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Cell Phone Jamming on the Rise

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the jerks-ruin-it-for-everyone dept.

Communications 942

netbuzz writes "It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone either, as the number of inconsiderate dolts who yammer away oblivious to the disruptions their yapping is causing those around them continues to rise. Pocket-sized cell jammers are becoming a hot item, while proprietors of restaurants and the like look to defend themselves as well. Yes it's illegal, but given that the rudeness is pretty close to criminal as well, it's unlikely to stop any time soon."

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matter of time (5, Insightful)

yagu (721525) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231793)

Probably just a matter of time before an emergency requires a quick call to 911 that gets blocked by this illegal tactic. And then nasty court battles... the "blockers" will deserve it. You don't silence rude cell phone people by cutting off the cell phone universe. You don't stop obnoxious car drivers by blockading the interstate.

There are better ways to deal with the issue. It requires a little courage on the part of those who are violated, but it's better than the alternative. Personally, I do think cell phones are way overused and a general nuisance, certainly the way they're used today. But I'm coming out with guns blazing the day I can't get emergency help for me or someone who needs it because some gutless wonder is using one of these devices and my cell phone is rendered more useless than it already is.

From the article, one of the makers of a jamming device offers up this weak rationalization:

"Our position is that the proprietor of an enclosed space should have the right to control disturbances within that space. That could be a fight in a bar, that could be somebody yelling at his kid on a cell phone, or whatever."

Back to my example of bad and dangerous drivers... yes, there's a "collective right" to "control" bad behavior, but you wouldn't blockade the interstates in the interest of "control". Similarly, to unilaterally disable all cell phones is ludicrous.

In pre-response to:

  • Just take it outside! Answer: In an emergency one may not be thinking that clearly about just why their cell phone isn't working, losing precious time.
  • Just take it outside! Answer: Outside may not be all that close... what if you're on the commuter train? Where's "outside" there?
  • Just take it outside! Answer: What if "outside" is another zone where someone has deemed it appropriate to silence rude cell phones?

I do propose at some point the ubiquitous rude behavior on cell phones dictates some solution. I hope sooner rather than later. Jamming.... is not the solution.

Re:matter of time (5, Funny)

Verteiron (224042) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231839)

I do propose at some point the ubiquitous rude behavior on cell phones dictates some solution. I hope sooner rather than later.

I hear cattle prods are fairly effective. Oh sure, it briefly increases the noise level, but it's well worth it.

Re:matter of time (-1, Redundant)

kc2keo (694222) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231947)

or we can just use tasers on annoying cellphone users.

Re:matter of time (4, Funny)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231959)

don't forget that you also have the option to touch the offending cellphone with that cattle prod, too, for a longer term solution

Re:matter of time (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21232039)

I have several of these devices secretly planted in areas around my home, car as well as portable ones to carry with me wherever i go... These things work like a charm. I love it as i walk into a crowd and see everyone stop talking as they look at their phones... "can you hear me now, bitches?"

Re:matter of time (5, Funny)

gb506 (738638) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232139)

"can you hear me now, bitches?"

If you carry that jamming device in your front pocket you'll be saying that to your nutz sometime soon.

Re:matter of time (2, Funny)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232221)

These things work like a charm. I love it as i walk into a crowd and see everyone stop talking as they look at their phones.

Concealed carry laws were passed with people like you in mind. Just saying.

Re:matter of time (5, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231901)

911 calls were the first thing I thought of, too. Any business owner who jams a call about somebody having a heart attack would be sued into oblivion, and deserve it.

For restaurants, hair salons, etc., there's a simple solution -- just make it a policy, and have the guts to enforce it. Post little "No cell phone usage inside this establishment" signs. If people ignore the signs, politely remind them of the policy. If they continue to ignore it, throw them out, just like with any other customer who violates a policy of the business. Make common-sense exceptions for 911 calls. (They could even put that on their signs, if they wanted to.) Whatever business they'd lose in aggrieved cell-phone-addicted customers, they'd probably gain in others who appreciate the peace and quiet. The jamming thing is sneaky, cowardly, and dangerous.

Re:matter of time (2, Insightful)

batquux (323697) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232073)

911 calls were the first thing I thought of, too. Any business owner who jams a call about somebody having a heart attack would be sued into oblivion, and deserve it.
Possibly, if they had any idea the phone was jammed. If their phone simply doesn't work in an establishment, can they sue the owner? Most places have a land line anyway that they'd be happy to let you use for emergencies.

*Mod Parent up!** (5, Interesting)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232171)

Throw out a loud obnoxious bozo yelling into his cell like you'd throw out that loud obnoxious drunk guy. There's not much of a difference.

You don't have an argument (2, Insightful)

strcpy(NULL,... (1089693) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232201)

If you're in a restaurant and have a heart attack, surely someone will call 911 thru the landline. i.e. don't pay the tab until you are confident enough to walk into cell phone coverage if you're so concerned :) People can learn to live without cell phones. Filtering against those who don't know it yet won't be as profitable and simple blocking is much less offensive than telling the customer to STFU.

Re:You don't have an argument (2, Insightful)

Entropius (188861) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232249)

okay, what if you're in $PUBLIC_PLACE, and your mother calls telling you that your father had a heart attack?

Re:You don't have an argument (5, Insightful)

diskis (221264) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232345)

Same way as before cell phones. How did you ever manage 10 years ago when there were no cell phones?

A little over the top there... (5, Insightful)

bashibazouk (582054) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231963)

A jammer does not need to be on all the time to work. Just turn it on when someone is being annoying. They loose signal. try again, loose signal. They go outside thinking they are not getting enough bars. Problem solved.

Not to mention society seemed to get along just fine before the invention of the cell phone. Landlines work for 911 as well, you know. And if it's a pay phone you don't even need money...

Re:A little over the top there... (3, Insightful)

PJ1216 (1063738) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232061)

you're still putting a lot of faith in the one using the jamming device. the person may very well just leave it on (not sure how long they last or power usage, etc.). that right there destroys your first argument. the second argument is that cell phones have changed societies. landlines are becoming more and more rare. yes, in most establishments you can find them, but a lot of payphones are being shut down due to them no longer being as profitable. so, comparing now to the pre-cell phone age isn't a very good comparison. not everything else is equal. while your points are valid, it still puts all the control in the hands of the jammer, not the person making the emergency phone call.

Re:A little over the top there... (1)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232091)

And also, although it says that they are "on the rise" I doubt that very many people have them and are using them. And also, how long are we going to use our current signals until we can get faster, stronger signals that don't get blocked by these?

Re:A little over the top there... (1)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232355)

At which point the jammers switch to the new frequencies and or up the power. The problem with jamming is that it is on the side of the jammer. It takes a lot less power to jam that it does to break through the jamming.

Re:A little over the top there... (5, Insightful)

plate_o_shrimp (948271) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232145)

That argument assumes jammers would be used responsibly. If cell phones aren't being used responsibly, what are the odds that jammers would be?

Re:A little over the top there... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21232211)

They lose signal. It's not that hard to learn the difference between lose and loose. Get a grip.

Re:A little over the top there... (1, Insightful)

JoeSavage (906113) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232319)

And if it's a pay phone you don't even need money...
What is this "pay phone" of which you speak?

re: You don't stop obnoxious car drivers (3, Interesting)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231975)

You don't stop obnoxious car drivers by blockading the interstate.

There are always smug fuckers in the passing lane, doing slightly under the limit all the time, with absolutely no consideration to the lines of cars behind them, or the mayhem it causes as they all try to pass in the center or right lanes.

Some are clueless, others actually think they're saving the day by enforcing the limit, and a few honestly believe that 60mph is fast-as-hell because it feels like it in their Prius.

I can't stand the baby-vigilanteism in its many forms.

Re:matter of time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21232027)

what were the insights here?

Re:matter of time (4, Interesting)

Threni (635302) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232043)

> You don't stop obnoxious car drivers by blockading the interstate.

If there was a way of only blocking obnoxious car drivers by blockading the interstate then I'd blockade the interstate.

My interest in this is watching a film/listening to a concert. I don't want to hear a phone ring, ever. You know, the way it was 10/15 years ago. Back then, only professionals had phones/pagers, which would vibrate silently. Before that (20+ years ago), not even that. I'm proposing that no phones ever ring in a cinema/concert hall. If your job is so important that you must be reachable all the time, you have 2 options. One - you just don't attend the event whilst on call, and 2) you pay someone outside the event to look after your phone, and if it's important enough for you to leave then they can come and get you.

Re:matter of time (5, Insightful)

Neoprofin (871029) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232317)

You know, there are a lot of things that I hate when I got to movies, including but not limited to cell phones going off, people talking loudly, people who go to the bathroom too often, people who eat loudly, people who put there feet up, etc etc. All of these things could be prevented in one way or another.

However, I lack that feeling of self-importance that the entire movie theater revolves around my experience. If someone's cell phone goes off, fine. If they answer it or if it goes off again I politely ask them to get out of the theater. If someone eats too loudly, not much you can do there but tell them, because your food jammer hasn't come in the mail yet. If people are talking, ask them to stop because you can't legally duct tape their mouths shut yet. Jamming cell phones is just an unneeded cost to stop something that isn't even the most common or distracting thing that happens(at least at any movie I've ever seen). If someone does something you don't like, tell them about it, don't sit around thinking about a preemptive strike to try and control other people. Try being assertive, it works even on problems that technology can't solve.

Re:matter of time (5, Interesting)

Ricardo (43461) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232049)

When you use one of these things, you only hold down the button till the phone call disconnects (usually ten seconds at most). The you let it off. You usually find if they call back, they get the phone call over with quickly.

This hysterical crazy talk about many people dying in a skyscraper because of this kind "black spot" is just nonsense (You really have to wonder how the human race made it to the 1980s without cell phones at all).

In Japan people are very polite on trains regarding talking on phones, most people wisper and cover their mouths while talking.

In the US, Australia and the UK (where I have most of my experience of it, you often encounter "Exhibition Talkers" who seem to believe the whole carriage is interested in their little world. Asking them to "keep it down please" will only result in abuse.

Re:matter of time (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232067)

> Back to my example of bad and dangerous drivers... yes, there's a "collective right" to
> "control" bad behavior, but you wouldn't blockade the interstates in the interest of
> "control".

My property is not a highway. I can blockade my driveway if I wish.

Re:matter of time (3, Insightful)

vertinox (846076) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232069)

Probably just a matter of time before an emergency requires a quick call to 911 that gets blocked by this illegal tactic.

One possibility could be that a team of highjackers take over an airplane and use one to prevent outside phone calls.
Or...
An armed robber has one to prevent anyone from making calls during a heist.
Or...
An house burglar uses it to disable one of the new type of house alarms that are cellular.

That said, I don't think the technology should be banned outright because any of the above would be able to make it from generic parts and it would have some legal uses.

As long as it remains on private property and the signal does not interfere with cell phones outside the property any business should be allowed to use one as long as they have signs posted that they disable cell phones.

Of course as it stands now, FCC regulations prevents even legitimate use so this has become a black market of sorts.

Re:matter of time (1)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232071)

You don't stop obnoxious car drivers by blockading the interstate.
But I can always bash them for ramming into my car parked in my own fucking garage. Stupid car analogies.

Re:matter of time (4, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232177)

"Our position is that the proprietor of an enclosed space should have the right to control disturbances within that space. That could be a fight in a bar, that could be somebody yelling at his kid on a cell phone, or whatever."

"Your honor, my client was viciously raped after the attacker use the Jam-O-Matic 5000 to keep her from calling the police. We're asking $3.2 billion."

I wonder to what extent a judge or jury would buy their rationalization.

Re:matter of time (1)

Thanatopsis (29786) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232239)

The argument in the article is nonsensical. Proprietors of private space have ZERO control over the public airwaves. If someone using a cellphone [shopsort.com] is being an idiot, the proprietor can kindly ask them to step outside their establishment. Problem solved. A jammer is like using a tactical nuclear weapon to go elk hunting. Sure you can do it but it's overkill.

Re:matter of time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21232259)

Yes, you are correct. Or course. Especially the "just a matter of time" weasel phrase. Oh yes.

I'll bet you winder how people survived for 100,000 years without a mobile 'phone.

Emergency. 911. The "think-of-the-children" for the New Apologists.

Re:matter of time (1)

st0rmshad0w (412661) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232265)

I do propose at some point the ubiquitous rude behavior on cell phones dictates some solution. I hope sooner rather than later.

If alone, place yourself next to the rude bastard, pull out a pad, and start taking notes.

If with a friend, place yourselves on opposite sides of rude bastard and start a conversation ACROSS him/her.

Re:matter of time (1)

Razed By TV (730353) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232321)

I don't see why jammers have to be such a white and black issue.

I can build a faraday cage around my building, or I can jam cell phone signals. One is prohibitively expensive when compared to the other, yet the net result is the same. Also note, it is not illegal to build a faraday cage around your building. If I can do it with a faraday cage, it is entirely reasonable for me to be able to do it with a jammer.

I'm not saying restriction free use of jammers is a good idea, where any cell phone crusader can go on their own little holy war against drivers, movie goers, diners, church goers, etc. An establishment should have to make public their choice to jam through some sort of easily identifiable sign that is a national standard, their jammer shouldn't flood into adjoining properties or outside the building's physical boundaries (not onto the sidewalk out front, for instance, even if that is within the property line), and establishments without accessible landlines should be prohibited from using jammers. Personal use of jammers should probably be prohibited outright, or at least subject to the same restrictions.

Mmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21231811)

Raspberry!

Anything but normal social interaction.. (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231825)

To anyone who uses these, and is so upset about everyone on their phones in public, I have this question.

Besides bitching about it later, have you ever politely asked somebody to keep it down, or turn it off, before resorting to be a "passive aggressive"* asshole?

It's not that big of a deal, and you'll find that most people when treated with a little respect will gladly oblige, and apologize.

* - code for pussy

Re:Anything but normal social interaction.. (5, Funny)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232231)

There are no 'norms' for behavior while on the phone. I see guys at urinals, talking to various people. I always mention, loudly, do you know this guy's calling you while peeing?

1) they have both hands busy, and therefore can't fight
2) if they do, they'll soil themselves
3) they have to immediately explain their actions to the called party.

People are terribly self-centered, and you'll never get around them. It's like the kilowatt jam speakers in people's car trunks, and how they'll rattle the dishes in an neighborhood. They can't hear the sound of my paintball gun over the tops of it-- and I'm sure of this. I hate to waste rounds, but the cars sure do look psychedelic when they pass thru my 'hood.

penis (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21231829)

i shot the sheriff, but i did not shoot it in his ass.

Just a question (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21231837)

These devices are not FCC approved, are they?

Re:Just a question (1)

physicsboy500 (645835) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231969)

I believe this long-ass legal document [fcc.gov] from the FCC should answer your question.

Most importantly, this little subsection:

SEC. 333. [47 U.C.S. 333] WILLFUL OR MALICIOUS INTERFERENCE.
No person shall willfully or maliciously interfere with or cause interference
to any radio communications of any station licensed or authorized by or under this
Act or operated by the United States Government.
So to answer your question: No, these devices are not FCC approved and they will not be approved unless the FCC and the US government change this section.

endangering lives (0, Troll)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231841)

Police should now be on the hunt for these. In some situations these are more dangerous than a gun or a knife. Having one with you could kill tens or even hundreds of people (think shy scrapers and such). If you're that bothered by someone on the phone just politely ask if they could be a little quieter or go else where. For all you know some 10 year old kid has a bad heart and has to keep his cell phone on 24/7 for that all important "Get to hospital NOW" call.

But hey, if watching the latest blockbuster is more important than someone's life by all means carry one around, hell try two!

Re:endangering lives (2, Funny)

MarsDefenseMinister (738128) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231873)

These could inadvertently trigger a terrorist attack too. It's not too hard to imagine a bomb controlled by a signal, and if that signal is cut off the bomb explodes. This would be a fail-safe switch for the bomber and the bomb, in case the terrorist is killed, the bomb goes off. There are IED's in Iraq that work like that right now. These jammers could kill innocent people, and are properly illegal.

Re:endangering lives (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231909)

That setup will kill the battery way to fast to be useful.

Re:endangering lives (1)

tkavanaugh (863507) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232093)

unless it's plugged into a wall, or is powered by solar... there are lots of possibilities other then just sitting on the side of the road dumb...

Re:endangering lives (1)

SnapShot (171582) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232123)

Actually, it's more likely that cell phone jammers will save lives since many of the IEDs are actually detonated by cell phone calls.

New bumper stickers / Republican debate points:
"Cell Phone Jammers Save Lives",
"Win the War on Terror! Jam Cell Phones",
"Love your Country; Jam a Cell Phone!",
"Terrorists Use Cell Phones",
"Unjammed Cell Phones Sink Ships"

Re:endangering lives - WHAT? (1)

JambisJubilee (784493) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232205)

A 10 year old has a bad heart and needs to call the hospital, but someone jams his signal and he dies! And this will be a boon to terrorists... "These jammers could kill innocent people..."


You're right! I also heard that cell phone jammers emit electromagnetic RADIATION, which in addition to killing 10 year old boys with bad hearts, can also CUT YOU IN HALF or GIVE YOU CANCER or even BLIND YOU! One time someone jammed my cell phone signal, and my ice cream went all melty.

I'm afraid to ask if you honestly believe what you wrote....

Re:endangering lives (4, Funny)

ewieling (90662) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232055)

Fortunately, there is 100% cell coverage by all carriers everywhere.

Re:endangering lives (2, Insightful)

vertinox (846076) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232163)

For all you know some 10 year old kid has a bad heart and has to keep his cell phone on 24/7 for that all important "Get to hospital NOW" call.

Quick! Outlaw tunnels and buildings too thick to allow cell phone signals!

But seriously... It is kind of silly to think that someone can rely on a cell phone 24/7 for emergency issues. As an anecdotally statement, there are parts of the building I work in that are complete dead zones depend on which direction I face. Maybe they used too much concrete or my service provider just blows, but I have a hunch that if there is an emergency I should use a land line.

If I go driving in the backwoods of New Jersey my cell phone doesn't even get a good roaming signal. (Though the nice thing about the Turnpikes is that New Jersey does have emergency phones ever so often)

Anyways... If cell phone use is critical for life and death situations then you should probaly invest in a satellite phone or a ham radio which of course still won't work in a tunnel.

Simply wasting police time with hunting these down is not going to solve any real problem other than to waste tax money. It would be better spent making cell phones more reliable.

Re:endangering lives (2, Insightful)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232213)

more dangerous than a gun or a knife. Having one with you could kill tens or even hundreds of people (think shy scrapers and such).
I'm thinking skyscrapers and such... I have no idea how denial of cell service could possibly kill hundreds of people.
What, the fire alarms have all been replaced with "in case of emergency, use your cell" signs or something??

Re:endangering lives (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232233)

> For all you know some 10 year old kid has a bad heart and has to keep his cell phone on 24/7 for that all important "Get to hospital NOW" call.

Yeah, that happens all the time, doesn't it.

What about in certain areas - cinema, restaurant, concert hall. If there are signs alerting people that there's a jammer in use in a confined, private area, and you're made aware of the fact, do you have a problem with that. I'd be prepared to exclude poor little Timmy if it meant I could watch a film in the same way I did 15 or so years ago.

Full support (1, Redundant)

HalifaxRage (640242) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231847)

I am in full support of this. There are some places (such as theatres, restauirants etc) that people should not be yammering away on a cell phone. While I appreciate the fact that there are a small number of professions (doctors, police, etc) who should be available 24/7, it would be far preferable to supply an exception for them . We don;t let everyone speed through red lights just because ambulances should.

Re:Full support (5, Insightful)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231929)

The ambulance isn't coming, skippy.

You'll just lay on the floor breathless, your life slipping away as a crowd stands around you in increased frustration as they're calls to 911 won't get through.

The coroner will find the jammer in your pocket later, when he inventories your possessions before tagging your toe and zipping up the bag.

And all because you didn't have the stones to just ask people to please turn off their phones so you could hear better.

Re:Full support (1)

Jackmn (895532) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232121)

Or they could just call 911 from a landline in the restaurant, which would work perfectly fine.

Re:Full support (1)

adamstew (909658) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232167)

the problem is, you can't selectively block cell phones with these jammers. The jammers work by flooding the frequency with noise. Any real traffic on the frequency is drowned out by the noise....thereby preventing the call from going through. It's all cell phones get blocked, or none of them do. There are no exceptions able to be made.

Also, you are forgetting the case where someone needs to make a legitimate exception who might not have the special "doctor's clearance". Some woman's husband is having a heart attack, or someone gets stuck in the elevator in a building and has a severe asthma attack.

There are a 1001 VERY good reasons to not block cell phone signals and blocking them only serves for the peace and quiet of individuals. Any one of those 1001 reasons would be reason enough to ban the blocking devices.

As soon as any business sets up one of these jammers, it's now just become a ticking time bomb for some emergency to happen and someone isn't going to be able to call for help. When that time bomb goes off, the business is going to get sued.

Although, it shouldn't take long for these devices to end a quick death...minutes after the first multi-million dollar judgement against the business is handed down, which shouldn't take more than a couple months, the insurance companies will ban them outright, and that will be the end of it.

hmmm (5, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231855)

What I find a little strange is how some people consider someone talking on a cell phone in a restaurant automatically rude, even if they're speaking at a normal volume. If someone's in a conversation at another table, is it really that bad if the other participant in the conversation isn't actually in the restaurant?

Re:hmmm (1)

mingot (665080) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231993)

I'm with you. Just don't find people talking on cellphones very annoying (or at least any more annoying than they would be with the other person next to them).

Re:hmmm (1)

labyrinth (65992) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232257)

1. People talking on cellphones usually seem to be talking louder than hey would in a normal conversation, even when they are talking about very private things. I think it is a psychological thing: if you are talking with somebody, you are "ïn the room" and aware that other people might overhear. If you are talking on the phone, you are in a "separate place" and more or less oblivious of your surroundings.

2. For some reason I find it is harder to block out half a conversation than two people talking

Re:hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21232307)

What I find a little strange is how some people consider someone talking on a cell phone in a restaurant automatically rude, even if they're speaking at a normal volume. If someone's in a conversation at another table, is it really that bad if the other participant in the conversation isn't actually in the restaurant?

I don't care when someone at another table is speaking at a cellphone in normal volume. That's because it's none of my business to be looking at what other people are doing at other tables. I'm likely not even going to notice it's a cellphone.

However, it's extremely, EXTREMELY rude when someone does it at the same table as you, because they're excluding you from a conversation that's going on right in front of you. Anytime I'm with anybody else, my calls go to voicemail. If I'm expecting a call that I must answer, the polite thing to do is to excuse myself from the table, find a private spot, and then talk. Exceptions are made when that's not possible, such when you're a passenger in a car (and you MUST take the call instead of waiting). Exceptions are also made if the call is made on behalf of everyone with you. Calling someone everyone is expecting because they're late in showing up, or calling to find out what time a movie everyone will attend is, etc. Those are fine because the call isn't private and you'll be expected to share with everyone what you just heard anyway.

And phones ringing in movie theaters, libraries, and other places where people are expected to be quiet is also rude. Quadruply so if someone actually answers it.

Re:hmmm (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232313)

I thought it was a well-known psychological thing that one-sided conversations are harder to block out than two-sided conversations, so they "seem" louder even if they are actually the same volume.

I think some talkers might instinctively talk louder because the mic piece picks up a lot of the surrounding noise too.

Rudeness vs. Illegality (5, Insightful)

LightPhoenix7 (1070028) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231861)

No, the rudeness is not criminal. A cell phone jammer takes away a person's right to be a loud, annoying, inconsiderate idiot. Rudeness is a person exercising their right to be a loud, annoying, inconsiderate idiot.

Re:Rudeness vs. Illegality (1)

physicsboy500 (645835) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232035)

No, the rudeness is not criminal [...] Rudeness is a person exercising their right to be a loud, annoying, inconsiderate idiot.
Unless it becomes a "public disturbance" which has a very loose legal definition. I agree that they weren't wholly correct in saying it is illegal, but the same goes for calling it legal also. Hooray for the gray areas of the law!

Re:Rudeness vs. Illegality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21232197)

No, the rudeness is not criminal.

Tell that to the "don't tase me bro" kid. A police investigation has exonerated the police of wrongdoing.

Deaf people only use instant text messaging (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232279)

No, the rudeness is not criminal. A cell phone jammer takes away a person's right to be a loud, annoying, inconsiderate idiot. Rudeness is a person exercising their right to be a loud, annoying, inconsiderate idiot.
Quite insightful. In the spirit of having rights, I offer these two words to deal with loud, annoying people: AIR HORN!!!!

I agree with "Matter of Time" (3, Insightful)

LM741N (258038) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231867)

In addition to the public safety issues, there are purely engineering ones. We are on a path to where the background noise level caused by multitudes of transmitters is going to render much of the radio spectrum useless. Plus with devices that have not gone through Type Acceptance, who knows what garbage is coming out of their antenna?

Pagers? Special frequency? (3, Interesting)

colmore (56499) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231891)

I really don't know much about cell / PCS

Is there some way these things could be made to not block a special frequency or pagers. Doctors and emergency workers on call need to be able to be reached at dinner and in movie theaters. Everyone else can shut up.

Re:Pagers? Special frequency? (0, Redundant)

jamar0303 (896820) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231925)

These things are tailor-made to block only certain frequencies.

A new hack needed (2, Funny)

FrenchyinCT (733872) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231923)

So when will we have a "spoiled rampaging kids" jammer?

Re:A new hack needed (1)

SpottedKuh (855161) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232017)

So when will we have a "spoiled rampaging kids" jammer?

That's called a taser. Feel free to use it either on the child or on the asinine parent unwilling to control the child.

Seriously, there have been times at restaurants where I would have left a very large tip were my waiter to have performed this little favour! :)

Re:A new hack needed (1)

Ron_Fitzgerald (1101005) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232349)

Although this is another topic entirely you may or may not be aware of what parents abilities are now with their children.

If children are yelled at, scolded or reprimanded harshly they get a psychologist telling them they had bad parents.

If they are so outrageous and need to be jolted back to reality via a slap or spanking, a parent will get their kids taken away by child services due to child abuse.

If those kids aren't civil to begin with there is unfortunately nothing you can do until they reach the age of reason. The best thing for the parent(s) to do would be to leave that area, and that should be mentioned to the parent(s). But I understand that alot of the time parents refuse to acknowledge the discomfort of those around them.

More on topic...
I believe that social interaction should be taught in school as well as in the home. It seems that this area is mostly left unspoken. Kids and teenagers need to be shown how to be in public not just expected to be. Once this is learned in childhood it will be developed in adulthood.

In case anyone wonders, I have two daughters. A 5 year old and a 3 year old. Only once has the 3 year old been out of control in public and it was in a Polar Express event during the reading. I as an aware parent took my daughter outsode until she cooled off. No slapping involved.

Source and an alternative (1, Interesting)

martyb (196687) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231945)

Instead of reading a *summary* of a New York Times article, here it is [nytimes.com] .

That article mentions high-powered jammers and specifically one restaurant owner who paid $1000 to install one so he could keep his employees working instead of gabbing on their cell phone.

It may be illegal in the USA to actively jam cell-phone signals, but as far as I know, there's no law prohibiting someone from passively jamming signals; see: Faraday Cage [wikipedia.org] :

Mobile phones and radios may have no reception inside elevators or similar structures. Some traditional architectural materials act as Faraday shields in practice. These include plaster with metal lath, and rebar reinforced concrete. These affect the use of cordless phones and wireless networks inside buildings and houses.

Hmmm, I wonder if aluminum siding would be effective?

Re:Source and an alternative (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232075)

If you have no bars, you have no bars.

My phone alerts me it no longer has a signal, and if I'm waiting for an important or emergency call, I find somewhere else to be.

When some asshole has a jammer, my phone has full bars, but I never receive the important/emergency call.

So, there's a huge distinction.

This isn't about some guy who wants his restaurant quiet. It's no big secret that cell phones suck inside, as a general rule.

Aluminum Siding Not Effective (1)

drewzhrodague (606182) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232215)

Hmmm, I wonder if aluminum siding would be effective?

I live in a house that has aluminum siding. I also live immediately next door to a Verizon cell tower.

My personal GSM AT&T phone gets such a bad signal in the house, that I usually have to position the phone in some special and random way so that it gets a signal. I then use a bluetooth headset, because holding the phone to my ear means that I can't see the signal meter, which usually drops to zero as soon as I do this.

My Verizon Treo phone from work gets full signal at all times in the house. In fact, the signal is so strong, that the phone reports more bars than it actually has.

I'm curious to see if aluminum siding will block certain signals, and not others. I don't know much about the RF properties of aluminum.

Faraday Cages (1)

Cassini2 (956052) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232353)

Faraday Cages take some planning to build. They are tougher than they look. My cell phone works in elevators, and they are almost 100% covered in steel. For a restaurant, you need to get all the windows covered with a metal mesh, then all the remaining walls, the ceiling, the floor, and the doors. In the kitchen, things get really complicated, because you have large access doors and air vents.

The easiest way for a restaurant or a commercial establishment to build a Faraday cage would be to employ an RF engineer at the initial stages of construction. A concrete structure with steel reinforcing would probably be the easiest structure to attempt. The required RF mesh could be incorporated into the existing steel and concrete reinforcements with minimum building code issues. The heating and air conditioning ducts could be grounded. I think the military has a product to handle the windows, and if they don't, you could ground standard steel window mesh. The hardest points to protect would be the doors. A standard entry way with two sets of doors (like what is used in most commercial buildings) might work, if the doors can be easily shielded and grounded.

I see your hyperbole and raise you a lawsuit. (4, Insightful)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231965)

Criminal? That's an hyperbole. Here's a use of the word that's not: preventing access to emergency services because it affords you a little convenience is, literally, criminal.
Besides, while I can see the harm of a cellphone ring during a live theatrical performance, such as a play or an opera, it's merely an annoyance during a movie. And as far as restaurants are concerned, well, it's not like asking the offending patron to STFU is going to stop the globe from spinning. And sysadmins, doctors and other "on-call" professions have a right to eat, don't they?

A mind forever blabbing... (1, Insightful)

uuxququex (1175981) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232159)

And sysadmins, doctors and other "on-call" professions have a right to eat, don't they?

Yes, they have a right to eat. But they don't have a mandatory requirement to do it in public. They don't have to annoy the living daylight out of the rest of the population that tries to enjoy a nice meal.

If you're on call or want to babble incessantly on your mobile, eat at home or a fast-food restaurant. If you're in a nice restaurant then turn your mobile off and SHUT-THE-FUCK-UP!

Re:A mind forever blabbing... (3, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232245)

Yes, they have a right to eat. But they don't have a mandatory requirement to do it in public.

That's probably the stupidest think I'll hear today. Congratulations.

If you're in a nice restaurant then turn your mobile off and SHUT-THE-FUCK-UP!

Cell phones have replaced pagers for most people. Am I allowed to get IMs, or do I have to turn those off too?

Re:I see your hyperbole and raise you a lawsuit. (1)

macurmudgeon (900466) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232191)

You're right, it's hyperbole. On the other hand, access to 911 is not precluded if cell phones are jammed. Businesses still have land lines. A cry of "Please call an ambulance," will get a 911 call out in the extremely rare case of actual need. I owned a restaurant for 10 years and in all those thousands of hours of operation had exactly 1 emergency call need. If I were starting out today I would seriously consider offering Cell and non-cell seating. It would be terrific marketing.

Re:I see your hyperbole and raise you $500 per day (3, Informative)

tcgroat (666085) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232327)

Running a jammer is literally a "federal case". Enforcement hasn't been widespread, but that is subject to change based on complaints. The cell phone carriers know how the FCC works and they certainly can complain effectively if they have cause and desire to do so. Illegal jammers conducting denial-of-service attacks on spectrum the carriers paid dearly to license would seem to provide that cause and motivation. Use jammers at your own risk!
SEC. 501. [47 U.S.C. 501] GENERAL PENALTY.

Any person who willfully and knowingly does or causes or suffers to be done any act, matter, or thing, in this Act prohibited or declared to be unlawful, or who willfully and knowingly omits or fails to do any act, matter, or thing in this Act required to be done, or willfully and knowingly causes or suffers such omission or failure, shall upon conviction thereof, be punished for such offense, for which no penalty (other than a forfeiture) is provided in this Act, by a fine of not more than $10,000 or by imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year, or both; except that any person, having been once convicted of an offense punishable under this section, who is subsequently convicted of violating any provision of this Act punishable under this section, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000 Communications Act of 1934 or by imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or both.

SEC. 502. [47 U.S.C. 502] VIOLATION OF RULES, REGULATIONS, AND SO FORTH.

Any person who willfully and knowingly violates any rule, regulation, restriction, or condition made or imposed by the Commission under authority of this Act, or any rule, regulation, restriction, or condition made or imposed by any international radio or wire communications treaty or convention, or regulations annexed thereto, to which the United States is or may hereafter become a party, shall, in addition to any other penalties provided by law, be punished, upon conviction thereof, by a fine of not more than $500 for each and every day during which such offense occurs.(quotation from the communications act,47 U.S.C 501 [fcc.gov] (large pdf!)

It's getting better (1)

Clarencex (204858) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231981)

I spend a lot of time on public transportation. A couple of years ago when cell phones were still new and people were learning how to use them, the problem of loud talkers was really annoying. However, I have noticd that the problem seems to be taking care of itself as people learn that they don't have to yell to be heard on their cell phones. They use of the phones has increased, but people are using them much more sensibly and keeping their voices down. Radical solutions like jamming the phones are becoming much less attractive.

Silence areas are ignored.. (1)

JackMeyhoff (1070484) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231997)

.. we have them on trains and some ignorant youth or an arrogant traveller just has to talk LOUDLY in the QUIET WAGGON. It is then I turn on my jammer. It is much safer than having a "confrontation" by "talking" to them. Simeple, quiet, faceless and it works.

You get punished for getting caught (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21231999)

Finding a cell phone jammer is a difficult problem. If you miss an important call or you can't phone 911 because someone is jamming you, you're probably out of luck. The only way you're going to find the offending device is to get the police to search everyone in the restaurant/theater/etc. Good luck on that one.

Having said the above, probably the best way to use a jammer is for a specific problem. If Foghorn Leghorn at the next table is drowning out your romantic conversation with your wife, turn on the jammer. If there's no problem, leave it off.

I have often thought of building a device that blasts noise onto a cell phone. It sounds like bad reception and gets the offender to move if the conversation is important, or give up if it isn't.

Jesus Christ, get over yourself (0, Flamebait)

b96miata (620163) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232011)

I never understood the incredible animosity towards cell phone users, especially from such a tech friendly crowd.

Is it just the societally reinforced image that talking on a cell phone == bad?

Is it leftover class envy from when they used to cost more than a landline?

Are you jealous they're talking to someone and seeming happy while you're walking down the street or eating dinner by yourself?

If you're in a public place, you're going to be surrounded by the sounds of people talking. I don't understand how hearing a person talking on a cell phone is any more disruptive than hearing them talk to the person next to them.

If they're loud and obnoxious, ok, they're loud and obnoxious, but these are the type of people who would be loud and obnoxious talking to their friend who was two feet away. You'd probably sit there thinking....what a jerk/bitch, but you'd never file it away under "something I can prevent" because its just talking.

Cell phones have just become a scapegoat for being annoyed by....annoying people.

Always thinking... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21232023)

Active jamming may be illegal (If you get cought) but what if the structure in question happens to be enclosed in a faraday cage or similiar arrangement where the bulk bulding structure itself prohibits successful transmission of signals?

Restraunts could even legally advertise that cell phones don't work in their buildings to entice people to choose them over Joes Crack Shack across the street teaming with Hilton wannabees.

Next escalation: pocket spectrum analyzers (0, Redundant)

ciaohound (118419) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232033)

and other devices to locate the jamming devices. THEN what?

Cell phones aren't the only problem (1)

jim9000 (740810) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232053)

All jamming cell phone signals does is annoy customers, and cause potentially dangerous situations in case of an emergency. That is exactly why it is illegal. Remember that emergency responders might need to use phones, too. Also, many public radio systems in the US broadcast somewhere in the 800MHz range if I recall correctly. You certainly wouldn't want to jam those. Although the cell phone jamming devices might not be intending on jamming those, I somehow doubt that these devices are being made with much consideration of other nearby frequencies given the fact that they are illegal in the first place and there is obviously no regulatory approval on these.

Besides, I don't see that many people being overly rude with their phones. Sure, some people talk loudly and have loud/annoying ring tones. But I just don't see that much of it (and when I do, they are the same ones that talk loudly to the person sitting across the table from them). What bothers me more is when people bring their kids and they cry, scream (the high pitched ones are especially annoying), and in the case of restaurants, make a mess. Then, they just either ignore the kid or think it is "cute". That behavior is far more rude and distracting than anyone I have seen using a mobile phone.

Blockers should be shot (4, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232095)

Yes it's illegal, but given that the rudeness is pretty close to criminal as well, it's unlikely to stop any time soon.

It's not just illegal, it's totally unethical. My wife and I both carry cellphones - I'm a sysadmin and she's a surgeon and we're both on call basically 24/7. And yet, you'd never know that we have them, because we mute them when appropriate and never start conversations when we shouldn't. Instead, we'll either step outside quickly to answer them or let it roll to voicemail so we don't kill ourselves and others as we dive over rows of seats and then respond ASAP. Cell phone jammers punish the jackasses in theaters that we all love to hate, but they also punish the majority of users who are quiet and responsible.

Imagine that you or your mom or your kid has a problem with their recent surgery and is desperately trying to reach their doctor who went to a movie, but some smug asshole with a jammer is blocking the call. Kinda puts it in a different light, huh?

Re:Blockers should be shot (-1, Troll)

Neon Aardvark (967388) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232289)

Don't go to the movies if you're on call then. Simple.

Cinema owners/managers should have the right to block whatever signals they want from entering their own property.

No doubt all annoying twerps think their call is important, so important that they should ruin the experience for everyone else.

But that's changing, and if you don't like it, tough, don't go.

Mobile phone users should be shot (1, Troll)

uuxququex (1175981) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232293)

I'm a sysadmin and she's a surgeon and we're both on call basically 24/7

No, you choose to be on call. Big difference. You are not that important, really, you're not.

I applaud you for using your phone sensibly. You might be one of the good guys. But still, if I ever find you in the seat next to me (or more generally, within arms reach) in a movie theater and your phone rings you are out of a phone.

I don't buy your argument about the kid that desperately tries to contact you. Let them contact the hospital, there are other qualified people there. You are not the center of the universe. Deal with it.

Re:Blockers should be shot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21232295)

Not really.

There was life before cell phones.

Amazing, eh - you can survive without them!

What I would rather see: (1)

r_jensen11 (598210) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232107)

Is something that can override cell phone preferences and force them into silent mode. Preferably into Silent & No Vibrate. That way people can still make calls, but nobody knows if they receive them. I find that incoming calls are the ones that end up being found incosiderate. People generally know not to make calls when they're in places like restaurants, theatres, cinemas, etc.

Also, I remember reading about it on I think the BBC, but if restaurants could bring back the phone booths, that would be awesome. If this were to happen, then I would really love to see some sort of jamming system that ONLY allows notification of incoming calls and messages, but doesn't let you actually call or receive calls (receiving SMS's isn't that big of an issue.) Then, if people wanted to make calls or receive calls, they have to go to the phone booths.

I also seem to think that if the jammers were limited to just the building or the unit in a building (if it's in a mall), then it would be perfectly legal as long as there was some sort of reasonable notification before customers enter the unit/building (such as a sign next to/on the front door.)

Re:What I would rather see: (1)

Kenshin (43036) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232195)

That way people can still make calls, but nobody knows if they receive them.

You obviously don't have a girlfriend.

"I was trying to call you for two hours and you DIDN'T PICK UP!! I KNOW YOUR PHONE WAS ON!! ARE YOU SEEING SOMEONE!!!?"

Analogous to smoking (1)

2phar (137027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232109)

Reminds me a bit of those little fans for blowing smokers' pollution back in their faces.

Perhaps restaurants need to evolve to having 'no cellphone areas'.

Why punish everyone because of a few rude users? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21232111)

I eat a lot in restaurants, but I have never been in a situation where cell phone use of other customers has bothered me. However, many times those who do not use cell phones have acted in a way that I consider rude. I have never heard anyone using a cell phone in cinema, either. So, I fail to see the point in blocking cell phones.

In my opinion, blocking cell phones is one of the most rude things one can do because the blocker bullies everyone although only very few cell phone users are rude cell phone users and the blocker could just ask the few rude users to talk a bit less loudly (or leave, if this is a restaurant or other such private place).

not this again (4, Insightful)

aztektum (170569) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232113)

jamming cellphones is ridiculous. it's about as useful as throwing a spammer in prison for 50 years. it doesn't do anything to impact the practice.

i STILL have yet to be intruded upon so heinously (in fact not at all i can remember) by someone on a phone either at a restaurant, movie, play, etc that makes me think this is at all a rational response (i live in a metro area of 2.2 million. so it's not like i'm in the sticks where no one has a phone).

i rotate on call shift with the other IT guys. granted i won't goto a movie or something that would be boned by the intrusion, but i won't stop myself from going to a nice restaurant because of it and expect that i'll be reachable.

if this were a story about DRM everyone would be crying that the MAFIAA is "screwing over the responsible ones because of the bad acts of the few". if i'm on my phone at the store, i get off before standing in line, don't do it at the bank, don't do it at movies, if i'm at a restaurant i'll quickly goto a better place and call back.

there was another poster who got it right, establishments need to make it known to patrons if they allow phone use and enforce it. not pull some underhanded sneaky bullshit. that will piss customers off more.

Re:not this again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21232329)

Yeah, well... Next time you go to School or College and you have to listen to students whip out their cell phones during tests or when your working (and text), let me know if you think jammers should be illegal. The Teachers now days are so oblivious to everything...

Grow up! (1)

network23 (802733) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232207)


For crying out load, grow up!

I hate to see the U.S. beeing so naive, gullible and completely lost about mobile phones, rambling about issues, ten years after the rest of the world.

People will use mobile phones. Everyone. And use them wherever and whenever they need to. And they will berk about uninteresting things. At restaurants, on buses, in cinemas, at funerals, in hospitals. Whatever.

Accept it. Grow up. Move along.

Ha! Good! (2, Insightful)

morari (1080535) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232243)

Cellphones are WAY overused in today's society. There should be a "No Phone" sign on the door of every establishment right by the ones concerning smoking and guns. Or better yet, replace the "no guns" sign with "no phones"! The only people complaining about not being able to wander around aimlessly while carrying on some insipid "conversation" are yuppies. I can only hope that the stock market goes further down the hill and they all get crushed under the ridiculous mortgages that they had to have for their "holier than thou" SUVs and ranch houses!

Rights? (3, Insightful)

AugustZephyr (989775) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232275)

I would have to say that a very valid statement can be applied to both sides of this argument: "Your rights end where mine begin".

From the cell phone users perspective: I have the right to use my cellphone for critical situations and needs.
From the cell phone jammers perspective: I have the right to not be forced to listen to your conversation.

Somewhere in the middle there is a gray area where both parties must be respectful of one another.

Good deal (5, Interesting)

whitroth (9367) | more than 6 years ago | (#21232281)

Here in Chicago, downtown, there's a great sandwich shop called Perry's Deli. They have signs: no pagers, no cell phones (if you need to use them while eating, maybe you should be eating at a more upscale restaurant, the sign says). If they see someone using it, they turn on a LOUD, *VERY* ANNOYING alarm, annoying everyone in the place, until the offender either stops, or goes outside.

And I still want all cellphone usage by drivers treated exactly like DUI, since the accident stats are the same for drunks and cellphone users.

            mark "could you drive any better if I shoved it where the sun
                          don't shine?"

instead of jamming, take video of them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21232299)

and make website filled with loud talkers

Who's paying for this article? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21232315)

I've seen this same article in about five places now, for something "on the rise" they can all only give one anecdotal incident. So who's paying to get this on slashdot/digg/reddit/etc ?

Btw, paul graham says the suit is back

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