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FCC Sued to Allow Cell Phone Jammers

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the next-we-can-give-the-police-tanks dept.

The Courts 400

stevew writes "A small company in Florida is trying to take on the FCC in an attempt to make their Cell phone jamming product legal. Their main argument seems to be that the Communications act of 1934 conflicts with the HomeLand Security Act — so the Communications act has to go." From the article: "Local and state law enforcement agencies, which would be the first responders to a terrorist attack here at home, are prohibited by law from obtaining such gear. 'It just doesn't make much sense that the FBI can use this equipment, but that the local and state governments, which the Homeland Security Act has acknowledged as being an important part of combating terrorism, cannot,' said Howard Melamed, chief executive of CellAntenna. 'We give local police guns and other equipment to protect the public, but we can't trust them with cellular-jamming equipment? It doesn't make sense.'"

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in soviet russia... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17073770)

in soviet russia, cell phones jam you!

Can I get one (4, Insightful)

arniebuteft (1032530) | more than 7 years ago | (#17073794)

and use it at the movie theater?

Please?

Re:Can I get one (1)

nukem996 (624036) | more than 7 years ago | (#17073822)

My thought exactly. I really dont have a problem with cell phone jammers for consumers that only jam a small radius(10-20 feet).

Re:Can I get one (2, Insightful)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | more than 7 years ago | (#17073906)

I don't have a problem with antenna gain boosters that up the power output of cellular phones so they can cut through jamming signals!

Re:Can I get one (2, Funny)

the_wishbone (1018542) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074120)

I'll see your gain booster and raise you a punch in the face when you talk on the cell phone while sitting behind me at the movies =P

Re:Can I get one (2, Funny)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074216)

I'll see your punch in the face when you hear me talking and raise you a beating with my nightstick for punching me in the face!

Re:Can I get one (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074606)

Good idea! I always like to answer annoyances with crimes. Hope you enjoy your stay in jail.

Re:Can I get one (3, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 7 years ago | (#17073974)

Well I have a serious problem with them. If you don't want cell phones in movie theaters then complain to management until they enforce the cell phone ban by asking people who use them during the movie to leave. That's their right as a property owner. You don't have the right to interfere with my communications though. I rely on my cell phone as my only means of communication (no landline). You don't have the right to jam that. Oh and I pity the movie theater that installs a jammer and then has a patron have a heart attack in the middle of the movie and die. "We tried to call 911 but we had no signal". I know a few dozen ambulance chasers that would love such a case.

Re:Can I get one (-1, Troll)

Feyr (449684) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074066)


OH NOES! Won'T SoMeOnE ThiNk Of ThE GrAnNiEssss!!1!1111

Re:Can I get one (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074128)

Be a wiseass all you want but you don't have the right to disrupt my communications. I only made the heart attack example as the obvious reason why a movie theater wouldn't install these even if they were legal. They'd be exposing themselves to a massive amount of libility for no real gain.

Ask them to kick the offender out. If they refuse then leave and do a chargeback on your credit card for the tickets. If enough people bitched then they'd enforce the no cell phone rule -- without jammers.

Re:Can I get one (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17074428)

you don't have the right to disrupt my communications.
You don't have the right to decide what rights other people have. You are not the law.

Ask them to kick the offender out. If they refuse then leave and do a chargeback on your credit card for the tickets.
Just because you live in inconvenient fantasy-land doesn't mean we all have to come along for the ride. Go away please.

Re:Can I get one (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17074482)

Be a wiseass all you want but you don't have the right to disrupt my communications.

Why not? Because of the law? That's mutable. Maybe you don't have the right to disturb my peace when I'm watching a film at the theatre.

Oh and I pity the movie theater that installs a jammer and then has a patron have a heart attack in the middle of the movie and die. "We tried to call 911 but we had no signal"

followed by...

If enough people bitched then they'd enforce the no cell phone rule -- without jammers.

What is the point here? If you die of a heart attack because your cell phone was jammed, that is somehow worse than dying of a heart attack because your cell phone was left at home due to a ban??? WTF???

Re:Can I get one (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074624)

What is the point here? If you die of a heart attack because your cell phone was jammed, that is somehow worse than dying of a heart attack because your cell phone was left at home due to a ban??? WTF???

Umm, hello McFly? A ban on use. Not on possession. Obviously a private company can't tell me what I can and can not have on my person.

Just because a handful of teenagers blab on the cell phone during the movie doesn't mean you can take away my right to have one on me. My cell phone is on vibrate and if I get a call that's important enough I step out to take it. How is that a problem?

Re:Can I get one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17074230)

Believe it or don't, most movie theaters have land line telephones!!111 :)

Re:Can I get one (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074284)

Believe it or don't, most movie theaters have land line telephones!!111 :)

I'll remember that as I'm sitting my seat with chest pains and can't even cry out.

You missed the point anyway. The theater would be exposing themselves to lawsuits. That's why it won't happen. And having worked in the insurance industry for a few years I suspect that your insurance company would drop you like a rock if you tried to install these.

Not to mention the minor little fact that somebody paid for the license to the channels that you want to jam and they have a right to expect to be able to use that license....

an alternative (1)

GodWasAnAlien (206300) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074314)

A regulated short-range device that sends a "block non-emergency calls" signal.
This device would be legal on private property and some government property.

Then a cell phone call for 911 (and other registered emergency numbers). The cell phone would detect block signal, relay "in a blocked zone" to the tower...network. Then the call would only be connected if emergency number.

Or, I guess some "Do-not-cell" database which relied on GPS.

But "jamming" seems to be the wrong approach.

Re:Can I get one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17074608)

I've been to three movies in the past month, two of which had someone's phone ringing the entire film, one of which had four people using Alltel style walkie talkies to do the "oh no she DIDN'T just say that!" thing throughout the entire movie.

Here's one for ya, you can keep your righteous indignation and spoil movies for other people just because you feel the urge to be a prick, if I can start employing freelance ushers and arming them with Tazers. It's only fair. I have just as much right to quiet as you do to having your switchboard open, moreso if you subscribe to the idea of polite society.

When I start paying to see movies in your office or living room, feel free to make as much noise as you like.

Bring on the jammers, and bring the ushers back. Remember when all it took was a flashlight to keep order?

Re:Can I get one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17073962)

Buy one from overseas. What are the chances of getting caught? After all, the affected person can't call anybody and complain.

And don't give me that "Doctor on call might miss somebody dying" routine. I sat on a bus in front of a surgeon who got one of those calls and spent 15 minutes loudly telling the on-duty nurse to just call the next guy on the list (I mean you Kent Patterson of Leonard Morse Hospital in Natick). The patient would have gotten better care if they hadn't reached him.

Re:Can I get one (1)

wkk2 (808881) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074040)

Private use is fine with me as long as the property owner, installer and manufacturer all sign off on having unlimited personal liability for any injury or harm that could have been prevented if the jamming equipment wasn't present.

Theater Use (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074238)

One of the theaters I visit now has one. You turn on a cell phone in the building and are lucky to get one bar. In one of the showing rooms you won't get any bars. Go outside and it will probably got back up to 4 or 5.

I've always wanted a cell phone zapper for when I'm driving, to kill the signal of those idiots driving while blathering away in 3 packed lanes, with lane switchers run amok. Small wonder there are so many accidents on that stretch of road. By the time a driver on a phone has realised the brake lights of the car ahead of them are on it's too late.

Re:Theater Use (1)

erpbridge (64037) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074462)

Most theaters right now are not using cell phone jammers. They are, however, taking advantage of construction materials that diminish the signal strength of cell signals, such as double layer cinder block walls with a thick steel plate between the layers.

Legal? Yes.
Costly? Probably.

My wish list for a cell phone jammer (1)

lpoulsen (148228) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074496)

A good cell phone jammer should not be transmitting a garbage signal to compete with the legitimate coverage. It should be an intelligent base station encouraging the cellphones to register. It would then provide a much stronger signal than the more distant real base stations, which would then be disregarded by the mobiles.

The most significant FCC objection to cellphone jammers is a safety issue related to the inability to make emergency calls. A good cellphone jammer would be connected to a phone line, and would allow the phones to make 9-1-1 emergency calls (one at a time).

And yes, I would very much like to install such a device at my church and a few other places.

I'm failing to see the point of this (4, Insightful)

Hubbell (850646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17073802)

What would be the possible point of giving them cellular jamming equipment? It would serve almost no useful purpose at all. Do people seriously believe there will be a time where it will be useful? That terrorists will launch some form of attack that isn't a 1 2 hit, like a ground assault or something? People need to get their heads out of their asses and realize that this kind of thing is ridiculous and retarded.

Re:I'm failing to see the point of this (2, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 7 years ago | (#17073918)

Indeed -- and I love using terrorism as an argument to try and sell something. The minute he played that card I stopped paying attention.

Oh and the likely explaination for law enforcement needing them during a terrorist attack is to prevent the terrorists from using cell phones to trigger bombs. Of course in his haste to sell his product he's overlooking the fact that the Government can simply order the cell phone companies in an area to shut their networks down. They don't need jammers!

Re:I'm failing to see the point of this (1)

megaditto (982598) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074518)

Or even likelier explanation is to prevent bystanders from sending off snapshots/videos of the next Rodney King. Or that lady they shot up in Atlanta. Or the black bridegroom shot 22 times last weekend.

Re:I'm failing to see the point of this (2, Interesting)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | more than 7 years ago | (#17073928)

You're not looking at it from the right point of view. It's not to stop a terrorist attack from occuring- it's to stop people from talking about the terrorist attack that's just occured. It's one of the best ways to enforce a telecommunications blackout cordon around an area, and that's why DHS wants it.

Not to prevent a terrorist attack, if ever one happened, but to prevent you from being able to learn anything about it that hasn't been carefully vetted by DHS first.

Re:I'm failing to see the point of this (2, Insightful)

finkployd (12902) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074302)

Realistically, there are a couple of problems with this.

(1) a terrorist attack will jam up cellular lines anyway. Did you try placing a call on 9/11? It was damn near impossible.

(2) Cell phones are not the only form of communication, we also have regular phones, and the Internet, and (when all else fails) ham radio operators.

(3) The Media, while arguably under a bit of control by the government (or in the case of Fox News complete), still chomps at the bit whenever they smell coverup or any disaster which has been made worse or not immediately fixed by the government. Remember how many reports of murders, rape, and other horrific crimes were repeated during Katrina? Remember how many of them turned out to be true?

All told, I have no doubt the DHS would love to exercise complete and total information control when it comes to this sort of thing, but I doubt they are thinking that just jamming cell phones is the way to go. Their line of thinking is probably more along the lines of disrupting communication when moving in on a suspected terrorists to prevent him/her from tipping others off of a cell compromise or something like that. Or if we want to play 'security theater' it is probably to keep cell phone triggered bombs from going off.

Finkployd

Re:I'm failing to see the point of this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17074000)

Hostage situation, or other type of standoff. Use it to disconnect the otherside from the outside world.

Re:I'm failing to see the point of this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17074430)

That's why you call in the FBI for hostage situations. And the summary alone mentions that the FBI has jammers.

Re:I'm failing to see the point of this (0)

ISurfTooMuch (1010305) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074026)

One possible use would be in crowd control at large protests. If you wanted to disrupt the communications network of a group of protesters, the best way to do it is to jam their cell phones. In several nations (The Philippines comes to mind), large anti-government protests have been organized using cell phones. Take out that technology, and you can make these things much harder to coordinate. In this particular case, what's happening is that you have a company that wants to sell its products to local law enforcement, so they're suing so they can do that. It's all about money, folks. Even if you'd like to be able to shut up those idiots in movie theaters, do you really want every local PD to be able to jam cell phones whenever they please? Such power would be easy to abuse. "We had to jam the cell phone network around the meeting of global corporate and political leaders to protect against the threat of a terrorist attack. We realize that this may have hampered the ability of protesters to organize, but we think that safety is more important than the rights of a few extremist anti-globalization fanatics."

Re:I'm failing to see the point of this (2, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074076)

"We had to jam the cell phone network around the meeting of global corporate and political leaders to protect against the threat of a terrorist attack. We realize that this may have hampered the ability of protesters to organize, but we think that safety is more important than the rights of a few extremist anti-globalization fanatics."

Forget the protesters. What if I live near that meeting and rely on a cell phone for my communications? It can be disrupted in the name of "safety"? That's bullshit.

Do local cops currently have the ability to jam landline phones? Didn't think so. If they haven't needed that for a few decades then why do they need it now with cell phones?

Re:I'm failing to see the point of this (0, Flamebait)

rainman_bc (735332) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074244)

Do local cops currently have the ability to jam landline phones?

You can't bring your landline phone to a movie theater or a restaurant. If you want to be a rude prick, that's fine, I just don't want you around me.

I say let the market decide. Have restaurants and movie theaters that have a cell phone jamming device and see who spends more money - the people who want a night out to enjoy themselves or the ass hats who think that because they are a paying customer they have a right to disrupt people's enjoyment of what they paid for - their food or their seat at the movie.

Re:I'm failing to see the point of this (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17074328)

Wow, just because you own a use a cell phone, that does not make you an "ass hat." What about people who courteously leave their cell phone on VIBRATE, so that they can quickly and quietly check texts and monitor missed calls? And if the call is importantly enough, they courteously LEAVE the venue to do tend to their business? Believe it or not, most cell phone users aren't talking loudly into their handset in the middle of movies and at restaurants. You just remember them becaue they're so annoying. Get your head out of your ass.

Re:I'm failing to see the point of this (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074394)

I say let the market decide. Have restaurants and movie theaters that have a cell phone jamming device and see who spends more money - the people who want a night out to enjoy themselves or the ass hats who think that because they are a paying customer they have a right to disrupt people's enjoyment of what they paid for - their food or their seat at the movie.

Whoa, I'm right there with you regarding movie theaters, but what's the big deal about cell phones in restaurants? I mean as long as people are speaking in a normal tone of voice it's not exactly a big deal when presumably a lot of other conversations are going on.

Re:I'm failing to see the point of this (1)

Brushfireb (635997) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074546)

You are very interesting indeed.

You proposed that everyone who has a cellphone that needs access in a theatre or restaurant is just being rude. This is silly. Please allow me to provide you with some examples.

Doctors -- Who are on call. They now use pagers and cell phones to be beeped so they can hightail it to the hospital to save LIVES.
Police or Firemen -- Need to be alerted about a new situation that requires their presence. This includes investigators or detectives, or ancillary staff.
Small Business Owners -- Who at 8pm find out someone just robbed their store, or that an employee didnt show up, or that there is a big leak in the roof during the rain storm.
People Who Own Alarms -- Who ask that alarm companies notify them when an alarm goes off.

Jamming phones causes SEVERE problems to these people, and potentially without them having any idea it is happening. People will be hurt, both physically and financially, by widescale phone jamming.

So, while a lot of people ARE pricks, you should just learn to grow up and ask them to be polite, or explain it to management. But dont punish those sectors of society that RELY on that technology -- you might be relying on them someday to help you.

B

Re:I'm failing to see the point of this (1)

AusIV (950840) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074572)

We're not talking about cops jamming cellphones at a movie theater or restaurant because somebody's being a prick, we're talking about jamming cell phones in areas that are priority targets of terrorists. I'm not suggesting that's necessarily a good idea, I'm just saying that's what's being discussed.

I don't believe the company at hand is trying to legalize them for personal or commercial use (though I may be wrong). And as one of the siblings to my post has already said, there are lots of people who keep their phones on silent and monitor missed calls and text messages, and if an important call comes in they excuse themselves and take it. I can certainly see not going to a certain restaurant (maybe even movie theater) because I know they use cell phone jammers. I have no intentions of being a prick, but sometimes it's necessary to be able to get in touch with people, and I don't want to have to walk half a block from the restaurant to be able to do it.

Re:I'm failing to see the point of this (1)

gregmac (629064) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074288)

You could have law enforcement jam cell phones ONCE. After that, people would simply get FRS/GMRS radios, or CB, or something using the same frequency as police radios, or smoke signals or flares... Protests have been around since before we had cell phones, and they certainly aren't going to be stopped by disabling the ability to broadcast at a certain frequency.

It's the same thing with the scary terrorists. If you block cell phone signals in an attempt to prevent them from remotely setting off a bomb, they'll use one of the other bazillion possible ways to set off a bomb (including a suicide bomber standing next to it).

but let's think further (1)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074576)

Maybe. But what you are describing is the reaction of a determined and intelligent enemy, and usually folks with that much determination and intelligence can make a living more easily by legal means.

After all, it's far less risky -- but takes more intelligence -- to get rich running sneaky sleazy (but quite legal) land-development schemes than to get (briefly) rich by running crack-smuggling rings.

That it's impossible to stop all crime is a truism, something perfectly true but devoid of useful meaning. The point of law-enforcenment is to make crime annoying and expensive enough that you drive intelligent and imaginative people out of the business, and the only ones left are the more easily caught and generally less dangerous boneheads.

Re:I'm failing to see the point of this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17074142)

"Terrorism" doesn't just correspond to extreme religious militants and catastrophic attacks. Consider a traditional hostage situation. Standard procedure involves (among other things) cutting off land lines to whatever building that they're holed up in, so that they can't coordinate some kind of organized jailbreak attempt. Saying that cell phone jamming isn't necessary is like saying that there's no need to ever cut off communications, in any situation, ever.

Minor forms of "terrorism" are exactly what local and state authorities are supposed to be dealing with. It's just another tool to help them do their thing in the face to evolving technology. The crimes haven't really changed, just the label that the political party de jour wants to put on everything.

You need to get your head out of your ass if you really think dirty bombs and hijacked planes are the only thing law enforcement needs to prepare for.

Re:I'm failing to see the point of this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17074252)

.. Doesn't this happen all the time, there's an attack, and then the 'terrorists' wait until the responders have arrived, and launch the second attack in the hope of injuring even more people?

Re:I'm failing to see the point of this (1)

krotkruton (967718) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074402)

People need to get their heads out of their asses and realize that this kind of thing is ridiculous and retarded.

I agree. We should leave that kind of thinking to the people who are best at it, the DHS.

well, here's a more careful look then (4, Insightful)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074418)

Well, they gave you a few examples in the article, viz.:

(1) To let states jam cell-phone communications in state prisons, so that prisoners can't make unmonitored calls to the outside. Here [npr.org] is an NPR story on the surprising number of cell phones smuggled into prisons and their sometimes unfortunate uses. From the article:

In several criminal cases, inmates have used cell phones to run gangs operating outside of prison, to put hits out on people, to organize drug-smuggling operations and, in one case, trade gold bullion on international markets.

Er...speaking as a citizen juror, I don't much care about cons trading gold bullion from inside the pen, ha ha, but the idea that putting away a drug gang kingpin won't affect his ability to run his gang at all is a bit...disturbing.

(2) To let police jam cell phones during a raid, so that, for example, any lookouts posted won't be able to communicate back to headquarters and tip off the targest of the raid. This is elementary warfighting: you certainly jam the enemy's communications during an operation if you can, because surprise reduces casualties all around. I hope you agree that significant criminal enterprises qualify as an 'enemy' against whom we'd like the police to take action. (That is, I hope you don't think the police shouldn't be able to conduct effective raids at all. Whether they should conduct them more carefully, or only with greater justification is, of course, an unrelated separate question.)

The business about blocking bombs is a bit of a bogus red herring, agreed, but if you read the article you'll see it was the journalist that raised this point, and not the people who make the jamming equipment. They only talked about the use of the equipment in police raids and so forth. It was the (typically, sensation-seeking) newsman who decided to write about cell phones and bombs.

On the other hand, the point of the 1934 Communications Act is not as silly as the jamming equipment maker suggests: clearly the Commerce Act gives Congress the power to regulate radio communication, as very little is more interstate than radio. Furthermore, it makes sense (or at least made sense in 1934) to prohibit every state and dinky locality from making its own separate (and probably conflicting) rules about who can jam radio signals, and when and how. It would lead to a cacaphony, a completely unworkeable patchwork of regulation of the radio spectrum. (For similar reasons, the use of international-range radio is subject to several important international treaties.)

However, those were the days when "radio" typically only meant HF, long radio waves that could at least go a few hundred miles, if not several thousand. I doubt there was much thought given to the modern situation, where we have millions of low-powered radios (e.g. cell phones) operating at very high frequencies, with ranges of a mile or two at most, and networks of repeaters to help the signal get around. So there are, indeed, good arguments that this is a situation not anticipated by Congress in 1934, and some kind of review of the Communications Act makes sense. Maybe state and local jurisdictions should be allowed to deploy jamming equipment the way they see fit, if it's only going to have any effect within the jurisdiction. It's hard, after all, to see why Pittsburgh's City Council shouldn't be able to make the rules for jamming cell phones within the city limits -- and the Feds should.

Presumably this cell-jammer maker hopes to prod Congress into revisiting the Communications Act by this suit, which otherwise seems hopeless on the merits. (There's no way the Act can be unconstitutional merely because the Homeland Security Act can be interpreted as contradicting it. Courts are required to read legislation in such a way as to minimize conflicts. Hence if it's at all possible to read the Homeland Security Act in such a way that it doesn't conflict with the Communications Act -- and I'm sure it is -- then that's the way the Courts have to interpret it.)

Re:I'm failing to see the point of this (1)

AlHunt (982887) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074548)

> get their heads out of their asses

Please don't belittle those suffering from CRIS - Cranial-Rectal Inversion Syndrome

Re:I'm failing to see the point of this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17074558)

What would be the possible point of giving them cellular jamming equipment? It would serve almost no useful purpose at all.

Yes it would. It would solve the problem of moronic drivers changing lanes without turning their fucking heads because they're holding a cell phone against their ear with their left hand by allowing the rest of us to drive around with our thumbs on the JAM button of our mobile jammers everytime we see one.

As to those who whine about the terrible dangers of cell phone jammers preventing a 911 call during the crucial moments that little baby WootieWoo is choking on a paperclip in the back seat because mommy wasn't paying attention, I say get real. Jammers are good, idiot cell phone users are bad, and it's as simple as that.

Constitutional Issue (1)

cait56 (677299) | more than 7 years ago | (#17073814)

To the best of my knowledge there is no constitutional requirement that Congress behave rationally.

Therefore it is totally constitutional for one law to explicitly forbid the best method of achieving an objective cited in a later law. They need to talk to Congress, not the courts.

Please let them win .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17073832)

A nextel cell phone jammer would be a god send. Finally, peace and quiet restored at last.

*BEEP* *BEEP**BEEP**BEEP* *BEEP**BEEP* *BEEP**BEEP* *BEEP**BEEP* *BEEP*

Why jam? (3, Interesting)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#17073858)

This seems like a brute-force approach, especially because cell signals are approximately line-of-sight, so the jammers would have to be emplaced pretty carefully to kill all coverage in an area.

They would affect all cell users including emergency responders adversely. Couldn't a capability be built into the network instead to reject all calls except those from phones with certain ID numbers? It should only be used if there's a suspicion that someone's about to trigger a bomb by phone or some similar type of situation, of course.

-b.

Re:Why jam? (0)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | more than 7 years ago | (#17073994)

That would be the only effective method, yes- get a court order and require the telecoms to force shutdown their switches. They could even run firewall-esque rules against the calls, and do things like still allowing 911 calls through the cordon.

The problem with that is twofold; 1) DHS would need to get their hands on a court order, something they're apparently loathe to do, and 2), cell phone jammers wouldn't actually solve the problem anyway- cutting through jamming is not a difficult technical challenge, unlike attempting to hack through a telecom firewall that's preventing calls from being connected.

BTW, hasn't anyone heard of timer-triggered bombs? What's up with cellular-triggered bombs? That just seems like a horribly pointless overcomplication...

Re:Why jam? (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074092)

That would be the only effective method, yes- get a court order and require the telecoms to force shutdown their switches.

I think the telecoms might cooperate without a court order in the case of a bona-fide emergency. If the software is written correctly, they might even allow calls to 911 and the police to go through, just not calls to non-emergency phones.

What's up with cellular-triggered bombs?

Assassination weapon. Just as the limo in the Grand Poohbah of Ruritania's convoy passes the red Taurus, the red Taurus explodes due to an observer in a fifth-story window of a nearby brownstone dialing a certain number. Easier than machine vision technology, wouldn't you say? Then again, such triggering may be more easily done with normal walkie-talkie type radios.

-b.

Re:Why jam? (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074180)

I think the telecoms might cooperate without a court order in the case of a bona-fide emergency.

In London they did during the terrorist attacks.

Of course if I was designing a cell phone to act as a bomb trigger I'd probably be smart enough to put a dead-mans switch in it. If it loses signal or loses the ability to make outgoing calls then boom! Have they considered this? If a terrorist is smart enough to use a cell phone as a triggering device then I don't think it's a huge leap of faith to give it the ability to sense when its cut off from home base and go off....

Re:Why jam? (1)

oddsends (867975) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074540)

Considering signal reliability I can just imagine (when in transit) the bomber accidentally blowing themselves up when they don't realize that they have lost their signal.

Re:Why jam? (1)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074184)


I think the telecoms might cooperate without a court order in the case of a bona-fide emergency. If the software is written correctly, they might even allow calls to 911 and the police to go through, just not calls to non-emergency phones.

I don't know if they would. Maybe if it was more specific, ie "require operator vetting of all calls from a three block radius of X", but I think it's a big risk they run, legally. Even so, however, doing it in conjunction with the telecoms means a lot more granularity in the level of blocking they can invoke (and backtracing they can run).


Assassination weapon. Just as the limo in the Grand Poohbah of Ruritania's convoy passes the red Taurus, the red Taurus explodes due to an observer in a fifth-story window of a nearby brownstone dialing a certain number. Easier than machine vision technology, wouldn't you say? Then again, such triggering may be more easily done with normal walkie-talkie type radios.

Cellphones are expensive, leave a substantial paper trail, and are going to be the first thing blocked if anyone figured that's what you were up to. You want a cheap, unjammable, untraceable remote bomb detonator? photovoltaic cell and a laser pointer.

Re:Why jam? (2, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074248)

Cellphones are expensive, leave a substantial paper trail, and are going to be the first thing blocked if anyone figured that's what you were up to. You want a cheap, unjammable, untraceable remote bomb detonator? photovoltaic cell and a laser pointer.

Hmm, never thought of that. That's pretty clever. It'd require a line of sight but you'd probably already need one to watch the target and figure out where to set it off.

This is a perfect example of why this type of "arms race" is foolish. A moderately clever /. poster who isn't even thinking with the mindset of a terrorist figured a way around it in about ten minutes. All this does is cost us more of our rights in the name of protecting them.

Re:Why jam? (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074304)

Cellphones are expensive

$100 is expensive?

leave a substantial paper trail

You can buy anonymous prepaid cell phones at 7/11 (a US chain of convenience stores).

and are going to be the first thing blocked if anyone figured that's what you were up to.

Assuming anyone realizes what you're up to before it's too late. The whole idea is not to get caught before you perpetrate your crimes. Underrating criminals is dangerous.

-b.

Re:Why jam? (1)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074400)


$100 is expensive?

Compared to a five dollar laser pointer and a fifty cent photovoltaic cell, yeah.


You can buy anonymous prepaid cell phones at 7/11 (a US chain of convenience stores).

It can be traced via cellular company records as due to location and behavior, and from that they can probably backtrack to where you got it... which might have video camera surveilance... yeah, it's a little annonymous, but not much.


Assuming anyone realizes what you're up to before it's too late. The whole idea is not to get caught before you perpetrate your crimes. Underrating criminals is dangerous.

Seeing as a jammer would be useless afterward, does it really matter? Either they don't block you before hand, in which case you were stupid for using a cellphone at all, but at least it worked, or they do, in which case your plan doesn't work anyway and they shoot you for attempting to detonate a bomb...

Re:Why jam? (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074468)

Compared to a five dollar laser pointer and a fifty cent photovoltaic cell, yeah.

That system is more prone to interference and the laser pointer has to be aimed at exactly the right angle. Not to mention, if a crowd of people happens to stand next to the bombmobile, your Evil Master Plan(tm) is sunk.

-b.

Re:Why jam? (1)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074574)

That system is more prone to interference and the laser pointer has to be aimed at exactly the right angle. Not to mention, if a crowd of people happens to stand next to the bombmobile, your Evil Master Plan(tm) is sunk.

Heh, trust me, it actually works better than you think. What happens is that the laser beam disperses over distance, so at about 150 meters from the target, the beam spread is approximately 15 centimeters or so. If you're using a simple IR laser pointer and an IR reciever (like a PDA or cell phone), the dispersed laser is still greatly effective. It's also totally invisible in the standard spectrum.

Sure people standing in the way will be a problem, but it's a workable problem. I didn't say the solution was perfect, just that it was essentially unjammable, untraceable, and cheap.

Re:Why jam? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17074368)

You can get a mobile phone, with no contract or anything similar, for around $30. You need to activate it, but that's generally a matter of finding a phone you can't be traced on, and following the prompts.

I wouldn't describe them as "too expensive" by a long shot.

Re:Why jam? (1)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074420)


You can get a mobile phone, with no contract or anything similar, for around $30. You need to activate it, but that's generally a matter of finding a phone you can't be traced on, and following the prompts.

I wouldn't describe them as "too expensive" by a long sho

Why does no one understand context anymore? Too expensive compared to the alternatives. (Not to mention a hell of a lot less secure.)

Re:Why jam? (1)

arniebuteft (1032530) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074154)

Not if you plant a roadside bomb, and want to trigger it the exact moment a particular Humvee drives past it. A timer wouldn't work very well. You could run wire from a blasting cap to a detonator, get a safe distance away, and wait to trigger it then, but the cellphone makes it all wireless. Not all of these jihadists are suicidal - they want to live to bomb our troops another day. I can see this sort of thing being pretty important to have in a warzone... not so much in the good old USA.

How to obey the regulation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17074042)

They just have to redesign the lid of their product [wikipedia.org] so that a spoon can fit but not a cell phone.

Unbelievable... (2)

xENoLocO (773565) | more than 7 years ago | (#17073870)

"CellAntenna argues that the Communications Act and the FCC regulations that interpret the law are unconstitutional because they are in conflict with the Homeland Security Act of 2002, adopted by Congress in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks."
I can see it now... "It's outunconstitutionalizes the homeland security act!" ... Isn't it hard enough to keep cellphone operations running? Now they have to deal with this too?

He has a valid point. (2, Funny)

wfberg (24378) | more than 7 years ago | (#17073876)

He has a valid point - the law is hypocrital.

The Feds should ALSO be banned from using cell phone jammers.

Re:He has a valid point. (2, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074012)

While CellAntenna has based much of its case around the use of its gear to prevent terrorism, Melamed acknowledged the gear could be very useful to law enforcement officials in other capacities.
...
Where the technology would likely get the most use is during narcotics raids, when officers could use equipment to locally disable cell phones and walkie-talkies used by lookouts in neighborhoods where drug busts are common, he added.
Fuck That.

AFAIK, just about every "anti-terrorism" law has been used for everything but anti-terrorism by domestic police forces.

If the police want those powers for non-terrorism related work, then they should make the argument for it, so there can be a debate on the matter.

Movie Theaters (1)

DoorFrame (22108) | more than 7 years ago | (#17073880)

Please just put them in movie theaters. That's what EVERYBODY wants. Change the law already.

(I have some sympathy for those of you who must carry pagers to stay in contact with work. You're going to have to sacrifice movies... I'm sorry.)

Re:Movie Theaters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17074022)

Why don't you die in fire, you whiny cunt? Stay home.

Re:Movie Theaters (1)

RoboRay (735839) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074336)

Theaters don't need jammers. All they need to do is cover the walls with a conductive material and turn them into giant Faraday cages which, by the way, as a passive way of blocking RF signals is perfectly legal to do.

Re:Movie Theaters (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074396)

If the cellphone operators are bothered by the risk of jammers being made legal, it shouldn't be too hard for them to use the E911 hardware they have now to automatically prevent cellphones from being used within movie theaters for anything but text messaging and 911. It just takes a little coordination.

i want to jam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17073882)

"In order to effectively and safely execute a raid on a house, you need the element of surprise."

'My cell phone isn't working, it was just fine.. I wonder if something's wrong....' .dot..dot.. ...
!111!!!1
'oh sh*t!!'

Security Theatre. (4, Insightful)

adam (1231) | more than 7 years ago | (#17073888)

FTFA: "Equipment made by companies such as CellAntenna that can jam or block cellular signals is used by the U.S. military in Iraq to help protect convoys traveling through known trouble spots."

Great. The US is not Iraq, and frankly, it seems the police can't be trusted with tasers [go.com] . I am sure we give the military in Iraq, and federal agents, access to all sorts of other stuff I really don't want my local deputy, Jimmy-joe-bob, getting his paws on.

Frankly, this is just more FUD bullshit security theater. Cellphone jammers won't help the police one bit, and will only add to the potential for abuse/misuse by the police. This lawsuit is nothing but a ploy from a company that wants to join the halliburton gravy train. GSM can be jammed somewhat as far as I know, but my understanding (correct me if you know and I am wrong) is that CMDA/WCDMA have much more immunity to jamming. CDMA phones aren't very prevalent in Iraq, but they are here. Furthermore, this only works if you know where (within a small radius) an explosive device [that was to be detonated by cellphone] is/willbe.. so really all it encourages is either wasteful spending on useless devices, or spending on devices that will be permanently setup in "high risk" place.. which will only serve to 1: encourage the 'terrorists' to figure a way around cellphone jamming, 2: erode our rights further.

Re:Security Theatre. (1)

Lucan Varo (974578) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074020)

Rather then jamming the signal, wouldn't it be easier to ping-bomb the receiver? They can only hold so many connections afterall.

Re:Security Theatre. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17074074)

I don't care what the justification is. All they want is an excuse to sell them to anyone who can forge the required documentation, and if it'll get my hands on a cellphone jammer I'll be the Deputy-General of Vatican City.

Re:Security Theatre. (3, Insightful)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074204)

and frankly, it seems the police can't be trusted with tasers

How many abuse incidents were there in the more than 70,000 times [gao.gov] that tasers have been used by police? Instead of making overbroad generalizations, you should realize that tasers (and other weapons like bean bag shotgun rounds, pepper spray, and hopefully the microwave pain ray that the military's been working on) are an effective way of apprehending criminals and protecting the public without causing lasting, disfiguring injury or death in all but the most exceptional of cases. Yes, they can be abused, but so can a firearm or a broomstick.

Damn cops, can't trust 'em with a broomstick.

Re:Security Theatre. (1)

Rob_Bryerton (606093) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074564)

>>Damn cops, can't trust 'em with a broomstick.

You're learning...

Re:Security Theatre. (2, Informative)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074260)

Jamming is a bad idea anyway because the government still hasn't gotten its shit together with radios that work well across departments and agencies. If your fireman has to talk to a policeman, they've got to do it with a cell phone in lots of places. Then, some asshole starts jamming that, and everything goes to shit in short order.

Jammers in Theaters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17073900)

Has anyone else dreamed of buying one of those overseas cell phone jammers that looks like a Nokia phone, and using it against the gangster types that ruin the movies at the theater? (You know, the constant push-to-talk sounds, the rings, and the displays that hinder your vision.

Then I think of the risk to one's health and the risk of deactivating someone's cell phone who might need it for an emergency and I take pause; What if a parent were in the movie theater and didn't receive a call that their child was sick? What if a doctor missed an important call? What if the FCC beats you over the head with your illegal piece of equipment?

What if gangsters realized that even text messaging silently in a dark theater is disturbing as it broadcasts light all over the theater? If so, I doubt they'd care.

Let's hope someone brings a cell phone jammer to the theater tonight. I would like to be able to enjoy a movie...

Re:Jammers in Theaters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17073982)

I am constantly puzzled as to why the theater owners and operators don't sit an usher in the theater to combat this behavior. If enough people who like to watch a movie in darkened silence would step up and approach the managers and explain how it will not get your business again if it allows cell phones to be used, I think the theaters would have a financial incentive to change. I know of at least 6 theaters in my area that I won't go to because the people that frequent those particular ones have never learned how to sit down and shut up for two hours straight.

So speak up everyone! If that kind of thing happens when you are watching a movie, complain! If it isn't fixed, then demand you money back and take your money elsewhere.

Re:Jammers in Theaters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17074124)

What if a parent were in the movie theater and didn't receive a call that their child was sick?
What would they have done 20 years ago? Leave someone in charge who would be responsible? And if you're that paranoid where that won't do, what are you doing at the theatre? I just find it crazy and sometimes rediculous how humans have survived for many many hundreds of years and now all of a sudden, no cell phone = the end of the world as we know it and OMG something may happen. Get over it. But what about, you may say, doctors? 50 years ago (very short time) when you had a heart attack, you usually died. People dealt with it. Now people can live after getting one with proper immediate care. Now people think its a right to have medical care immediately, and if they still died, it was that the medical care was inadequate/slow/wrong etc.

Re:Jammers in Theaters (5, Informative)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074364)

What if a doctor missed an important call?

      I'm a doctor. And when I'm at a movie I turn my telephone OFF. That's why we have availability schedules, secretaries, answering services and the like. And if it's THAT MUCH of an emergency, you call 911. How am I going to be able to help you on the phone in a life and death situation anyway?

      As for the parent in the movie theater with a "sick child", once again - perhaps a little more organizing is necessary. If you absolutely can't be out of phone contact - are you sure you can be out of physical contact? Again what can you do on the phone? Either the person who is looking after the child is competent or not. If they're not - why are you leaving a child with them? Nah this is just excuses to justify habitual cell phone use. Humanity survived for many generations without cell phones. Being out of contact for an hour and a half is not going to kill someone.

Re:Jammers in Theaters (1)

ISurfTooMuch (1010305) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074612)

Thank you! I have a friend who is in the same situation as you. There are times when he's on call, in case someone needs emergency surgery. When that's the case, he doesn't go anywhere or do anything that makes him unable to get to the hospital should they need him. If he wants to see a movie, he waits until he isn't on call. Otherwise, he either stays home or only goes to places that he can easily leave at a moment's notice. When I go to a restaurant, my policy is to place my phone on vibrate. If it rings, I'll look at it to see who called, and I'll answer only if it appears to be an important call. To get on the phone just for the sake of yakking to a friend is not only rude to other diners; it's especially rude to those at your table. You came to eat with them, yet it appears that they aren't as important to you as your phone call. Those who feel they must take calls in all places and situations either don't have a grasp on their priorities or are just being rude to those around them, since they're saying that the call they must take is more important than everyone else in their vicinity.

puckered pecker (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17073944)

sucking the jizz out of all of them every single day. this should be your first item of business in the morning. You understand me? ok, good

They are referring to cell phone scrambling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17073948)

It seems they are referring to Scrambling not Jamming. Scrambling as in, you can't intercept and hear the audio.

No, they're talking about jamming. (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074208)

It seems they are referring to Scrambling not Jamming. Scrambling as in, you can't intercept and hear the audio.

No, they're talking about jamming. Not just the audio, but the control signals.

The issue is that terrorists have used the ringer/vibrator on cellphones as an easy way to build a radio remote trigger for bombs. They can plant the bomb, key in the bomb's phone number, watch until the target is next to the bomb, and hit "send". BANG!

A jammer on a convoy creates a bubble around it within which the cell control signals won't ring the bomb's cellphone. The convoy rolls past the bomb, the bomber hits send, and he gets the recorded voice that says the bomb's cellphone is not available, so please leave a message.

(I bet some of the messages are a bit spicy. B-) )

Why is this even an issue? (1)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 7 years ago | (#17073972)

I paid for my cellphone so I get to use it when I want. Personal cell phone jammers should never be allowed. Only movie theaters and the like should be allowed to use these, nobody else. And even then, I really, really, REALLY don't like the idea. Why can't one person in a theater of 400 get up and go ask a manager to kick somebody out? He won't kick them out? There's 25 other people around whoever is talking that are also very pissed off. I'm sure 25*$8 is a lot of money to a movie theater, they might think twice if a few other people go up and voice their opinion too.

Cell phones haven't been much of a problem in the theaters I've been too (in Atlanta, where you would expect this to be an issue), certainly not enough of one to warrant use of a cell phone jammer.

Re:Why is this even an issue? (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074036)

Movie theaters don't even have the right to install them. As you pointed out they already have the ability to deal with the problem - BY KICKING THE ASSHOLE OUT!

There's no reason to allow cell phone jammers. I paid for my cell phone. Verizon paid for the licenses to those bands. Both of us have a right to expect that we can use them.

Re:Why is this even an issue? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074262)

There's no reason to allow cell phone jammers.

      Hospitals. You'd be surprised at how many patients AND staff violate the no cell phone rules, in sensitive places like intensive care units, cardiology wings and operating theaters. A jammer would probably cause the same interference than a cell phone or worse, however.

      You have the right to use your cell phone, provided that right doesn't infringe on other people's rights. Cell phones do cause interference with sensitive electronics. In some situations (aircraft, some parts of hospitals, etc) other "rights" must take precedence over yours.

Re:Why is this even an issue? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17074434)

Well, you answered your own question there. ;) The jammers would be as bad as, if not massively worse than, the odd cell phone call from some idiot who calls at a hospital. So the GP's point stands... there's no reason to allow cell phone jammers.

Re:Why is this even an issue? (2, Funny)

Reason58 (775044) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074088)

I paid for my cellphone so I get to use it when I want. Personal cell phone jammers should never be allowed.

I paid for my cell phone jammer so I should get to use it when I want.

FINALLY! Here's why... (1)

Orig_Club_Soda (983823) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074106)

My brother is a teacher and several of his friends are teachers. He would love to jam cell phones for his classroom.

Re:FINALLY! Here's why... (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074146)

He would love to jam cell phones for his classroom.

      Sure, if I was a teacher I'd also love to jam those cell phones up their... umm wait a sec.

Re:FINALLY! Here's why... (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074254)

My brother is a teacher and several of his friends are teachers. He would love to jam cell phones for his classroom.

Cell phones weren't common in school when I went in the 80s, but GameBoys were. GameBoys weren't specifically banned, but a lot of teachers' policy was that if they were *used* in class and the user got caught, they'd be confiscated and returned to the parents. If the parents chose not to come in and pick them up within a week, they would no longer be available for pickup.

-b.

Right market, wrong device (3, Funny)

finkployd (12902) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074132)

I'm sure what is topping the Police Christmas Wish List this year is a cell phone CAMERA jamming device. Cell phones themselves are likely of little concern, but those damn cameras are causing nothing but trouble.

Finkployd

Re:Right market, wrong device (1)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074274)

Their wish [engadget.com] has been granted!

Guns and cops (1)

nottestuser (166818) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074174)

We give local police guns and other equipment to protect the public, but we can't trust them with cellular-jamming equipment?
And how's that working [usatoday.com] out [chicagotribune.com] again [salon.com] ?

Chewbacca defence (1)

alexhard (778254) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074182)

It doesn't make sense.'"

If it doesn't make sense, you MUST acquit! I rest my case..

I love the line... (1)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074196)

...about how saying that the Homeland Security act is "acknowledged as being an important part of combating terrorism". I think it's an otherwise valid argument (although the bit about the long-established act having to be removed for a brand-new one is slightly disconcerting), but that line put me off.

Also, (since I'm too lazy to Google it) what else does the Communications Act cover, and how good of an idea is it to "have it go"?

Tank Police! (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074210)

from the next-we-can-give-the-police-tanks dept.

Feel the power that they've got.

/And after that, let's replace their guns with tactical nuclear weapons!

Not protecting his bottom line at all, is he? (0, Flamebait)

rdewalt (13105) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074282)

By his line of thought, backdoor programs should be in every OS, so TERRERISTS can't hide their actions. OMG! Think of all the child Porn People We could catch! THINK OF THE CHILDREN! Don't tell me you are siding with the Child Porn People!

PGP (and its ilk) should have a Master Government Key to keep TERRERISTS from hiding data!

We shouldn't allow libraries to exist. After all TERRORISTAS can learn how to make bombs at one!

Footwear!! Lets make all footwear illegal! TERRORISTS all had footwear. Everyone should have thin sandals with small straps. If it was good enough for JESUS it will be good enough for everyone!!!!

I hope Cell Jammers Become Legal (0, Troll)

ahayes_m (1016758) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074290)

I hope cell jammers become legal and are made mandatory in all new cars and a mandatory retrofit in all old cars and must be active whenever the ignition is. We would see a huge decrease in the number of car accidents. It's worth it, period.

A tricky subject indeed. (3, Interesting)

dapsychous (1009353) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074474)

While I agree that people who talk on their cell phone in a movie theater deserver to die in a painful, gruesome, stabbed-to-death-with-your-cell-phone's-antenna kinda way, cell phone jamming would bring too much liability to the owner of the theater, library, etc.

What if there was a device that would simply notify the management automatically that there was a transmission of sufficient power to be a conversation or text message coming from auditorium three, and he could then send one of his employees to investigate and boot the offending jackass. That way, in the event of an emergency, the projector could be shut down, the lights brought on, and the auditorium evacuated so the paramedics don't have to climb over the rubberneckers. In the event that it's just Joe Jackoff calling his honey, he could be quietly booted with no refund.

I think that would work a lot better, and save the whole "Doctor on call" situation from occurring.

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