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We're Jammin', Hope You Like Jammin' Too

CowboyNeal posted more than 10 years ago | from the peace-and-quiet-devices dept.

Security 422

theodp writes "Slate ponders whether a climate where anything can be photographed or surreptitiously recorded means the once-esoteric world of cell-phone jamming will become mainstream. Sites now offer portable cell-phone jammers that can provide you with the same kind of security bubbles used to thwart industrial spies, hostage-takers and bomb detonators. While actively jamming a cell-phone signal is illegal in the US, a distributor reports most of his sales go to US customers, including universities which use the technology to stop students from diddling away on phones during lectures."

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422 comments

FP????? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7647832)

FP FOR ME?? TODAY??? HUH???

FP (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7647836)

Moo

Signal Jamming? (5, Insightful)

l3prador (700532) | more than 10 years ago | (#7647839)

What? Wouldn't blocking the cell phone signal only prevent the person from sending the picture off? The photograph could still be taken and simply sent later, once the cell phone is away from the jamming signal, right?

Re:Signal Jamming? (3, Interesting)

mellonhead (137423) | more than 10 years ago | (#7647931)


One company, Iceberg Systems, is beta-testing a new technology that will remotely turn off the cameras in cell phones.

Re:Signal Jamming? (1)

l3prador (700532) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648014)

Good catch. It seems to me that turning off the cameras would be a pretty difficult task, wouldn't it? I mean there are many different types of cameras that they would have to block. Would this be something that physically disables the camera or a signal that tells the cell phone to disable the camera or something else?

Safe Haven (4, Informative)

nodwick (716348) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648070)

If you read the fine print (which actually isn't on the product page [icebergsystems.co.uk] as far as I could tell, they say that you have to have an "approved phone". From The Register [theregister.co.uk] :
The snag is that Safe Haven technology needs to be integrated at the time of manufacture into new devices or installed as a Java download update to suitable equipment already in the market.

"You need to have an approved camera," Blagden admitted, adding that the incorporation of Sade Haven technology is unlikely to affect handset prices.

In other words, like most DRM-type schemes, it only works if your camera "supports" this feature. And just like DRM, I don't think it's going to be very popular among consumers -- this is a "feature" that benefits the guy trying to stop the camera user, not the guy buying and paying for the phone. I'd especially think that industrial spies would be smart enough to get a phone that didn't support this.

Cellphones are the Anti-Christ, Cameras in Class (3, Interesting)

BigBlockMopar (191202) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648025)


What? Wouldn't blocking the cell phone signal only prevent the person from sending the picture off? The photograph could still be taken and simply sent later, once the cell phone is away from the jamming signal, right?

This is true. But I don't think that's the primary application of cellphone jammers.

Yeah, well, Beethoven's Fifth, being played through a crappy 2" piezoelectric disk speaker as the ringtone on some Nokia in a movie theater. That's the best reason for jamming that I can come up with. (Why custom ring tones? Don't people know those things sound as stupid as coffee can mufflers on Honda Civics?)

I have had cellphones with work, and was glad to get rid of them when I did. I have no interest in being on an electronic leash, forced to be accountable to someone - somewhere. Or standing in the line-up at Wal*Mart, the ring and promptly following, "Hey, it's me. Whatcha doing? Wanna come over?" (Who is "me"? If I slept with this person, it must not have been very memorable.)

In short, I *hate* cellphones.

Quoting from article: including universities which use the technology to stop students from diddling away on phones during lectures.

Hey, if the student diddles quietly, it's his funeral when his GPA drops and he gets kicked out of school.

Cellphones with integrated digital cameras might have their place, though. I know a university student whose math professor puts excellent and comprehensive notes on the blackboard. So he started to bring a digital camera and a small tripod to class, and takes pictures of each blackboard full of material. He sent me a sample a while ago. [glowingplate.com] An integrated camera/phone would never run out of available internal memory. Personally, copying the notes down would help me remember the material, but whatever works for him... there's a certain style of practical problem solving skill at work there: he's a second-year engineering student; I think I'll have to hire him when he's done. :)

Re:Cellphones are the Anti-Christ, Cameras in Clas (2, Informative)

BigBlockMopar (191202) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648046)


So he started to bring a digital camera and a small tripod to class, and takes pictures of each blackboard full of material.

Oh, I just found another sample [glowingplate.com] . Ugh... more sequences and series; I hated that stuff.

digital cameras (2, Insightful)

23 (68042) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648073)

exactly what I was thinking. And if you're trying to kill corporate espionage in your company, you also need to take care of the wildly available digital cameras (for ~$50 you get a usable one too nowadays).


Does that remotely-switch-off-cellphone-camera-thing also decapitate your regular digital camera? I'd be very surprised (and impressed). Seems like more security snake-oil to me.

Aw man... (5, Funny)

OtakuHawk (682073) | more than 10 years ago | (#7647840)

At first I thought this post had something to do with music!

Re:Aw man... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7647900)

As a representative of the RIAA we request that you here by cease and desist all usage of the word "music". The word "music" is copyright material of the RIAA.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Only a matter of time (1)

grassy_knoll (412409) | more than 10 years ago | (#7647842)

The impetus has been there for a while, but camera phones seem to have brought the idea of cell phone jamming out in the open.

Of course, if all cell phone / radio signals are jammed to protect privacy, perhaps the gold-chain running-suit set will hold meetings in locker rooms rather than doctors / lawyers offices.

Nice. (5, Funny)

The_Unforgiven (521294) | more than 10 years ago | (#7647843)

I wouldn't mind being able to jam phones within, say, 10 feet of me. One of my biggest pet peeves is people on their cell phones. Because, you know, the further away they are, the louder you have to yell into the phone for them to hear you...

Re:Nice. (1)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 10 years ago | (#7647905)

God, tell me about it. It's enough to make me miss the old cell phones, which, oddly enough, were big enough so that they could reach from ear to mouth, without the user having to practically scream into the receiver.

Nothing looks stupider then some college jackass with a cell phone the size of a zippo lighter alternating between holding it at his ear and at his mouth.

Kierthos

Re:Nice. (1)

The_Unforgiven (521294) | more than 10 years ago | (#7647933)

Hey, maybe with those mini-phones, they could hand out one-person cones of silence?

More sound kept iin for the phone, less stupid bullshit chatter for us to hear! /me runs to the patent office...

Re:Nice. (2, Insightful)

gotw (239699) | more than 10 years ago | (#7647988)

Sometimes when people on the other end have a lot of background noise I find myself struggling to hear them and myself shouting. It's just instinct, you feel like you have to shout over their noise. When I realise I stop, but I bet the people who are doing it don't even realise.

Jammer locator... (5, Interesting)

ericspinder (146776) | more than 10 years ago | (#7647844)

so you can leave it out on a restaurant table and no one will know you're the source of the blissful silence in the room
Great so now not only will I need to be sure that I only go to (or even pass through) places which don't jam, but I have to worry about random people as well. I suspect next they'll sell, jammer tracking locators, so that I can find out which jerk thought blocking me from my responsabilities was within their rights. I can only imagine what that type of fight will be called... maybe Jamming Rage?

Jammer locator...Fallout. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7647860)

Maybe this problem would never have gotten started if people had been responsible with their phones to begin with? But no, and here are the consequences.

Re:Jammer locator...Fallout. (1)

rascal1182 (729393) | more than 10 years ago | (#7647929)

Do you really think that cell phone jammers wouldn't be an issue if everyone was responsible with their phones (not that that would be possible; you can't get everyone to be responsible and considerate)?

If only we could get everyone to be responsible with their firearms...

Re:Jammer locator...Fallout. (1)

seafortn (543689) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648045)

Or, people could just have the guts to tell other people to get off the phone if it's inappropriate, instead of spinelessly hiding behind their cell-phone lookalike pocket jammer...

Re:Jammer locator...Fallout. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7648100)

Sure next time one goes off in the cinema I'll grab the perpetrator by the throat and punch them in the face until they apologise for being such an ignorant fuck! A jammer would avoid all this since, s/he's still ruined the film I paid to watch and my actions were still illegal but if it makes you happy...

Re:Jammer locator... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7648002)

And then... and then we'd need jammer locator jammers.. and jammer locator jammer locators!

Re:Jammer locator... (1)

pvt_medic (715692) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648013)

Well in 1999 a man in Germany was beaten to death with a beer bottle all because he was too loud with his cell phone. See beer can solve everything.

Although, according to a report out of Singapore - Drinking beer will not prevent SARS... So i guess it cant solve everything. I feel so disolutioned.

Re:Jammer locator... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7648027)

Yeah, somehow, I don't think that thing will stand up against my radiation-seeking-missile... [navy.mil] . Move away from the jammer now...

mixed bag to be sure (3, Interesting)

The Tyro (247333) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648052)

My first thought when reading this was one of glee... I'd LOVE to jam those dolts that insist on yakking on their cell phones during the movie.

Also, where I work (critical care area of the hospital), cell phones are explicitly forbidden, so this might be useful to keep in my lab coat pocket ("What? your cell phone just cut out? Hmmm... must be interference from our cardiac monitors") Yes, I'm sure their conversation is critically important, but accurate telemetry from my unstable cardiac patients interests me far more than somebody telling their friends which bar they'll be patronizing when they get discharged from my ER. You wouldn't even believe how torqued (even violent) some people can get if you ask them to turn off their phone... it's not like you're telling them to STFU; you're just asking them to take their conversation outside. I have no problem with someone communicating with their family to apprise them of a patient's condition... but we have land-lines for that, folks; you just have to walk ten feet...

Now if they had one that only blocked outgoing calls...

Re:mixed bag to be sure (1)

NDPTAL85 (260093) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648104)

Why is it hospital equipment seems to be even more vulnerable to cell phone signals than airplanes?

I mean has anyone ever read of a documented case where hospital equipment was disrupted by a signal from a cell phone?

We're jammin' (-1, Offtopic)

Pingular (670773) | more than 10 years ago | (#7647845)

Ooh, yeah! All right!
We're jammin':
I wanna jam it wid you.
We're jammin', jammin',
And I hope you like jammin', too.

Ain't no rules, ain't no vow, we can do it anyhow:
I'n'I will see you through,
'Cos everyday we pay the price with a little sacrifice,
Jammin' till the jam is through.

We're jammin' -
To think that jammin' was a thing of the past;
We're jammin',
And I hope this jam is gonna last.

No bullet can stop us now, we neither beg nor we won't bow;
Neither can be bought nor sold.
We all defend the right; Jah - Jah children must unite:
Your life is worth much more than gold.

We're jammin' (jammin', jammin', jammin')
And we're jammin' in the name of the Lord;
We're jammin' (jammin', jammin', jammin'),
We're jammin' right straight from Yah.

Yeh! Holy Mount Zion;
Holy Mount Zion:
Jah sitteth in Mount Zion
And rules all creation.

Yeah, we're - we're jammin' (wotcha-wa),
Wotcha-wa-wa-wa, we're jammin' (wotcha-wa),
See, I wanna jam it wid you
We're jammin' (jammin', jammin', jammin')
I'm jammed: I hope you're jammin', too.

Jam's about my pride and truth I cannot hide
To keep you satisfied.
True love that now exist is the love I can't resist,
So jam by my side.

We're Jammin' (jammin', jammin', jammin'), yeah-eah-eah!
I wanna jam it wid you.
We're jammin', we're jammin', we're jammin', we're jammin',
We're jammin', we're jammin', we're jammin', we're jammin';
Hope you like jammin', too.
We're jammin', we're jammin' (jammin'),
We're jammin', we're jammin' (jammin').
I wanna (I wanna jam it wid you) - I wanna -
I wanna jam wid you now.
Jammin', jammin' (hope you like jammin' too).
Eh-eh! I hope you like jammin', I hope you like jammin',
'Cause (I wanna jam it wid you). I wanna ... wid you.
I like - I hope you - I hope you like jammin', too.
I wanna jam it;
I wanna jam it.

Illegal in the US? (4, Informative)

Trbmxfz (728040) | more than 10 years ago | (#7647846)

Sorry, but we cannot sell this cell phone jammer to UK customers

Apparently, it's not very legal in the UK either :)

Re:Illegal in the US? (1)

trystanu (691619) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648005)

It's all good if you have a valid usage warrant issued by the UK Radiocommunications Agency:

Cell phone jamming equipment is illegal to use in the UK as it violates sections 1 & 13 of the 1949 telegraphy act, we are therefore unable to supply cell phone jammers to any UK customer who does not hold a current & valid usage warrant issued by the UK Radiocommunications Agency. Please note that no exceptions can be made on this policy.

I think (2, Interesting)

RedHatLinux (453603) | more than 10 years ago | (#7647848)

any technology that allows for people to protect their privacy within reason should be allowed and accepted.

Re:I think (1)

grannyknot (604904) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648086)

any technology that allows for people to protect their privacy within reason should be allowed and accepted.

But cellphone jamming won't prevent people from taking pictures of you with their phones and transmitting them later, or recording what you say in a voice memo. Cellphone jamming isn't about privacy - it's about putting the offensive cellphone talker in the same league with the chain smoker. If they need to partake in their addiction, they're more than welcome to do so outside. If you want privacy from personal communication devices, build a HERF gun [dyndns.org] .

On another note, I didn't think that jamming CDMA was possible at such low power. I can understand that GSM (which uses one channel) would be a fairly easy to jam by transmitting noise on the channel, but CDMA uses multiple channels, and the signal gets integrated over time, so random noise should have a nearly negligible effect. I'd imagine that any device that tries to block all of these channels would need to be more powerful and thus far larger and more expensive than its GSM counterpart.

Yes! (4, Interesting)

Feztaa (633745) | more than 10 years ago | (#7647851)

Cell phone jamming should be legalized, and it should become more widespread.

I'd specifically like to see cell-phones jammed in movie theaters, and schools. I'm pretty good about shutting my phone off when I go to these places, but sometimes I forget, and sometimes when I forget, I get calls... it'd be a whole lot easier if the building disabled the phone for me, so I don't have to.

Re:Yes! (3, Interesting)

agentZ (210674) | more than 10 years ago | (#7647888)

But what if somebody is expecting a call about a life-threatening situation? I don't begrudge any emergency room doctor from seeing a movie, but I want their phone to ring if they're needed back at the hospital to put me back together.

Re:Yes! (2, Insightful)

praedor (218403) | more than 10 years ago | (#7647926)

Then perhaps they shouldn't be in the theater. What kind of monster is it that is expecting some important call about some life threatening situation...and still goes to the theater and insists on ruining the experience for everyone else?


Amazing...how we all got by in life VERY WELL without cell phones. People, they are NOT essentially, they are nothing more than a dispensible luxury item. As such, theaters, restaurants, play houses, and classrooms are not acceptable places to be using them. End of story.

Re:Yes! (3, Insightful)

DumbSwede (521261) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648090)

Lots of things were once luxury items, like land-line phones for instance. But society changes, and what is considered a luxury starts to become a necessity. Also for those of us with cell phones, we begin to rely on them once we have them. We don't wait at home if we are expecting an important phone call, but don't know exactly when it will be coming. I guess people that have loved ones that are sick, and await news should never venture from home or hospital. Granted cell phones allow us to make bad choices at times, or be inconsiderate, but I think the good they allow far out ways the bad.

A I stated in another reply, I think the FCC should allocate a courtesy zone signal, but not jamming.

Re:Yes! (2, Insightful)

antiMStroll (664213) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648105)

What kind of monster is it that is expecting some important call about some life threatening situation...and still goes to the theater....

Doctors? What if the life-threatening situation occurs at the theater, like a heart attack? Jam away but it's only a matter of time before someone gets rightfully sued for blocking communication. I'm surprised the cell carriers aren't doing it already.

Re:Yes! (3, Interesting)

Brandon30X (34344) | more than 10 years ago | (#7647972)

The solution for this is something I remeber reading about some time ago. The solution was to have bluetooth transmitters near the entrance that would command your phone to go into a silent mode, and then return to normal when leaving. Personally I would love to see this develope, but I am sure people will resist. Nobody wants their phone to be controlled by someone else.

Re:Yes! (5, Insightful)

Txiasaeia (581598) | more than 10 years ago | (#7647893)

That kind of attitude is pretty lame - "I'm too lazy to remember to turn my cell off; can somebody else do it for me?"

If people like you actually turned off your freaking phones in theatres and at school, maybe jammers as described in the article wouldn't need to exist...

Re:Yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7647987)

Lazy is the new responible.

Re:Yes! (2, Insightful)

gotw (239699) | more than 10 years ago | (#7647923)

If I switch my phone on to silent or vibrate, and divert voice calls to my voicemail there's nothing wrong with me sending or recieving SMS text messages, or browsing WAP should I so wish. Why you'd go to a cinema and then use your phone instead of watching the film I really don't know, and maybe I'm lucky but I've never been bothered by anyone doing so. Mobile phone jamming dosn't stop other sorts of antisocial activity. Kids will still make a lot of noise and throw popcorn at each other, and if a group of drunken idiots decide to make a nuisence of themselves then mobile phone jamming won't help that. There are ushers and managers (and god forbid, maybe your good self) to deal with that sort of thing should they need to. If I can use my phone in the cinema (or anywhere else) without bothering people why can't I? Besides, should there be an emergency I may need that phone.
If people on phones are annoying you, maybe you should tell them.

Re:Yes! (1)

donweel (304991) | more than 10 years ago | (#7647960)

This would be good. Better restaurants could present as a safe haven for a quiet meal. Put a notice on the door and important calls missed at your own risk. Or for a price you could check your phone, and someone will take a message and pass it to you discreetly. I wonder if you could use it to stop those boneheads I see weaving in and out of traffic with a coffee in one hand and cell phone against thier skull.

Re:Yes! , Errr... NO! (1)

DumbSwede (521261) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648015)

Wow, do you want all doctors-on-call to be jammed while you enjoy your movie without a beep to interrupt it. Guess you must go to theaters that don't have other more annoying distractions like noisy kids that parents can't keep quite.

Seriously, reception with cell phones is bad enough without adding totally dead zones on purpose, and of course that jamming won't limit itself to the intended zone, but add unpredictably to the sea of electromagnetic noise around.

I would support the FCC creating a courtesy zone signal on some approved EM band, that causes your phone to shut off, or switch to vibrate, depending on what you set it to.

As for jamming cell phones in schools, why not just a rule no cell phones in schools without prior approval, those exceptions being for children with disabilities, or with parents that are disabled, and may require more communication to make connections, or deal with emergencies? Once again blanket jamming will not discriminate between those with legitimate needs to communicate and those that don't.

No! (1)

seafortn (543689) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648023)

What about people who need cell phones - would you want the attending physician for your wife / brother / etc. to be unreachable when they suddenly have a medical emergency because somebody in the theater doesn't have the guts to stand up and tell someone else to get off the phone, and relies on a pocket jammer instead? (not to mention volunteer firefighters, EMTs, or many other people in the public trust, who also need to be notified during emergencies)

Re:Yes! (1)

niko9 (315647) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648065)

And tell me, oh bright 100w bulb, what is to happen to the physicians, paramedics, OEM personell (office of emergency management) and other people who rely on their cell phones to save your buttocks in a time of crisis?

Alot of these folks phone also double as pagers, where they get text messages during times of emergencies. Also, whose to say that these devices won't jam pagers? What about my EMS radio? Will it get jammed when I'm working up a cardiac arrest and I can't call for a backup? What if my psych patient decides to take a stab at me with his machete? Can you gaurantee my LIFE that these jammers won't interfere with my emergency communcations?

What happens when OEM sets up a command post at an incident and there happens to be several jammers located near by?

Cell phone jamming by the ordinary citizen should be a crime. And the above said are my reasons.

Re:Yes! (1)

giminy (94188) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648079)

This is what projects like SwitchMe [switchme.info] are for. You have to pay a little extra so your phone automatically turns off, but the invasion of your freedom of preference is left intact.

Me, I'll just remember to switch my phone to vibrate whenever I go out.

Re:Yes! (1)

RealProgrammer (723725) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648083)

Cell phone jamming should be legalized, and it should become more widespread.

No. It should become mandatory, especially in:

  • theatres
  • schools
  • sporting events
  • restaurants with no backlit menu (if you're that important, use your precious cell phone to order a pizza)
  • church!
  • public transportation, where no one talks except to people who aren't there

There's nothing quite so torturous as being at a basketball game and listening to some drunk district sales manager slur his competitors, when he's not saying "What? Speak up, I can't hear you over the crowd noise."

We can hear you just fine, bub. By the way, you've got mustard on your tie.

Jamming= Illegal (5, Informative)

pvt_medic (715692) | more than 10 years ago | (#7647853)

The operation of transmitters designed to jam or block wireless communications is a violation of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended ("Act"). See 47 U.S.C. Sections 301, 302a, 333. The Act prohibits any person from willfully or maliciously interfering with the radio communications of any station licensed or authorized under the Act or operated by the U.S. government. 47 U.S.C. Section 333. The manufacture, importation, sale or offer for sale, including advertising, of devices designed to block or jam wireless transmissions is prohibited. 47 U.S.C. Section 302a(b). Parties in violation of these provisions may be subject to the penalties set out in 47 U.S.C. Sections 501-510. Fines for a first offense can range as high as $11,000 for each violation or imprisonment for up to one year, and the device used may also be seized and forfeited to the U.S. government

From
http://wireless.fcc.gov/services/cellular/operatio ns/blockingjamming.html

Correction: Jamming == Illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7647861)

Good read, but your programming skills need improvement

Re:Correction: Jamming == Illegal (1)

Hayzeus (596826) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648038)

Not necessarily. You're making assumptions about which language he's using.

Re:Correction: Jamming == Illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7648047)

Uh, no. Variable Jamming equals state Illegal. He wasn't testing its validity, he was setting it.

Re:Jamming= Illegal (1)

2MuchC0ffeeMan (201987) | more than 10 years ago | (#7647865)

but the idiots in the theatre don't get fined at all.... hrm.

and flinging popcorn and throwing soda isn't a deterring punishment.

Re:Jamming= Illegal (1)

pvt_medic (715692) | more than 10 years ago | (#7647906)

Well that is where the fun comes in. Because the FCC rules are enforced by the US Marshalls, so it be amusing to see them go to the movie theater and bust some heads.

Except.... (2, Insightful)

23 (68042) | more than 10 years ago | (#7647939)

when you're the president or some other honcho.


As much as i can see the reasoning (pres. safety, remotely controlled bombs, etc...), it still leaves a bad taste of "some are more equal than others" in your mouth. Security (even presidential) & military should abide the law just as anybody else. Change that stupid law, if necessary.


IMHO such a law is not logical anyway: since when does some cell-phone operator "own" the airwaves of e.g. my living room, or more to the point, my restaurant / movie theatre. What exact difference does active / passive jamming make w.r.t the law (if it's on my very own property)? How do they justify the (il)legality of one or the other...


what the position here in Germany is, I dunno... Does anybody else, I'm curious.

Stupid. (4, Interesting)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 10 years ago | (#7647856)

Try jamming local storage.

CF and Memory Stick expansion is beginning to be commonplace in these camera phones. Jamming delays transmission from "100% Live", but does little else.

You want to shoot X-Rays strong enough to wipe Flash Mem? Be my guest!

good (2, Insightful)

Apreche (239272) | more than 10 years ago | (#7647864)

preventing diddling on phones during lectures, and cheating during exams I think are perfectly fine uses of cell-phone jammers and should be illegal. I also think all variety of theatres should employ this technology so the asshole who doesn't turn his phone off wont distract/annoy the entire audience when his annoying ring tone blares out 10 times. And rather than turn his phone off he pretends it wasn't him.

Of course, this can also be used for evil. Big evil. If I had a portable jammer I could bring it to a bank and prevent everyone from calling 911 as I robbed it. I think that's why these things are illegal.

Re:good (4, Insightful)

Txiasaeia (581598) | more than 10 years ago | (#7647922)

(Lest we forget that banks still have landlines, and hundreds of portable jammers couldn't stop them...)

Sometimes, though, cell phones are absolutely necessary - my wife is pregnant, right? What happens if I'm at a movie or at school when she goes into labour? Not only would she be royally pissed off once I actually got out of the movie/class (some classes are 3 hours long), but what happens if something went wrong?

Regulation isn't going to help. Jammers like these aren't going to help. What would help is people all punching out a guy with a live cell phone in a theatre if it wasn't a critical call. Let social engineering do the work.

Re:good (1)

ericspinder (146776) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648000)

If I had a portable jammer I could bring it to a bank and prevent everyone from calling 911 as I robbed it.
Very good point, also many auto-theft devices depend on cellular service, so if you are a professional car thief this would be as needed as a slim jim. Also many homes use cellular service for a back-up (maybe even primary) alarm notification. Rapists could find it useful in isolating thier prey, one of the reasons that the guy in North Dakota was picked up was because he was seen in the same area, and about the same time as that woman [finddru.com] was on her cell phone.

Re:good (1)

hethatishere (674234) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648009)

I think your example doesn't work. I would hope in a bank they would have a single land-line phone. Also, if you were robbing a bank most people wouldn't bother pulling out their cell phone and punching in numbers because that would put them at risk. Besides, there are still plenty of issues with 911 and Cell Phones, so much so that most Emergency Response folks recommend finding if possible a land-line to report an emergency from. Cell Phone blocking have more legitimate uses than non-legitimate ones. If they weren't so damn expensive I'd buy one and leave it on all the time as I walked about Boston. I'd feel no guilt robbing rude, loud, obnoxious self-important people of their stimulation for a short while.

Re:good (3, Interesting)

JoeBaldwin (727345) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648048)

cheating during exams I think are perfectly fine uses of cell-phone jammers and should be illegal


In the UK, all the major exam boards will drop you from every subject you do with that board if you so much as walk into an exam room with a mobile phone. THis is one of the few decent things AQA and Edexcel have ever done, ever (Jesus christ, they make Standard Oil look like Greenpeace).

Tempting. (4, Insightful)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 10 years ago | (#7647868)

While I'm tempted to use this to silence those inconsiderate bastards in the movie theaters, there is a LOT of risk involved. How would you feel if, because of your jamming, someone didn't get an important emergency phone call and got fired / dumped / beaten senseless / etc.? If something were to happen because they didn't get a call, and it was found out that you were jamming the phone, could you be held liable for any proven damages?

Regardless of how rude it is for people to be talking on cell phones anywhere and everywhere, you have no right to decide for yourself, "They shouldn't be talking, so I'll stop them."

Re:Tempting. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7647910)

someone didn't get an important emergency phone call and got fired / dumped / beaten senseless / etc.?

So let me guess, you work in the mobs IT department right

Re:Tempting. (1)

The_Unforgiven (521294) | more than 10 years ago | (#7647916)

" How would you feel if, because of your jamming, someone didn't get an important emergency phone call and got fired / dumped / beaten senseless / etc.? If something were to happen because they didn't get a call, and it was found out that you were jamming the phone, could you be held liable for any proven damages?"

Yeah, how did we ever live without them? I've never had a cellphone, and I can't honestly say I've ever needed one. If I need to use a phone, I use a payphone. They're hard to find anymore, but not impossible at all. Really, honestly think - how many times a day do you use your cellphone for matters of personal safety? Not "my car broke down", I mean actual matters of safety?

Or do you use it to talk to friends, maybe occasionally to save time? I'm not saying you shouldn't, just that it's a luxury, first and foremost.

Re:Tempting. (1)

Dr Reducto (665121) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648091)

Cellphones are slowly becoming cheap enough to not call them "luxury devices". Also, I can think of at least nine times when a Cell Phone came in handy when I became seperated from my group at large venues (concerts, ballgames, hospital, mall), and when I have used it to get directions by calling someone at home.

Re:Tempting. (1)

calidoscope (312571) | more than 10 years ago | (#7647920)

I was doing the jamming in that situation, I would probably be looking at one hell of a lawsuit - especially if someone's life was lost due to not getting the call.

If the CTIA really cares about the customers they would take a much more active role in going after the manufacturers/distributors of jamming devices - much as the *cough* *cough* xxAA's are going after the purveyors of (ahem) copyright infringement technology.

Re:Tempting. (2, Interesting)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 10 years ago | (#7647924)

Fine then... let's insure that all cell phones, from now on, will automatically go into "vibrate" mode instead of ring tone when in certain areas, like movie theaters, classrooms, etc.

Call it "courtesy technology" instead of a jamming field.

Kierthos

Re:Tempting. (1)

The_Unforgiven (521294) | more than 10 years ago | (#7647966)

All anti-cellphone joking aside, that'd be great.

It's a perfect soultion: they still get calls, we don't hear some damn Britney Spears song 8 times when somone calls them (remember when phones rang?). All we need now is for a feild that will force them to leave the room to talk on the phone...

Re:Tempting. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7648082)

That still doesn't stop the bastards from shouting in a coffee shop because they haven't learned the art of holding the receiver close enough to their mouth to speak a lower than normal volumes.

Re:Tempting. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7647932)

Just let them use the backup system - it's called "land line" and most business have at least one for emergency use.

Cell phones are not a right.

Re:Tempting. (1)

BlowChunx (168122) | more than 10 years ago | (#7647934)

Before the era of cell phones, people went to the movies and were out of touch with the rest of the "real world". This worked for years.

Now that we have cell phones, that "what if...?" scenario doesn't work. There are places that should be "out of contact". If you agree to see the movie, you take your chances. Seems simple enough. Don't want to take the chance? Build yourself a home theater and wait til it comes out on DVD.

Re:Tempting. (1)

focitrixilous P (690813) | more than 10 years ago | (#7647953)

What I would buy to shut up those fools in a movie, concert, or school is a pulse jammer, which jams it for no more then 3 seconds. They will get disconected, and hopefully after two or three times they will give up, and be just as angry as I am.

Re:Tempting. (4, Insightful)

bogie (31020) | more than 10 years ago | (#7647956)

That's their problem not yours if you or the establishment is using the device responsibly. For exampe in the movie theather their should be a big sign outside saying cellphones are not allowed. You want to go to the movies? Leave your cellphone at home. Expecting an emergency call that could get you fired/dumped/etc? DON'T GO TO THE MOVIES.

"Regardless of how rude it is for people to be talking on cell phones anywhere and everywhere, you have no right to decide for yourself, "They shouldn't be talking, so I'll stop them.""

I agree in most places you just have to live with it. At the same time in places like Movies, Hospitals, Library's, Elevators I consider it your right to terminate their call. The cell phone users aren't considering your rights, why consider theirs?

Re:Tempting. (1)

JayBlalock (635935) | more than 10 years ago | (#7647994)

Your right to WHAT, exactly? Annoying tho cell phones are, I'm pretty sure there's a right to speech, whereas I don't recall an innumerated Right to a Quiet Elevator Ride.

While the 9th Amendment says that there are other non-innumerated rights, the ones that ARE numerated clearly take priority.

Re:Tempting. (1)

saforrest (184929) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648010)

Expecting an emergency call that could get you fired/dumped/etc? DON'T GO TO THE MOVIES.

And if you're in some profession that requires you to be on call all the time, e.g. emergency room physicians?

Before cellphones and pagers, these people would have simply not been able to go to the movies, or anywhere away from a phone where they could be reached. But now that the technology exists, and can be used responsibly (by using text-messages, pagers with vibrate, or other non-intrusive forms of communication) it seems excessive to deny these people the right to go to the movies.

Re:Tempting. (1)

base3 (539820) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648021)

Expecting an emergency call that could get you fired/dumped/etc? DON'T GO TO THE MOVIES.

Yes, because anyone who can't reasonably expect an unanticipated emergency doesn't deserve to live. There is nothing freaking wrong with having a cellphone in your pocket on vibrate, so long as you leave the venue to take the call.

Re:Tempting. (1)

giel (554962) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648054)

Regardless of how rude it is for people to be talking on cell phones anywhere and everywhere, you have no right to decide for yourself, "They shouldn't be talking, so I'll stop them."

I think I should have that right. And there is a lot more I'd like to jam. Still waiting for EMP weapons reduced to portable proportions however.

Re:Tempting. (1)

Dr Reducto (665121) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648056)

Yeah, if an ER doctor missed a call to come back to the hospital and apply his skills, I know I would feel really bad about it. And the doctor might even get sued, given our current legal climate.

Business Opportunity (2, Funny)

DaneelGiskard (222145) | more than 10 years ago | (#7647869)

1) Build a device which detects the jamming signal.
2) Sell it to "those anti-social types" (quote from article) who would like to use their phone
3) Watch them kick each others butt

I'm glad... (5, Funny)

Throat constant (727976) | more than 10 years ago | (#7647872)

I don't have a cell phone. There's too much drama involved.

Re:I'm glad... (1)

The_Unforgiven (521294) | more than 10 years ago | (#7647993)

I'm with you.

Friend of mine was saying he has a $100+ phone bill to pay. Then another was complaining about soome crap her service provider was giving her.

Both are 21 or under, and both use their phone for nothing more than to bullshit with friends. Really now. Come on. I can't be the only one to see something wrong here.

Legal Jamming (5, Interesting)

pvt_medic (715692) | more than 10 years ago | (#7647885)

While it is clearly illegal to jam the signal their is nothing against constructing buildings that jams the signal by just the nature of how the radio signal travels through the building.

HEre an article [wirelessnewsfactor.com] on home to legal jam cell phones.

looks just like a cellphone? (1)

z_gringo (452163) | more than 10 years ago | (#7647891)

From the article:

This cell phone jammer looks just like a cell phone

You don't see too many cell phones with two antennas sticking out of them like this thing has.

Oh yeah... (1)

praedor (218403) | more than 10 years ago | (#7647957)

I will most definitively be buying one of these things. No more rude bastards in restaurants or theaters. You can ALL thank me.

Trouble finding legitimate use beyond quiet coffee (1)

trystanu (691619) | more than 10 years ago | (#7647967)

Their suggested uses get pretty dodgy pretty quickly, from http://www.globalgadgetuk.com/mj10.htm [globalgadgetuk.com] :

Suggested Uses for a cell phone jammer:
Theatres/Cinemas, Concert halls, Lectures, Libraries, Restaurants, Hospitals, Coffee shops, Police stations, Recording studios, Prisons, Court rooms, Conference rooms, Embassies and Government facilities, Financial institutions, Casinos, Power plants, Schools, Military establishments etc etc

Hah! (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 10 years ago | (#7647976)

"including universities which use the technology to stop students from diddling away on phones during lectures."

Personally, I find it's a bigger problems when the professors whip out their cell phones and start yammering away during class. If only my employer were so lenient about what I could do on company time...

Stalkers and abusive exes rejoice :-( (3, Insightful)

Walter Wart (181556) | more than 10 years ago | (#7647986)

If a criminal is attacking you right now a cell phone is mostly useful as a second-rate bludgeon. Or maybe, with phones getting so small these days, you could get him to swallow it and use it as a tracking device :-/

But being able to call emergency services can be very important in the phases leading up to an attack. It can also be helpful for witnesses who can't get physically involved to summon the police or ambulance. This changes all that.

I see it as most frightening in cases where the attacker has a lot personally invested in the crime. The abusive ex. The stalker. The dangerously obsessed. In those cases, where the defender needs every available resource, the sudden disappearance of an important tool can be a matter of life and death. We've already seen stalkers use GPS transponders to track their ex girlfriends' cars. So there are at least a few geeks gone bad out there.

I'm afraid I don't have any solutions. These things are already illegal to use. Any thoughts on what a prospective victim or the authorities can do? And yes, I've already factored in "Have a gun." It's not an option for everyone. It is only part of the soluation when it is.

RDF+HERF GUN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7648004)

Cell phones are a necessity in today's world, many many people would be bound to desks, landlines, and offices without the *freedom* to take their life on the road.

You luddite whiners who bitch about cell phones represent a dying breed. Society depends on mobile technology .. and the complaints you raise are simply the effects of societal change in progress.

If these things become popular, I will highly resent the decision of users of these devices to overrule my own lifestyle and freedoms. Upon that day, I will insure that I keep RDF (radio direction finding) equipment in my vehicle to give myself the capacity to find and confront these passive aggressive jerks who intend on destroying the very communicative structre of today's world. Failing discussion, the next step is simply to HERF their unit and go about your day .. If the world is to come to Communications ECM/EECM, I'll be there to fight it.

And the potential for criminal abuse? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7648029)

What if someone carried these things about in order to disable someone's phone before they attacked? It not just disabling that annoying-person-whose-mobile-rings-during-a-movie' s phone, it can disable any mobile phone, anywhere.

Car (1)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648040)

I'd like to hardwire one of these into my car. There are too many a-holes on the road who are too busy talking to drive. And no, I don't care about speakerphones or headsets; it's still dangerous and irresponsible.

Pointless Jamming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7648041)

I really hate it when I'm visiting a friend and their phone rings. However, I've discovered that if I just cut their phone line outside the house before I ring the doorbell I don't have to worry about it.

Since when is talking on the phone any more annoying than talking to the person next to you? It's such a bizarre luddite view that a piece of plastic can make a conversation more annoying.

Yes, it is annoying that people use them in movie theatres and such, but hey, guess what? It's annoying for someone to have a conversation in there anyway. The phone doesn't change that.

Lectures? (1)

AirLace (86148) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648042)

My university just installed 54g wireless Internet access available in almost every lecture theature, allowing students to collaborate and do background research during lectures. This seems a much more sane approach than fitting signal jammers if one wants to increase attendance rates. I daresay lectures will never be the same now that I can IRC my way through KRI with the Zaurus and a CF wireless card. More access to communication networks -- not less -- seems to be the way forward.

Yes JAM those nasty rude folks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7648060)

The ONLY people who need pagers or cell phones are doctors and lawyers. Jamming should be the norm when ignorant people use the phone as a status symbol. All cars need then built in and wideband too. Theaters, should shoot folks who use then inside!!! When will courtesy and decency return?

House Rules (2, Funny)

monstermagnet (101235) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648071)

There's a cute little brewpub in Solon Iowa with prominent sign stating that anyone whose cell phone goes off buys a round for the house.

There's more than one way to deal with inappropriate rings ..

well... (1)

jpellino (202698) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648098)

illegal, subterfuge, etc.. all reasons not to.

every movie now has a trailer that tells you to turn off your phones and beepers. fair enough.

beyond that, at restaurants, etc. it's just a matter of taste and manners.

and you can't legislate that.
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