitable grounded mesh set in render or internal plasterboard removed and the grounded mesh placed there and the plasterboard replaced, either that or a second layer of plasterboard over the grounded mesh.

You can clearly see that legally blocking a signal is far more expensive than illegally jamming a signal, not so bad if specifically done during original construction. Cell phone jamming can never be legal unless that right is purchased back off the buyers of those portions of bandwidth.

Re:It should be legal (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#43458479)

Cell phone jamming can never be legal unless that right is purchased back off the buyers of those portions of bandwidth.

Or we can just change the law so that people are allowed to jam cell signals in certain cases. That is something that can be done, we can change the law.

Re:It should be legal (1)

KGIII (973947) | about a year ago | (#43458487)

I hadn't read your post when I posted this:

http://mobile.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3651639&cid=43458461 [slashdot.org]

It's some interesting mental bubble gum. My view is private property though I could see legitimately allowing businesses (with posted signs/notification) to do so so long as their blocking methods in no way impact neighboring property. As for the 911 argument, there are other methods of contacting emergency services, areas with no cell phone reception, and it is a moot point in my opinion.

I wish I'd read your post prior to posting mine. I'd have placed it differently though it was their post that made me ponder...

Re:It should be legal (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#43458489)

"I think cell phone jamming should be legal."

If you have an indoor business, there is absolutely no reason to "jam" signals. You can block and ground them instead with a Faraday cage. Just make sure your walls and ceilings are lined with chickenwire (should work fine for cell phone frequencies), and make sure it is all grounded. Voila. Cell phone no worky.

There is a very big difference between BLOCKING cell phone signals and jamming them. Blocking is legal. Jamming is not.

Re:It should be legal (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#43458499)

I should have stated that cell phone jamming is illegal without a permit. I am pretty sure you can apply to the FCC to do it. I doubt they'd give just anyone a permit though.

Re:It should be legal (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#43458517)

I don't think chickenwire actually works for blocking cell phones. The faraday cages I've used have had much smaller holes, and you have to be careful for even something as small as a hole for a power wire which can let in signal. I will test chickenwire sometime in the next few months though to make sure.

FCC=BS (1, Insightful)

adamz_myth (1004088) | about a year ago | (#43457895)

Why don't they just put a damn payphone in each place and leave us in peace to eat or be entertained instead of being interrupted by some idiot yammering on and on with his/her stupid little talking device?

Re:FCC=BS (2)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year ago | (#43457905)

Why don't they just put a damn payphone in each place and leave us in peace to eat or be entertained instead of being interrupted by some idiot yammering on and on with his/her stupid little talking device?

?? As opposed to yammering on and on with his/her dinner companion?

Re:FCC=BS (2)

johnny5555 (2843249) | about a year ago | (#43457939)

Cell phone conversations are more annoying to people because our brains keeps trying to figure out the other end of the conversation, and make the conversation seem louder. http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/health/2013/03/18/study-proves-that-overhearing-others-phone-conversations-annoying/tmCr9o4wDLm7dmGfdybnYN/story.html [boston.com]

Re:FCC=BS (2)

ThomasBHardy (827616) | about a year ago | (#43458003)

The study you quote did not draw the conclusion you assert.

"We didn't study why cellphone conversations are more distracting,"

The difference could easily have been tonal or volume differences of one person on a cell phone versus two people speaking face to face. They stated that they need to do further research to find the cause.

Re:FCC=BS (1)

johnny5555 (2843249) | about a year ago | (#43458023)

I must have been thinking of a different study, there have been multiple studies on this subject. Either way, it confirms that cellphone conversations are more annoying than face-to-face, which was my point.

Re:FCC=BS (1)

ThomasBHardy (827616) | about a year ago | (#43458039)

On this I agree :)

The reason people talk loudly on their cell phones (5, Informative)

the_rajah (749499) | about a year ago | (#43458225)

In contrast to typical land-line phones, cell phones have no "side-tone". Side-tone is the portion of the audio signal from the microphone routed to the receiver (earpiece). By having side-tone we have feedback relating to how loud we're talking and the signal going to the other end. Without the side-tone, there is a natural tendency to talk louder. I don't know why cell phone designers have not incorporated side-tone. The amount of power it would consume is very small.

Re:FCC=BS (2)

ThomasBHardy (827616) | about a year ago | (#43457967)

There's a distinct and audible difference in the normal murmur of a restaurant that easily blends into a sea of ignorable noise.

A person speaking on a cell phone however, easily elevates above the steady noise level and is distinct and highly irritating to many. Do you really feel that it's too much to ask folks to go to a lobby area or step outside to take their call if it's so important?

After 35 years of living in South Florida where everyone you encounter is self-entitled, rude and generally uncaring of their impact on others, we moved to a far quieter, calmer, place where manners prevail and folks care more about those around them. In restaurants, children are generally well behaved, people mostly take calls in the lobby or outside. Is it really so much to ask that people show this level of common courtesy in other locales? Is being in a polite society such a horrid thing to you?

is it really so terrible for people to hope for a place where interactions are between people instead of devices?

Re:FCC=BS (2)

Chibi Merrow (226057) | about a year ago | (#43458101)

If you don't want people talking on cell phones in your restaurant, then post a sign saying no cell phones and kick people out who disobey.

Don't frickin pollute the already crowded electromagnetic spectrum with a white noise generator, grow a damn spine.

Re:FCC=BS (5, Interesting)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | about a year ago | (#43458213)

In my movie theatre, that's exactly what I do. I have a "turn cell phones off" sign in my lobby, and I play a policy trailer saying the same thing (within a little cartoon) before every show. After that, if I see the light from your phone I'll ask you once to turn it off. The second time I'll ask you to come to the lobby with me, and will show you the door when you get there.

I have very little trouble with cell phones in my theatre.

Re:FCC=BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43458295)

I wish more theaters would. But then again, I can't recall the last time that there was a problem in any of the movie screenings I've been to. Ultimately, I prefer to got to theaters that kick people out for disrupting the showing.

Re:FCC=BS (1)

djdanlib (732853) | about a year ago | (#43458325)

Thank you. I am so sick of people texting during movies. Some of them even turn on the keypad tones on their smartphones. What is the protocol for such a situation? I gave up telling them to turn it off, because they just seem to get indignant about it.

Re:FCC=BS (1)

bzipitidoo (647217) | about a year ago | (#43458431)

No refund for people you kick out, I expect. Why don't you confiscate the cell phone for the length of the movie? Or at least, offer that option? And, exercise it the first time? They can always leave if they don't want to check their phones. That way, it's their choice.

When I visit the theater, it's always with others. If I was the offender, and I was subjected to the humiliation of being publicly kicked out, as well as being cheated out of the money I paid for my ticket, everyone would know about it and I'd feel much too ashamed and angry to ever come back. I'd still feel that way even if it was entirely my fault, but more likely it was something so important I have to leave early anyway. You might think "good riddance", and believe that permanently alienating cell phone "abusers" is a public service. But I think your policy is needlessly rude.

Re:FCC=BS (1)

Skynyrd (25155) | about a year ago | (#43458437)

In my movie theatre, that's exactly what I do. I have a "turn cell phones off" sign in my lobby, and I play a policy trailer saying the same thing (within a little cartoon) before every show. After that, if I see the light from your phone I'll ask you once to turn it off. The second time I'll ask you to come to the lobby with me, and will show you the door when you get there.

I have very little trouble with cell phones in my theatre.

Out of curiosity, are you a theater owner or employee?
I've never worked in a theater, but I assume that most people don't make much money. It's rare to see a low wage employee put themselves in a position of potential danger at work - like telling an urban thug to put down his phone, especially if he has friends with him.

How do you deal with a situation like that?

I stopped going to the theater, mostly because of cell phones.

Re:FCC=BS (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#43458445)

My expereince with theaters is:

A posted sign "As this is opening weekend, no seat holding or reserving is allowed, please wait for your entire party before taking your seats."

When I went in and there were few seats available, but one guy saving 10 seats for friends he thinks might be coming, I asked moved towards them, and he was beligerant. I left and talked to the manager. "We avoid conflict" was the answer. I got a refund and left.

That's about all I expect from a business, a worthless sign they don't follow, and no effort to please customers.

Re:FCC=BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43458501)

Oh yeah? Well in USA magnited states of America, you are free! to text! in a theater!

Re:FCC=BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43458105)

After 35 years of living in South Florida where everyone you encounter is self-entitled, rude and generally uncaring of their impact on others, we moved to a far quieter, calmer, place where manners prevail and folks care more about those around them. In restaurants, children are generally well behaved, people mostly take calls in the lobby or outside.

Can you tell me what planet this is? I would like to move there!

Re:FCC=BS (-1, Troll)

AuMatar (183847) | about a year ago | (#43458129)

At a restaurant? Yes, its definitely too much. Because the people I love and care about are 3000 miles away I can't talk to them during dinner while you're laughing obnoxiously with your companion? Fuck you.

Re:FCC=BS (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43458217)

Hey, I paid good money for that companion!

Re:FCC=BS (2)

ThomasBHardy (827616) | about a year ago | (#43458305)

Fault 1: You assume any conversation I have with my table companions must be obnoxious laughing?

Fault 2: you assume you cannot have a conversation with your distant loved ones from a quieter spot such as the lobby or outside where you hear them better and they hear you better and you do not generate irritation in the room around you?

You sir, seem to have some latent hostility creeping out.

Re:FCC=BS (1)

AuMatar (183847) | about a year ago | (#43458421)

1)Since I find people in a group are generally an order of magnitude more annoying than someone talking on a cellphone, yes probably.

2)If you eat in absolute silence, so will I. But if you get to talk, so do I. The fact that I use a cellphone to do so is irrelevant. And if you're about to bring up some bullshit about cellphones being more distracting because you can't hear the other side- you're complaining about me being rude when you're eavesdropping?

Re:FCC=BS (1)

mcmonkey (96054) | about a year ago | (#43458353)

Having a bowel movement is a perfectly natural thing to do. We all do it. There is no reason to be ashamed or embarrassed about it.

But I'd hope that isn't something you'd do in the middle of a busy restaurant.

When you use your cell phone in a restaurant to speak to someone 3000 miles away, you are doing something usually acceptable, but you are doing it in an unacceptable time and place.

Re:FCC=BS (0)

AuMatar (183847) | about a year ago | (#43458405)

No. You don't get to decide when its acceptable or not. I do, and the owner of the establishment does. You can go shove it. But I'll tell you what- if you agree to eat in absolute silence, speaking the absolute minimum to the staff to finish your transaction, I'll do the same. Until then I have the absolute right to talk to whomever I want, just as you do.

Now if I'm yelling into my cellphone, you have the right to ask me to talk at a reasonable volume. But you have no right to prevent me from talking because I choose to do so on a phone.

Re:FCC=BS (0)

Kielistic (1273232) | about a year ago | (#43458167)

You demand the right to not be "irritated" for something that you have no real reasons for defining as irritating but they're the self-entitled ones? Think about that for a moment.

Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL) (1)

luckymutt (996573) | about a year ago | (#43457949)


They really should title it something like: Announcement Notice of Apparent Liability

Re:Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL) (1)

ThomasBHardy (827616) | about a year ago | (#43458055)

/golfclap

This is awesome (1)

onyxruby (118189) | about a year ago | (#43457985)

Things in the public domain (like airwaves) belong to the public and private businesses should not be able to simply decide they want to take away from the public domain just because they feel like it. They can always ask someone with a cell phone who is being an ass to leave their premises if they don't like it.

Now if only other government agencies would respect the public domain for things like formerly copyrighted works that were previously released into the public domain and other a whole host of other things....

Re:This is awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43458091)

If it is in the public domain shouldn't they use like they want in their own buildings/property?

Re:This is awesome (3, Insightful)

epyT-R (613989) | about a year ago | (#43458099)

Unfortunately, the FCC licensing of the spectrum removes the meat of that claim. If the spectrum is publicly owned, the public shouldn't have to pay for licenses to use it however it sees fit. This is similar to socialist countries calling themselves "The Peoples' Republic of...". On paper it's true, but in reality, it's not. If the spectrum were truly open, it would be chaos; completely unusable for all but local communications.

It's the cell customers who are creating a public disturbance with the cell carriers' service and license. If the store is popular, asking people one at a time to hang up takes up too much time. Passive signs don't work either. The best way to handle it is to jam, preferably with a passive 'faraday cage' when possible. If not, then low power jammers should be used. If customers want to use their phones, they have to go outside. If they don't like losing service while shopping, they can go elsewhere.

Re: This is awesome (0)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about a year ago | (#43458229)

You have an incredible misunderstanding of public property. Publicly owned doesn't mean anybody can do whatever he wants whenever he wants.

Re: This is awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43458389)

You have an incredible misunderstanding of public property. Publicly owned doesn't mean anybody can do whatever he wants whenever he wants.

As an example. I pay gas tax/DMV fees and county/city taxes that are used in one way or another to pay for the public road in front of my house. So I (as well as you) own this public road. It does not mean you or I can go 100 mph on this same road that is posted for 25 mph if we want.

Re:This is awesome (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43458321)

I take it you're not familiar with the tragedy of the commons. The FCC exists to regulate the spectrum so that it's actually usable. Without that regulation it's completely unpredictable what exactly you would get, but odds are good that it wouldn't be particularly useful.

Re:This is awesome (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#43458127)

Things in the public domain (like airwaves) belong to the public and private businesses...

Private businesses own the spectrum in question. And other private businesses want to block access to those airwaves on their own property. What you're arguing for is that the government should have the ability to tell you what you can (and cannot) do on your own property with regards to wireless spectrum.

But here's the interesting flip -- if you receive transmissions from, say, DISH Network, and use a secret "pirate" decoder ring to watch the free transmissions coming onto your property, you're a criminal. If your neighbor decides to install a high powered hifi audio system that blocks out your wifi and makes it unusuable, you're told to suck it up. And if they don't encrypt it, you're in a legal gray area... etc., etc.

This isn't a clear-cut issue where either the government controls it, or it's public, or it's private sector. All three have legitimate reasons to want to allow or deny access to this resource on their own properties. Regardless of which side of the debate you're on though, it's clear the FCC is a failure as an administrative body -- their rulings are inconsistent, there is no democratic process or any feedback mechanism the public can use to contest it... it's this oblique governmental body that gets to do whatever the hell it wants with this most precious of resources... and as a result, it's become an oppressive regulatory body that infringes on private citizens' rights on a routine basis.

The forced conversion from analog to digital TV netted the FCC a couple hundred billion in spectrum auctioning to large private businesses while the consumers were forced to upgrade to digital televisions that were later determined to have been significantly marked up as a result of collusion by manufacturers to inflate the price. And where was the FCC when the public was getting raped over a barrel on the costs of a new TV? Busy bundling their analog-to-digital converter program so badly that there should be a permanent monument erected outside their offices entitled "Institutional Incompetence" and showing a consumer having a flatscreen TV shoved sideways into their unmentionables.

That said... people shouldn't be jamming the airwaves... but their interests in restricting the use of certain electronic devices (and by extension, wireless spectrum) on their own property, is something the FCC needs to address.

Re:This is awesome (1)

fredprado (2569351) | about a year ago | (#43458215)

Private businesses own the spectrum in question. And other private businesses want to block access to those airwaves on their own property. What you're arguing for is that the government should have the ability to tell you what you can (and cannot) do on your own property with regards to wireless spectrum.

No, they do not own it. Not in any country I know, including US. The spectrum is not ownable. All the EM spectrum is considered a public resource whose use is controlled by the government. The government can grant concessions for people and companies to use parts of it, but even then those parts are still not their property. You can physically block signals within your property by shielding it, but you cannot do that by emitting any signal without authorization.

Re:This is awesome (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#43458223)

You can physically block signals within your property by shielding it, but you cannot do that by emitting any signal without authorization.

Which neatly avoids the question: Do you have the right to do what you want with wireless transmissions occurring on your property? If not, what are the restrictions, and please justify your answers. Now I don't want you to actually answer that -- it's meant to illustrate that the concept of ownership is relevant here; Whether it's a private citizen, or the government; Anything that can be controlled is, by definition, owned. What I'm asking is... to what degree is ownership shared?

Re:This is awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43458277)

According to the FCC, you do not necessarily have the right to do what you want. Depends on what you want. A fairly simple analogy to the FCC rule is, "An it harm none, do what you will", but it is significantly more difficult to determine whether your RF emission will harm another RF emission than you might think. I've met plenty of EEs who have had trouble with it.

Ownership is shared to the degree the government (with the agents and the weapons, etc) decides it can be shared, unless you can convince a judge/jury otherwise.

Also... "Please justify your answers" to what you insist is a rhetorical question ("I don't want you to actually answer that") is more pointless than this sentence complaining about it.

Interesting coincidence? or purchase tracking? (5, Interesting)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year ago | (#43458027)

Is it just an interesting coincidence that both are being charged with the importation of cell phone jammers and both "The Supply Room" in Oxford Alabama and "Taylor Oilfield Manufacturing" in Broussard Louisiana had
-- 5 cell phone jammers purchased from overseas
-- 4 were in active use at the time of inspection / catching them
-- 1 was a "backup" in storage at the time
-- both were investigated because of an "anonymous call"

I think it's more likely that the FCC started investigating those companies which had done business with the overseas supplier of the cell phone jammers. Wouldn't that make more sense than "anonymous" tipsters?

Re:Interesting coincidence? or purchase tracking? (1)

horm (2802801) | about a year ago | (#43458051)

From what I've read regarding unlicensed broadcasting and pirate radio, it seems that a lot of the FCC's enforcement of RF regulations begins with (anonymous) tips.

Re: Interesting coincidence? or purchase tracking? (1)

Mabhatter (126906) | about a year ago | (#43458207)

The Black Vans with antennas all over phone them in!

Re:Interesting coincidence? or purchase tracking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43458069)

I noticed that too. I wouldn't be surprised if someone got a clients list from whoever is selling them and is going after those who bought more than a few devices, especially if they're going to businesses. FCC could go after someone who bought just one, but probably isn't since there isn't enough money to be made in fines to justify it. Then again, they could have just made one copy of the order then duplicated it, changing names.

Re:Interesting coincidence? or purchase tracking? (4, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | about a year ago | (#43458149)

Annonymous tip= worker who didn't like the policy and found out, or former worker who didn't like the policy or wanted to hurt the company.

Re:Interesting coincidence? or purchase tracking? (1)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year ago | (#43458191)

That makes sense also. But I also think that there's a possibility that they're working off of a sales list from the manufacturer.

Re:Interesting coincidence? or purchase tracking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43458291)

Still sounds like the FCC doing its job. If they want to block cell phones signals so bad they can get a permit and have their setup done properly to ensure no one gets affected that shouldn't be. Or they could just build buildings that naturally block such signals. the "airwaves" as it were are public property protected by the FCC like national parks are by the forest service and it sounds like they are doing their wonderfully.

Re:Interesting coincidence? or purchase tracking? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#43458459)

I'm not sure there's any way to get a cell phone jammer than overseas. For all we know they might have brought them in suitcases.

There is another way (2)

chromaexcursion (2047080) | about a year ago | (#43458089)

Perhaps you've heard of a Faraday cage?

Build a metal box, approximately ... there are some important details
RF doesn't get through.

You can stop RF. It's not that hard. And, you don't need to break the law to do it.

Jammers are illegal in the US. Period.

Re: There is another way (1)

Mabhatter (126906) | about a year ago | (#43458219)

Exactly. A Faraday cage effects exactly YOUR PROPERTY. Jammers typically are turned up until the most "durable" device gets its connection broken.. So many Jammers are effecting their neighbors and people in public spaces.

Not just cellular-affecting (2)

kf4lhp (461232) | about a year ago | (#43458119)

Bad thing about a lot of these jammers is they don't just affect cellular but also the 700 and 800 MHz spectrum used by public safety - firefighters and police. There have been jammers seized by LE where they got out on traffic stops and their radios started showing out of range.

Jammers and Smart Meters? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43458497)

Since some power companies have started to use same/similar technology in SMART power/gas meters (from what little I can find on the net) as digital phones, I wonder of cell jammers themselves can make these meters go deaf? The two models I have seen demo'ed (I of course do NOT own or operate any cell jammers) have a usable range of 10-15 feet in radius maximum. Put one behind the meter in the wall and I bet it would take said meter off-line.

This stemming from the fact said power company did not get written permission from me to operate a unlicensed transmitter on MY property first. ( I do already own high power transmitters on site that ARE licensed by the FCC. Just not for 800 mHz.)

Anyone know?

How is this any different... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43458527)

... than cellphone service getting shut down in Boston?

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