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Cellphone vigilantes try signal disobedience

 

By Matt Richtel

Published: November 4, 2007

 

 

 

SAN FRANCISCO: One afternoon in early September, an architect boarded his commuter train and

became a cellphone vigilante. He sat down next to a 20-something woman who he said was

"blabbing away" into her phone.

 

"She was using the word 'like' all the time," said the architect, Andrew, who declined to give his last

name because what he did next was illegal.

 

Andrew reached into his shirt pocket and pushed a button on a black device the size of a cigarette

pack. It sent out a powerful radio signal that cut off the chatterer's cellphone transmission - and

any others in a 30-foot, or 9-meter, radius.

 

"She kept talking into her phone for about 30 seconds before she realized there was no one listening

on the other end," he said. His reaction when he first discovered he could wield such power? "Oh,

holy moley! Deliverance."

 

As cellphone use has skyrocketed, making it hard to avoid hearing half a conversation in many

public places, a small but growing band of rebels is turning to a blunt countermeasure: the

cellphone jammer, a gadget that renders nearby mobile devices impotent.

 

 

The technology is not new, but overseas exporters of jammers say demand is rising and they are

sending hundreds of them a month into the United States - prompting scrutiny from federal

regulators and new concern this week from the cellphone industry. The buyers include owners of

cafés and hair salons, hoteliers, public speakers, theater operators, bus drivers and, increasingly,

commuters on public transportation.

 

The development is creating a battle for control of the airspace within earshot. And the damage is

collateral. Insensitive talkers impose their racket on the defenseless, while jammers punish not just

the offender, but also more discreet chatterers.

 

"If anything characterizes the 21st century, it's our inability to restrain ourselves for the benefit of

other people," said James Katz, director of the Center for Mobile Communication Studies at Rutgers

University. "The cellphone talker thinks his rights go above that of people around him, and the

jammer thinks his are the more important rights."

 

The jamming technology works by sending out a radio signal so powerful that phones are

overwhelmed and cannot communicate with cell towers. The range varies from several feet to

several yards, and the devices cost from $50 to several hundred dollars. Larger models can be left

on to create a no-call zone.

 

Using the jammers is illegal in the United States. The radio frequencies used by cellphone carriers

are protected, just like those used by television and radio broadcasters.

 

The Federal Communication Commission says people who use cellphone jammers could be fined up

to $11,000 for a first offense. Its enforcement bureau has prosecuted a handful of American

companies for distributing the gadgets - and it also pursues their users.

 

Investigators from the FCC and Verizon Wireless visited an upscale restaurant in Maryland over the

last year, the restaurant owner said. The owner, who declined to be named, said he bought a

powerful jammer for $1,000 because he was tired of his employees focusing on their phones rather

than customers.

 

"I told them: put away your phones, put away your phones, put away your phones," he explained.

They ignored him.

 

The owner said the FCC investigator hung around for a week, using special equipment designed to

detect jammers. But the owner had turned his off.

 

U.S. cellphone carriers pay tens of billions of dollars to lease frequencies from the government with

an understanding that others will not interfere with their signals.

 

And there are other costs on top of that. Verizon Wireless, for example, spends $6.5 billion a year

to build and maintain its network.

 

"It's counterintuitive that when the demand is clear and strong from wireless consumers for

improved cell coverage, that these kinds of devices are finding a market," said Jeffrey Nelson, a

Verizon spokesman. The carriers also raise a public safety issue: jammers could stop people from

communicating in an emergency.

 

In evidence of the intensifying debate over the devices, CTIA, the main cellular phone industry

association, asked the FCC on Friday to maintain the illegality of jamming and to continue to

pursue violators.

 

It said the move was a response to requests by two companies for permission to use jammers in

specific situations, like in jails.

 

Individuals using jammers express some guilt about their sabotage, but some clearly have a

prankster side, along with some mean-spirited cellphone schadenfreude.

 

"Just watching those dumb teens at the mall get their calls dropped is worth it," the purchaser of a

jammer wrote last month in a review on a Web site called DealExtreme. "Can you hear me now?

NO! Good.

 

Gary, a therapist in Ohio who also declined to give his last name, citing the illegality of the devices,

says jamming is necessary to do his job effectively. He runs group therapy sessions for sufferers of

eating disorders. In one session, a woman's confession was rudely interrupted.

 

"She was talking about sexual abuse," Gary said. "Someone's cellphone went off and they carried

on a conversation."

 

"There's no etiquette," he said. "It's a pandemic."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

i want several mounted to the hood of my car

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What about scramblers on cop cars? does that effect their signal too? and the cop/s tower?

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Pic-Intro-Cell.jpg

 

size comparison

 

it looks like there are ones for usa/canada and others for europe/asia.

the only thing better would be something that makes them explode.

i cant stand the people with 100 feet of space inbetween them and the next car

only to pass these morons and see them text messaging.

i was going to have box of rocks in my car but i think this is better for me in the long run

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i would just sit next to a busy road and have the shit going so every motherfucker that drives and talks on a cell phone would have to stop and concentrate on the fucking job at hand. it really really pisses me off when people talk on a phone and drive.

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i would just sit next to a busy road and have the shit going so every motherfucker that drives and talks on a cell phone would have to stop and concentrate on the fucking job at hand. it really really pisses me off when people talk on a phone and drive.

 

 

you could probably make a giant loop antenna and broadcast the jamming signal

pretty far.

 

would be fucking awesome.

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i would be giddy as a fuckin schoolgirl if i could kill the whole city's cell phone signal. you think people who use cell phones are bad, i live in california for christ's sake

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y400blackdp1.jpg

 

The Y400 Quad system jammer offers excellent worldwide coverage with it's unique 4 transmitter system. Each transmitter outputs 3 Watts, the total output is 12 Watts.

 

 

they also make other shit too

 

http://www.globalgadgetuk.com/

 

cheesy website but i would hope that its legitimate

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if a fool did that to me id fight him..but i wouldnt know who did it would I.i almost got into a road rage fight today on a side note but the pussy in the bmw wouldnt pull over

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You can "roll your own" cell phone jammer. Figure it out, you're on the internet... but don't pay someone to make one for you. If people could make their own playstation3's nobody would buy from $ony.

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i heard a story from a few years back, an aircraft carrior came into port, and no one in my town could use their cell phones, after like 5 hours a pilot realized he hit the radar jamming button on a plane, the entire city was blacked out from cell phone use for a while, pretty funny, i think this technology has been around for a while. not sure if its available to the public though.

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After reading that article in the large font, the rest of the posts look tiny. I though something happeded to my browser.

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20-something woman who he said was

"blabbing away" into her phone.

 

 

$100 says she was black.

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