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We're Jammin', Hope You Like Jammin' Too 422

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

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  • Signal Jamming? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by l3prador (700532) <wkankla@gmaTOKYOil.com minus city> on Saturday December 06, 2003 @12:32PM (#7647839) Homepage
    What? Wouldn't blocking the cell phone signal only prevent the person from sending the picture off? The photograph could still be taken and simply sent later, once the cell phone is away from the jamming signal, right?
    • Re:Signal Jamming? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mellonhead (137423)

      One company, Iceberg Systems, is beta-testing a new technology that will remotely turn off the cameras in cell phones.
      • Safe Haven (Score:5, Informative)

        by nodwick (716348) on Saturday December 06, 2003 @01:06PM (#7648070)
        If you read the fine print (which actually isn't on the product page [icebergsystems.co.uk] as far as I could tell, they say that you have to have an "approved phone". From The Register [theregister.co.uk]:
        The snag is that Safe Haven technology needs to be integrated at the time of manufacture into new devices or installed as a Java download update to suitable equipment already in the market.

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

        In other words, like most DRM-type schemes, it only works if your camera "supports" this feature. And just like DRM, I don't think it's going to be very popular among consumers -- this is a "feature" that benefits the guy trying to stop the camera user, not the guy buying and paying for the phone. I'd especially think that industrial spies would be smart enough to get a phone that didn't support this.
    • by BigBlockMopar (191202) on Saturday December 06, 2003 @12:59PM (#7648025) Homepage

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

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

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

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

      In short, I *hate* cellphones.

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

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

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


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

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

      • by drix (4602) on Saturday December 06, 2003 @01:18PM (#7648150) Homepage
        Don't people know those things sound as stupid as coffee can mufflers on Honda Civics?

        In my experience, the people "rocking" Beethoven (or, even better, some sort of Dragonball Z-inspired theme) on their cells are the people who then drive off in their coffee-can mufflered, lowered, clear-taillight Civic hatchbacks. So the answer to your question is no :)
      • by kgbkgb (448898) on Saturday December 06, 2003 @01:26PM (#7648205)
        I will use my psychic mind reading powers to say that you must be atleast 35.

        How come every generation of old people feels the need to criticize every new technology that comes around by mis-characterizing it?

        I have no interest in being on an electronic leash, forced to be accountable to someone - somewhere

        If you put yourself in a situation where you're "on an electronic leash", then that's your fault. Do you realize that you don't have to answer a cell phone whenever it rings? It's pretty nifty technology, you have to press a button to answer it.

        If you say that the advantages of having a cell phone aren't worth it for you, that's fine. But the only real disadvantage is how much it costs and having to carry it in your pocket. The whole leash thing simply tells me something about your relationship with the would-be leash-holder.

        I imagine some older folks didn't like the telephone when it came out - I refuse to be on a leash when I'm at home, forced to be accountable to someone - somewhere.
        • by BigBlockMopar (191202) on Saturday December 06, 2003 @01:44PM (#7648348) Homepage

          I will use my psychic mind reading powers to say that you must be atleast 35.

          Heheh... Nope, but I'm old beyond my years.

          How come every generation of old people feels the need to criticize every new technology that comes around by mis-characterizing it?

          Actually, I love technology; my career choices undoubtedly reflect that.

          If you put yourself in a situation where you're "on an electronic leash", then that's your fault. Do you realize that you don't have to answer a cell phone whenever it rings? It's pretty nifty technology, you have to press a button to answer it.

          I know. But the reality is that when the phone rings, you feel obliged to answer it. Then, pretty soon, it's a nuisance and makes you feel guilty.

          Of course, you can turn off the ringer. Then, the problem becomes, "Huh-NEEEEEEE... Why didn't you answer the phone when I called? What were you doing?"

          People become accustomed to being able to reach you and talk to you about every stupid little thing that happens in their lives.

          For the very same reason I eschew land-line telephones or ICQ and other messaging systems, and like e-mail: It's a constant interruption. With e-mail, on the other hand, the sender can send the message when it's convenient for them. I can then read it and reply when it's convenient for me. Telephones, in particular cellphones, require it to be convenient for both parties to talk at the same time.

          If you say that the advantages of having a cell phone aren't worth it for you, that's fine. But the only real disadvantage is how much it costs and having to carry it in your pocket. The whole leash thing simply tells me something about your relationship with the would-be leash-holder.

          Okay. Try this. Turn off your cellphone for a week. Tell me what you get from your friends. "I tried to call you, but you didn't answer." Endlessly. You've built up the expectation that you will be available to discuss all sorts of stupid things, including the weather, any time they're feeling bored in the lineup at the grocery store.

          My friends know how I feel about cellphones, and telephones in general. We communicate by e-mail. We arrange to get together to drink beer by e-mail.

          I imagine some older folks didn't like the telephone when it came out - I refuse to be on a leash when I'm at home, forced to be accountable to someone - somewhere.

          For sure. But there's still the escape with a regular telephone. If you don't answer your land line, they assume that you're out. If you don't answer your cellphone - which, by tradition, is always with you - then they assume that you're ignoring them.

          • by kgbkgb (448898) on Saturday December 06, 2003 @01:48PM (#7648382)
            Not terrible arguments, but I still maintain you're putting yourself in that situation. Tell your wife and friends:
            "Look... I don't feel like answering my phone all the time, and I don't always have it on me anyway. Leave a message."

            I know when I call someone's cell phone and they don't answer, I assume they don't have it on them or they're in an area where they don't get service.
        • I will use my psychic mind reading powers to say that you must be atleast 35.

          How come every generation of old people feels the need to criticize every new technology that comes around by mis-characterizing it?

          Sorry, I'm not 35 and I'm another cell phone hater.

          Are the devices inherently evil? Of course not. However, in the vast majority of people who have them, they encourage behavior that ranges from irritating to extremely annoying to downright dangerous.

          I know any number of otherwise nice peo

    • digital cameras (Score:2, Insightful)

      by 23 (68042)
      exactly what I was thinking. And if you're trying to kill corporate espionage in your company, you also need to take care of the wildly available digital cameras (for ~$50 you get a usable one too nowadays).


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

  • Aw man... (Score:5, Funny)

    by OtakuHawk (682073) on Saturday December 06, 2003 @12:32PM (#7647840)
    At first I thought this post had something to do with music!
    • by Anonymous Coward
      As a representative of the RIAA we request that you here by cease and desist all usage of the word "music". The word "music" is copyright material of the RIAA.

      Thank you for your cooperation.
  • Nice. (Score:5, Funny)

    by The_Unforgiven (521294) <mike.xoti@org> on Saturday December 06, 2003 @12:32PM (#7647843) Homepage
    I wouldn't mind being able to jam phones within, say, 10 feet of me. One of my biggest pet peeves is people on their cell phones. Because, you know, the further away they are, the louder you have to yell into the phone for them to hear you...
    • Re:Nice. (Score:2, Insightful)

      by gotw (239699)
      Sometimes when people on the other end have a lot of background noise I find myself struggling to hear them and myself shouting. It's just instinct, you feel like you have to shout over their noise. When I realise I stop, but I bet the people who are doing it don't even realise.
    • Jamming zones (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nodwick (716348)
      I realize you're being funny, but I'm not sure why many of the posts seem to assume that cell phones should be jammed wherever it's inconvenient for them. Personally, I don't see a difference between someone talking to another person who's physically present, versus chatting on the phone -- at least from the perspective of being the person overhearing the conversation.

      In a restaurant, for example, it's perfectly fine for two people physically in the restaurant to be talking loudly at each other (in fact,

    • by Angram (517383) on Saturday December 06, 2003 @01:41PM (#7648322)
      I think a taser [taser.com] might be a more interesting solution.

      They have a stand-off distance of 15 feet, so you should have no problem creating a nice quiet area around you.

      Happy hunting ;)
  • Jammer locator... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ericspinder (146776) on Saturday December 06, 2003 @12:32PM (#7647844) Journal
    so you can leave it out on a restaurant table and no one will know you're the source of the blissful silence in the room
    Great so now not only will I need to be sure that I only go to (or even pass through) places which don't jam, but I have to worry about random people as well. I suspect next they'll sell, jammer tracking locators, so that I can find out which jerk thought blocking me from my responsabilities was within their rights. I can only imagine what that type of fight will be called... maybe Jamming Rage?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Maybe this problem would never have gotten started if people had been responsible with their phones to begin with? But no, and here are the consequences.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      And then... and then we'd need jammer locator jammers.. and jammer locator jammer locators!
    • mixed bag to be sure (Score:4, Interesting)

      by The Tyro (247333) on Saturday December 06, 2003 @01:03PM (#7648052)
      My first thought when reading this was one of glee... I'd LOVE to jam those dolts that insist on yakking on their cell phones during the movie.

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

      Now if they had one that only blocked outgoing calls...
      • Why is it hospital equipment seems to be even more vulnerable to cell phone signals than airplanes?

        I mean has anyone ever read of a documented case where hospital equipment was disrupted by a signal from a cell phone?
        • Google [google.com] is your friend.

          And pacemaker interference is exacerbated by digital cellular technology as opposed to the less prevalent analog type.

          --

          • Interesting articles, the Mayo Clinic research from 2001 offers examples of interference. However, couldn't the medical device companies just put a Faraday shield of very thin metal around the outside of the device? When I worked in high security areas we had shields around our computer equipment and no signals could get in or out w/o a direct hardwired connection. There has to be a way to shield this equipment from external signals. I'm not a medical equipment expert but don't these devices emit RF interfe
        • any sort of interference from a cell phone, with ANY cardiac monitor... and I catch people yakking on their phones in my ER all the time. I've also never heard of a single case where a cell phone affected a monitor such that it caused a problem with a patient.

          I personally suspect it's a more-theoretical-than-real concern. On the other hand, I think one of these jammers would probably be a bigger threat to my monitors than a simple cell phone (precisely the reason I would never actually use one of these o
      • by Brandon30X (34344) on Saturday December 06, 2003 @01:19PM (#7648163)
        Well that's not exactly a great idea, now you would be transmitting a signal, just like a cell phone, as well. And the other persons phone will still try to keep in contact with the tower, so it will transmit periodically, so now you have two devices transmitting RF radiation near the medical equipment. Jamming is like screaming in someone's ear in order to keep them from hearing someone else talk.

      • Hmmm... must be interference from our cardiac monitors

        Expect the cardiac monitors to emit jamming frequencies of their own soon, very soon. Other sorts of things too.

        Further expect these frequencies to "inadvertent" "unintentional" "side effects of normal operation" as well.

      • Except that the cellphone jammer works by broadcasting on cellphone frequences...so it would probably be just as interferential to the equipment as a cellphone, if not more so.
    • Jamming rage is when someone uses their cellphone in an annoying fashion, and you jam it up their ass. I find this is a lot more useful than a cellphone blocker, because rather than just thinking they're in a pocket where they can't get signal, the cellphone user actually gets taught a lesson.

      Your responsibilities do not include being an ass. While some people will abuse these things, they currently run over two hundred bucks, so not many random assholes are going to be jamming your cellphone calls. When

    • by Tokerat (150341) on Saturday December 06, 2003 @03:17PM (#7649010) Journal

      If I ever caught a random person jamming my cel phone because they thought cel phones where "annoying", I think I would honestly commit a homicide via severe beating. This anti-celphone crap is really out of control.

      I know, some places like quiet nice resteraunts and the movies are not the time or place, but if I'm walking down the street, you have about as much right to tell me to get off the phone as you do to tell me to shut up when I'm talking to the person next to me.

      Damn easily-annoyed whinny bastards. Probably the same people who are offended when their ATA drive says "Master/Slave" on the jumpers...
  • Illegal in the US? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Trbmxfz (728040) on Saturday December 06, 2003 @12:33PM (#7647846)
    Sorry, but we cannot sell this cell phone jammer to UK customers

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

  • I think (Score:2, Interesting)

    by RedHatLinux (453603)
    any technology that allows for people to protect their privacy within reason should be allowed and accepted.
  • Yes! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Feztaa (633745) on Saturday December 06, 2003 @12:33PM (#7647851) Homepage
    Cell phone jamming should be legalized, and it should become more widespread.

    I'd specifically like to see cell-phones jammed in movie theaters, and schools. I'm pretty good about shutting my phone off when I go to these places, but sometimes I forget, and sometimes when I forget, I get calls... it'd be a whole lot easier if the building disabled the phone for me, so I don't have to.
    • Re:Yes! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by agentZ (210674) on Saturday December 06, 2003 @12:42PM (#7647888)
      But what if somebody is expecting a call about a life-threatening situation? I don't begrudge any emergency room doctor from seeing a movie, but I want their phone to ring if they're needed back at the hospital to put me back together.
      • Re:Yes! (Score:3, Insightful)

        by praedor (218403)

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

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

        • Re:Yes! (Score:4, Insightful)

          by DumbSwede (521261) <slashdotbin@hotmail.com> on Saturday December 06, 2003 @01:09PM (#7648090) Homepage Journal
          Lots of things were once luxury items, like land-line phones for instance. But society changes, and what is considered a luxury starts to become a necessity. Also for those of us with cell phones, we begin to rely on them once we have them. We don't wait at home if we are expecting an important phone call, but don't know exactly when it will be coming. I guess people that have loved ones that are sick, and await news should never venture from home or hospital. Granted cell phones allow us to make bad choices at times, or be inconsiderate, but I think the good they allow far out ways the bad.

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

        • Re:Yes! (Score:3, Insightful)

          by antiMStroll (664213)
          What kind of monster is it that is expecting some important call about some life threatening situation...and still goes to the theater....

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

        • No not end of story. Who says restaurants aren't appropriate places for cell phones? If most of a eatery's clients use cells do you think its wise to tell them to take their business elsewhere?
      • Re:Yes! (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Brandon30X (34344)
        The solution for this is something I remeber reading about some time ago. The solution was to have bluetooth transmitters near the entrance that would command your phone to go into a silent mode, and then return to normal when leaving. Personally I would love to see this develope, but I am sure people will resist. Nobody wants their phone to be controlled by someone else.
    • Re:Yes! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Txiasaeia (581598) on Saturday December 06, 2003 @12:42PM (#7647893)
      That kind of attitude is pretty lame - "I'm too lazy to remember to turn my cell off; can somebody else do it for me?"

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

    • Re:Yes! (Score:2, Insightful)

      by gotw (239699)
      If I switch my phone on to silent or vibrate, and divert voice calls to my voicemail there's nothing wrong with me sending or recieving SMS text messages, or browsing WAP should I so wish. Why you'd go to a cinema and then use your phone instead of watching the film I really don't know, and maybe I'm lucky but I've never been bothered by anyone doing so. Mobile phone jamming dosn't stop other sorts of antisocial activity. Kids will still make a lot of noise and throw popcorn at each other, and if a group of
    • Wow, do you want all doctors-on-call to be jammed while you enjoy your movie without a beep to interrupt it. Guess you must go to theaters that don't have other more annoying distractions like noisy kids that parents can't keep quite.

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

      I would support the FCC creating a courtes

    • by niko9 (315647) *
      And tell me, oh bright 100w bulb, what is to happen to the physicians, paramedics, OEM personell (office of emergency management) and other people who rely on their cell phones to save your buttocks in a time of crisis?

      Alot of these folks phone also double as pagers, where they get text messages during times of emergencies. Also, whose to say that these devices won't jam pagers? What about my EMS radio? Will it get jammed when I'm working up a cardiac arrest and I can't call for a backup? What if my psych
    • by giminy (94188)
      This is what projects like SwitchMe [switchme.info] are for. You have to pay a little extra so your phone automatically turns off, but the invasion of your freedom of preference is left intact.

      Me, I'll just remember to switch my phone to vibrate whenever I go out.
    • Cell phone jamming should be legalized, and it should become more widespread.

      No. It should become mandatory, especially in:

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

      There's nothing quite so torturous as being at a basketball game and listening to some drunk district sales manager slur his competitors, when h

  • Jamming= Illegal (Score:5, Informative)

    by pvt_medic (715692) on Saturday December 06, 2003 @12:33PM (#7647853)
    The operation of transmitters designed to jam or block wireless communications is a violation of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended ("Act"). See 47 U.S.C. Sections 301, 302a, 333. The Act prohibits any person from willfully or maliciously interfering with the radio communications of any station licensed or authorized under the Act or operated by the U.S. government. 47 U.S.C. Section 333. The manufacture, importation, sale or offer for sale, including advertising, of devices designed to block or jam wireless transmissions is prohibited. 47 U.S.C. Section 302a(b). Parties in violation of these provisions may be subject to the penalties set out in 47 U.S.C. Sections 501-510. Fines for a first offense can range as high as $11,000 for each violation or imprisonment for up to one year, and the device used may also be seized and forfeited to the U.S. government

    From
    http://wireless.fcc.gov/services/cellular/operatio ns/blockingjamming.html
    • but the idiots in the theatre don't get fined at all.... hrm.

      and flinging popcorn and throwing soda isn't a deterring punishment.
    • Except.... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by 23 (68042)
      when you're the president or some other honcho.

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

      IMHO such a law is not logical anyway: since when does some cell-phone operator "own" the airwaves of e.g. my living room, or more to the point, my restaurant / movie thea

  • Stupid. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Saturday December 06, 2003 @12:34PM (#7647856) Homepage Journal
    Try jamming local storage.

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

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

  • good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Apreche (239272) on Saturday December 06, 2003 @12:37PM (#7647864) Homepage Journal
    preventing diddling on phones during lectures, and cheating during exams I think are perfectly fine uses of cell-phone jammers and should be illegal. I also think all variety of theatres should employ this technology so the asshole who doesn't turn his phone off wont distract/annoy the entire audience when his annoying ring tone blares out 10 times. And rather than turn his phone off he pretends it wasn't him.

    Of course, this can also be used for evil. Big evil. If I had a portable jammer I could bring it to a bank and prevent everyone from calling 911 as I robbed it. I think that's why these things are illegal.
    • Re:good (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Txiasaeia (581598) on Saturday December 06, 2003 @12:46PM (#7647922)
      (Lest we forget that banks still have landlines, and hundreds of portable jammers couldn't stop them...)

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

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

      • Re:good (Score:3, Insightful)

        by /dev/trash (182850)
        And how pray tell did wives get ahold of husbands before the cellphone was invented?
    • If I had a portable jammer I could bring it to a bank and prevent everyone from calling 911 as I robbed it.

      Very good point, also many auto-theft devices depend on cellular service, so if you are a professional car thief this would be as needed as a slim jim. Also many homes use cellular service for a back-up (maybe even primary) alarm notification. Rapists could find it useful in isolating thier prey, one of the reasons that the guy in North Dakota was picked up was because he was seen in the same area

    • Re:good (Score:3, Interesting)

      by JoeBaldwin (727345)
      cheating during exams I think are perfectly fine uses of cell-phone jammers and should be illegal


      In the UK, all the major exam boards will drop you from every subject you do with that board if you so much as walk into an exam room with a mobile phone. THis is one of the few decent things AQA and Edexcel have ever done, ever (Jesus christ, they make Standard Oil look like Greenpeace).
  • Tempting. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DrEldarion (114072) on Saturday December 06, 2003 @12:38PM (#7647868)
    While I'm tempted to use this to silence those inconsiderate bastards in the movie theaters, there is a LOT of risk involved. How would you feel if, because of your jamming, someone didn't get an important emergency phone call and got fired / dumped / beaten senseless / etc.? If something were to happen because they didn't get a call, and it was found out that you were jamming the phone, could you be held liable for any proven damages?

    Regardless of how rude it is for people to be talking on cell phones anywhere and everywhere, you have no right to decide for yourself, "They shouldn't be talking, so I'll stop them."
    • I was doing the jamming in that situation, I would probably be looking at one hell of a lawsuit - especially if someone's life was lost due to not getting the call.

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

    • Re:Tempting. (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Kierthos (225954)
      Fine then... let's insure that all cell phones, from now on, will automatically go into "vibrate" mode instead of ring tone when in certain areas, like movie theaters, classrooms, etc.

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

      Kierthos
    • Re:Tempting. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bogie (31020) on Saturday December 06, 2003 @12:50PM (#7647956) Journal
      That's their problem not yours if you or the establishment is using the device responsibly. For exampe in the movie theather their should be a big sign outside saying cellphones are not allowed. You want to go to the movies? Leave your cellphone at home. Expecting an emergency call that could get you fired/dumped/etc? DON'T GO TO THE MOVIES.

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

      I agree in most places you just have to live with it. At the same time in places like Movies, Hospitals, Library's, Elevators I consider it your right to terminate their call. The cell phone users aren't considering your rights, why consider theirs?
      • Your right to WHAT, exactly? Annoying tho cell phones are, I'm pretty sure there's a right to speech, whereas I don't recall an innumerated Right to a Quiet Elevator Ride.

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

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

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

        Before cellphones and pagers, these people would have simply not been able to go to the movies, or anywhere away from a phone where they could be reached. But now that the technology exists, and can be used responsibly (by using text-messages, pagers with vibrate, or other non-intrusive forms of communication
        • I've said many times, build a protocol wherein phones are capable of noticing that they've entered a 'zone.'

          In a theater, for example, the 'zone' would be 'vibrate only, speaker/microphone mute.' This would make their phone vibrate, obviously, and would allow them to accept the call, but not talk/listen until they got to the lobby, say.

          Or, if he's on call, give him a damn vibrating pager. There's a payphone somewhere around there. Find it.

      • One of the characteristics of emergencies is being unexpected. Otherwise a response is planned in advance and it isn't an emergency. I'm on call 24/7, I can't set my phone to vibrate and see a movie because theatres don't have the cajones to boot people being distruptive?
      • by carpe_noctem (457178) on Saturday December 06, 2003 @01:16PM (#7648138) Homepage Journal
        I agree in most places you just have to live with it. At the same time in places like Movies, Hospitals, Library's, Elevators I consider it your right to terminate their call.

        That's no fun. It's a lot more entertaining to see if you can get them to end it for you:

        Them: "yeah.... yeah... sounds good, well, I'll take care of that right away blah blah blah"
        You (loudly, to friend): "Oh, man, so last night, my girlfriend suck her finger up my ASS right she started to suck me off, and I fucking CAME with a VENEGENCE."
        Friend: "Oh yeah? No shit?!"
        Them: "...."
        You: "Yeah, and you won't BELIEVE what happened after THAT!"
        Them: "erm, Bob, I'm gonna have to call you back.... I'll catch you in the office tomorrow... ok yeah, goodbye"
    • Regardless of how rude it is for people to be talking on cell phones anywhere and everywhere, you have no right to decide for yourself, "They shouldn't be talking, so I'll stop them."

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

    • Yeah, if an ER doctor missed a call to come back to the hospital and apply his skills, I know I would feel really bad about it. And the doctor might even get sued, given our current legal climate.
  • by DaneelGiskard (222145) on Saturday December 06, 2003 @12:38PM (#7647869) Homepage
    1) Build a device which detects the jamming signal.
    2) Sell it to "those anti-social types" (quote from article) who would like to use their phone
    3) Watch them kick each others butt
  • I'm glad... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Throat constant (727976) on Saturday December 06, 2003 @12:38PM (#7647872)

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

  • Legal Jamming (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pvt_medic (715692) on Saturday December 06, 2003 @12:41PM (#7647885)
    While it is clearly illegal to jam the signal their is nothing against constructing buildings that jams the signal by just the nature of how the radio signal travels through the building.

    HEre an article [wirelessnewsfactor.com]on home to legal jam cell phones.
  • From the article:

    This cell phone jammer looks just like a cell phone

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

  • Jamming cell phone spectrum isn't going to stop their cameras from working... are people really that dumb?
  • by Braintrust (449843) on Saturday December 06, 2003 @12:48PM (#7647942)
    the dulcet tones of Chief Wiggum in my head all morning...

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

  • by armando_wall3 (728889) on Saturday December 06, 2003 @12:50PM (#7647958)

    Here's another page on the same "cellphone-like" product [cellular-news.com].

    I don't agree with random people able to jam the phone signal. However, it makes sense for certain places, like movie theaters, banks, etc, although they should clearly have a sign saying "Warning: Cellphone signal jamming inside the building" or something.

  • by Guppy06 (410832)
    "including universities which use the technology to stop students from diddling away on phones during lectures."

    Personally, I find it's a bigger problems when the professors whip out their cell phones and start yammering away during class. If only my employer were so lenient about what I could do on company time...
  • by Walter Wart (181556) on Saturday December 06, 2003 @12:54PM (#7647986) Homepage
    If a criminal is attacking you right now a cell phone is mostly useful as a second-rate bludgeon. Or maybe, with phones getting so small these days, you could get him to swallow it and use it as a tracking device :-/

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

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

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

  • My university just installed 54g wireless Internet access available in almost every lecture theature, allowing students to collaborate and do background research during lectures. This seems a much more sane approach than fitting signal jammers if one wants to increase attendance rates. I daresay lectures will never be the same now that I can IRC my way through KRI with the Zaurus and a CF wireless card. More access to communication networks -- not less -- seems to be the way forward.
  • There's a cute little brewpub in Solon Iowa with prominent sign stating that anyone whose cell phone goes off buys a round for the house.

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

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

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

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

    and you can't legislate that.
  • I would buy one. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pair-a-noyd (594371)
    Nothing is more annoying that going out to eat and some asshole is hollering on a freaking phone, "CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?" every 10 seconds as he chats with his pals about absolute nonsense while you are trying to have a quiet dinner.

    Not too long ago they had phone booths in restaurants and if you had to talk to someone you went to the phone booth and closed the door.

    I do not give a shit, nor do I want to hear other people's conversations. I don't want to hear beepers or cellphones going off.

    Why do people
  • by KC7GR (473279) on Saturday December 06, 2003 @01:20PM (#7648167) Homepage Journal
    Cellphone jammers are a bad idea on several levels. I'm just waiting to see the news story about someone who has a heart attack or epileptic seizure hit, and that the victim died because someone tried to use their cellphone to call for help, but said phone was within range of a jamming device.

    I suspect it would be reported that the few extra seconds (or minutes) taken for the caller to get out of range of said device, and call for help, could have made all the difference in the world.

    Take that another way: What if someone's within range of one of these things, and someone tries to call them to let them know that their wife or roomie or whoever has been critically injured, or fallen seriously ill? Seems to me that whoever's operating the jammer under such conditions could be in for some serious litigation.

    Another example. Lots of firefighters and paramedics are beginning to depend on cellphones for much of their communications. I can only imagine the consequences if someone in the area is operating a jammer.

    I know others have posted that they'd like to jam something "just within ten feet" of themselves, but -- news flash! -- a jamming signal, by its very nature, cannot be limited in this way. In the world of RF, when you radiate a signal, it's going to radiate all over the place. The only way you can control where it goes is to put a Faraday cage (read: shielded enclosure) around the area you want to irradiate (and I think people would look mighty silly walking around in copper-mesh suits, with their 'tail' of a grounding wire).

    In other words: Any signal powerful enough to overcome a cellphone's normal exchange with a nearby cell site is going to have to be powerful enough to radiate a lot further than ten feet, period.

    A REAL solution to the problem would be (guess what?) education and attitude adjustment. Get people to the point where turning their phones OFF (or at least putting them into 'Silent Ring' mode) is a reflex action for restaurants, movie theaters, etc. Start such teaching early ("Responsible Cellphone Use 101" anyone?), perhaps including it as part of common courtesy and manners, and it'll be something that's useful for life.

    Cellphone users really need a strong reminder that their world is not going to collapse if they don't catch every call the millisecond it comes in. At the rate we're going, I won't be surprised to learn that "cellphone addiction" becomes a very real medical or psychological disorder in times to come.

  • One of my friends in college was an electrical engineer. In the early nineties, as a fun diversion, he built a cell phone blocking device. He'd have another friend go driving with him and the box and whenever they saw a guy using a cell phone while driving, they'd zap him. Their reward was two-fold: they thought they were making the streets safer with this batman and robin vigilante enforcement, and they just loved the looks on these people's faces when they'd get zapped.

    As my friend got closer to graduati
  • by PierceLabs (549351) on Saturday December 06, 2003 @01:29PM (#7648221)
    I can't think of a better place for them to be than in movie theaters or at the opera houses of the world. Since these companies are apparently trying to figure out how to remotely disable cell phone cameras, perhaps they could somehow remotely force peoples phones into vibrate or something.
  • Shades of Spaceballs....

    Caller: yadda yadda yadda... huh? *blink* *blink*
    Bystander: Whats wrong?
    Caller: I just got cut off... and there's this goop comming out of my cell..
    Bystander: *rubs finger in goop* *licks finger* ... hmmm... rasberry... dude, youre getting jammed!

  • private property (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Saturday December 06, 2003 @01:32PM (#7648251) Homepage Journal
    The space inside a private building is private property, and the owner/controller can put anything in it they want that is lawful to possess, including noisy radio waves in a given band at low power. However, my phone is private property, and no one may interfere with it within the physical boundaries of its case. They can jam the waves from my antenna in their air, but they can't send "off" commands inside the phone. So they might claim some kind of "performance" rights, and perhaps copyrights, on the appearance of objects inside, but they can't materially prevent me from snapping a picture and taking it outside, without violating my property rights. The professional photographer and art communities have been fighting that one out [nearbycafe.com]; perhaps we can take a lesson from them, or perhaps their commercial rights to the appearance of their property conflicts too much with the traditional reality where beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
  • I'm sure I'm not the only IT person who has to turn on a cell phone in movie theater. In my case, I can check and respond to a situation with WAP or more modern browser. Who says you need to make noise?

    I own my business... I'm on call 24x7 but work 50 hours a week (sometimes more, sometimes less).

    I love the freedom of being able to go into a movie and only having to read a couple text messages. I keep my phone on my lap, try not to create any light pollution.

    For all those who think jamming is cool - w
  • by elliotweston (681846) on Saturday December 06, 2003 @01:38PM (#7648302)
    Cretinous users of Nextel phones have got to be the worst. For those who haven't experienced this, it's all the fun of hearing one side of a conversation, together with the other side of the conversation, _and_ a piercing BEEP-BEEP when the half-duplex switches directions. Beyond the merely rude, these devices monopolize any environment they're in. So far, my only countermeasures have been to face the user and shout "Breaker 1-9" at random intervals.
  • by rwa2 (4391) * on Saturday December 06, 2003 @02:41PM (#7648759) Homepage Journal
    Jamming is a solution, but simply being able to locate and reprimand people with cell phones would probably be better in the long run.

    First of all, it's a sociological solution. If people know they can be detected, they would simply concentrate on following the "no cellphone" rule, rather than trying to be discreet or circumventing jamming mechanism (which would lead to a jamming/anti-jamming escalation).

    The detector wouldn't have to be so complex (though it would certainly be tres cool to have a tricorder-like 3D spectrum analyzer). It could be as simple as a wand hooked up to an amplified speaker :P . With a little more work, you could probably tune them to the 2Ghz cell phone frequencies to increase their range and do some triangulation to cover a larger room, and put it on a public display so everyone could see who was violating the no cell phone rule, or forgot to turn them off, etc.
  • by ChaosDiscord (4913) on Sunday December 07, 2003 @03:09AM (#7652346) Homepage Journal

    The problem many people are having isn't that cell phones are fundamentally, the problem is that there are idiots using cell phones. But those same idiots drive recklesses, double-park, run cars without mufflers at 4 in morning, and engage in a host of other socially unacceptable activities. Would you ban cars because some people are idiots?

    Specific silly objections:

    But people use it in restaurants, and that's rude.. How is it rude? Many people specifically go to restaurants to talk with other people. Is taking to someone remotely fundamentally worse? If they're being too loud you do what you would do if someone was being loud talking to the companion: ask them to quiet down. Now, if you're dining with someone and that someone proceeds to take a call while you sit there, that's rude. But it's only rude to you. The answer isn't to disable the cell phone, the answer is to dine with non-rude people.

    People use it movie theatres, and that's rude. Indeed it is. And the occasional gaggles of high school kids behind me laughing at the serious drama are also being rude. The answer? Tell them to shut up. Point out that if they want to continue their conversation they can do so from the lobby.

    People use it in public, and that's rude. That's just surreal. Would you be complaining if their friend was instead standing right next to them talking? It's a public space, people talk, learn to live with it.

    If you have a cell phone you're on a leash and always have to answer it. That's just a silly habit; break it. Get a phone with silent alertand leave it in vibrate mode all of the time. If you don't want to take a call now, just ignore it (on many phones you can hit hang-up and immediately shunt them to voice mail). If it might be important check the caller idea. Not important? Ignore it. Most cell phone plans come with free voice mail. Use it. If you have someone who gets pissy when you don't answer, politely explain that would rather not be on a leash to them. If they still insist you should answer they're rude, get more polite friends. (If it's your boss, get a new cell phone number and don't admit to your boss that you have it. I see no reason for my boss to have my cell phone number. If your boss is paying for the phone... well... high availability is probably what he's paying you for.)

    There are plenty of good uses for cell phones, even in movie theatres. A friend of mine is a sysadmin and is on call every few weekends. He could simply sit at home all weekend, or he could take the chance that he might get a call while he's at a movie. If no call arrives, he enjoys the movie. If a call arrives it's unfortunate, but he knew the risk. He's very polite, when his work phone rings he immediately leaves the theatre to answer it.

    Ultimately cell phone jammers are a crude solution that harms good users of cell phones as much as rude users. The answer is to educate and mock stupid users until they get the picture.

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